New to Shellac - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-19-2020, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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New to Shellac

Hi all...I am thinking of using dewaxed shellac as a sealer on pine prior to painting. I am leaning toward flakes or powder because of the shelf life. Having never used either, I'm wondering what the procedure is for mixing, what's used in mixing and life span after (what isn't used up). I'm currently researching previous posts on the matter, but thought I would ask anyway.


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post #2 of 8 Old 01-19-2020, 06:29 PM
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If you just need a sealer prior to painting, no reason you cant just use the canned stuff. Honestly the shelf life thing is a touch overblown, Bullseye guarantees their stuff for 3 years from the date of manufacture. If you were using shellac as the only finish it might make sense going with the flakes and rolling your own, but frankly thats just extra work with not much benefit if youre just painting over it
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-19-2020, 08:46 PM
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New to Shellac

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Originally Posted by homestd View Post
Hi all...I am thinking of using dewaxed shellac as a sealer on pine prior to painting. I am leaning toward flakes or powder because of the shelf life. Having never used either, I'm wondering what the procedure is for mixing, what's used in mixing and life span after (what isn't used up). I'm currently researching previous posts on the matter, but thought I would ask anyway.


Weight out an amount of flakes

Depending on the ďcutĒ you add more or less amounts of denatured alcohol to the flakes in the container of your choice so long as you can put a top on it. The flakes will likely come with chart to determine amount of alcohol, although itís easy to look up if they donít.

Wait a while for the flakes to dissolve, shaking or mixing periodically. I usually mix them up a day before I want to use them.

Use a paint filter and cheese cloth to strain out any undissolved flakes and use. You can put the shellac back in the original container for storage. If you need to thicken the mix, add more flakes, thinner add more alcohol.

You really canít screw it up that much. Once mixed they say you have about 6 month shelf life, although Iíve stored it longer than that. If itís old itís slow to harden.

Using shellac out of a can for a sealer would be far easier for what you want to do, but if you want to learn about shellac this would be a good introduction.

Shellac comes in far more colors and hardnesses then most woodworkers know about since theyíve only been exposed to the Zinser stuff. Look online for specialty shellac dealers, woodworking stores and catalog companies donít offer many choices. I say mix your own, get comfortable doing it and enjoy the world of Shellac.
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Last edited by Terry Q; 01-19-2020 at 08:51 PM.
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-19-2020, 11:50 PM
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Zinnser Seal Coat does something to modify their shellac. That is why you can clean it up with ammonia and soapy water. Shellac is usually a universal sealer, but there have been compatibility issues with certain waterborne finishes. I do use their BINS shellac based primer from time to time with good results. One thing about mixing your own shellac is I have never used anything that can make the grain really pop like shellac. You can also add alcohol based dyes to it and use it as a toner in lieu of staining. You also have a great variety of shades from super blonde to ruby. It is fun and a great learning experience that is really difficult to mess up. Have fun.
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-20-2020, 08:23 AM
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I use Zinsser shellac. I mark the expiration date on the can when I purchase it. Never had an issue. Here is how to read the date code on the can when you purchase it to make sure it has a good shelf life.
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File Type: pdf Zinsser Shellac Date Codes.pdf (255.9 KB, 9 views)

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post #6 of 8 Old 01-20-2020, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all...and Terry Q for the detail. Everything I have is homespun, so I try to have stuff on hand that gives me flexibility, as I seldom know where my projects will lead and this is an area where I have much to learn. If I get bored, I can always use the extra to do my nails.


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post #7 of 8 Old 01-20-2020, 11:53 AM
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BIN shellac based primer is an excellent choice for painting. I usually double or triple coat the knots. Works very nicely in an HVLP sprayer.

When using Seal Coat I usually it with DNA. I believe it comes as a 3# cut in the can. A little thick for sealer coat.
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Last edited by DrRobert; 01-20-2020 at 11:56 AM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-20-2020, 06:56 PM
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I do the same. I purchased a separate gun just for spraying the BIN. No fun cleaning that stuff out of your gun. I found water with a good amount of ammonia and some Dawn dish soap works best. I won't put it through my Fuji. Found an excellent HVLP gun that many recommended for $135 that I use for the BIN, latex and other stuff.
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