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Thread: Alternative to Dewaxed shellac?

  1. #1
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    Alternative to Dewaxed shellac?

    I have some exotic hardwoods here (bloodwood, purplehart, padauk, redhart) that I want to use on some small projects. I've read that they should be sealed with dewaxed shellac first then can be coated with either water or oil based polyurethane to bring out and try to preserve the color.
    The product I'm looking at is Seal Coat by Zinsser. Problem is.....I've been to Menards, Home Depot and Lowes here locally but none of them carry it. Home Depot did have a gallon can of it but I certainly don't need that much. So my question is....what do I use on these woods to seal them so I can apply a clear finish? Is dewaxed shellac the only thing I should use of these woods? I don't want to get into mixing up my own shellac.
    Last edited by Tom Baugues; 09-15-2015 at 09:26 PM.
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Baugues View Post
    I have some exotic hardwoods here (bloodwood, purplehart, padauk, redhart) that I want to use on some small projects. I've read that they should be sealed with dewaxed shellac first then can be coated with either water or oil based polyurethane to bring out and try to preserve the color.
    The product I'm looking at is Seal Coat by Zinsser. Problem is.....I've been to Menards, Home Depot and Lowes here locally but none of them carry it. Home Depot did have a gallon can of it but I certainly don't need that much. So my question is....what do I use on these woods to seal them so I can apply a clear finish? Is dewaxed shellac the only thing I should use of these woods? I don't want to get into mixing up my own shellac.
    I had good luck finding the seal coat at a local Ace hardware.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  3. #3
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    "I don't want to get into mixing up my own shellac."

    Why not? Its not hard. Its cheaper. You make only what you need. It just takes some time and some planning. My friend Micheal Dresdner showed me how years ago but I haven't needed to for years. He allowed lots of time for initial soaking and then ritual shaking until all was in solution. Probably s bunch of guys here who know how. And keep the flakes dry between uses.
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  4. #4
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    true Value carries Zinnser (sp)
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  5. #5
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    Alternative to Dewaxed shellac?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Reed View Post
    "I don't want to get into mixing up my own shellac."

    Why not? Its not hard. Its cheaper. You make only what you need. It just takes some time and some planning. My friend Micheal Dresdner showed me how years ago but I haven't needed to for years. He allowed lots of time for initial soaking and then ritual shaking until all was in solution. Probably s bunch of guys here who know how. And keep the flakes dry between uses.
    So would someone like to explain to me how to mix my own de waxed shellac. I'll have to start searching for it.
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  6. #6
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    I feel that the extended shelf life of the Zinsser products make then a good value but, I use a fair amount of shellac. Not a lot but, probably more than many one man Garage-Mahal woodworkers do. If you want to mix your own, here's a place to look. I'm sure there are others that folks will recommend: http://www.shellac.net/dewaxed_shellac.html
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Baugues View Post
    So would someone like to explain to me how to mix my own de waxed shellac. I'll have to start searching for it.
    I am really surprised that there is no Zinsser Sealcoat around there - it may not say shellac in obvious letters but its basically low cut dewaxed shellac with some stabilizers added. The stabilizers actually make it not to bad of a deal for folks who are only intermittent users as it does last a lot better than homemixed stuff (once mixed).

    But anyway... don't let all this overwhelm you - basically you take flakes, mix with good quality high proof, mix well and use. The rest is fluff.

    Step one acquire shellac:


    Step two acquire high proof ethanol
    • DNA from the hardware store works as long as its actually high proof alcohol (85% or better) you can
    • The shellac.net place lists some types known to be good and also sells some (http://www.shellac.net/alcohol.html) - I've seen the Klean Strip stuff local, but Joel at TFWW doesn't like it: https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/...%20Them%20Over.) - personally I think Joels doing a bit of selling there on the over 190 proof bit but his point about methanol in the SLX is reasonably well taken.
    • Everclear or other 190 proof grain alcohol is similar although more expensive but it doesn't have any denaturing agents DNA has (which some people prefer to avoid)
    • I use mostly the heads and tails from a friends purification process that aren't fit for drinking Stephen Sheppard agrees: http://www.fullchisel.com/blog/?p=1401



    Step three mix
    The mix is in "lbs per gallon" but you will obviously want to scale that down a lot. Make up an ounce or three at a time is usually around the right amount. For most seal coat work a 1/4-1/2lb "cut" (equivalent of 0.25-0.5lb/gallon) is pretty good, I generally find the thinner stuff easier to work with in general and cut back the seal coat stuff even when I use it.

    Mix chart here: http://www.shellac.net/PoundCutChart.html

    Small glass jars with tight sealing lids work well for this as do small empty paint cans. The container should be just a wee bit bigger than your batch.

    Stir/shake vigorously and let the mix sit overnight and then stir/shake vigorously again.

    If its not dewaxed you can let it set for a couple of days and then pour the shellac off of most of the wax. Some shellac's aren't very clean so you may also want to pour it through some cheese cloth or even a coffee filter (that can be sloooooow/impractical at higher cuts). Stephen Shepards blog has a nice example of how to make shellac from seed lac - which is uncleaned shellac: http://www.fullchisel.com/blog/?p=232 - he also doesn't worry about the wax: http://www.fullchisel.com/blog/?p=39 but acknowledges that it interferes with a lot of modern finishes.

    If the flakes don't dissolve one of two things went wrong: either your alcohol wasn't pure enough (common) or the shellac is to old - air/heat/moisture are all the enemies of shellac in storage so store well sealed in a dry/cool place.

    Joel at TFWW has a couple of good articles on the process:
    https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/...ellac%20Flakes
    https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/...ch%20Polishing
    https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/...The%20Followup

    Some history:
    https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/...3/Getting%20Sh..
    https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/...20-%20part%202

  8. #8
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    To clarify, I CAN find Zinsser shellac in both clear and amber. What I cannot find is the "Seal Coat" by Zinsser (which is the dewaxed shellac). At least not at the big three stores I went to today. Home depot had a gallon can of it but at $38.00 I passed on it. I'll go to a couple other places tomorrow.
    Last edited by Tom Baugues; 09-16-2015 at 02:26 AM.
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Baugues View Post
    To clarify, I CAN find Zinsser shellac in both clear and amber. What I cannot find is the "Seal Coat" by Zinsser (which is the dewaxed shellac). At least not at the big three stores I went to today. Home depot had a gallon can of it but at $38.00 I passed on it. I'll go a couple other places tomorrow.
    Weird!

    It would also be worth while to note that the clear in the spray can is dewaxed even though it doesn't actually state it anywhere obvious - this stuff:
    http://www.rockler.com/zinsser-clear-spray-shellac

    Its not as cost effective but it is fairly easy to apply. In general the thinner the shellac coat the happier you'll be in my experiences, of course I'm doing almost entirely wipe on so YMMV.

  10. #10
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    The spray cans are non existent around here, I haven't been able to find it anywhere. I can order it and have it sent to Home depot ,but you have you buy a six can case to get it.
    I'm supposed to respect my elders, but its getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

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