SHELLAC and METHO: HELP FOR NOVICE USERubeaut
Email from Richard 24th Oct 2022
hi there – i am looking or a shellac finish (novice) and was wondering what the difference is, between your hard shellac and the white shellac – i assume both are dewaxed.
My response 24th Oct 2022
Both are dewaxed white shellac the only difference is that one has a hardener in it that will give very high resistance against water, alcohol and heat etc.
Ideally use the Hard shellac for table tops, and all horizontal surfaces which may be used for putting things on.
Use the unhardened version for horizontal surfaces that may be easily damaged by knocks, scrapes, feet, etc. These surfaces will be easier to repair if needed.
The unhardened version can also be mixed with 8-10 parts of methylated spirits to give you a great sanding sealer.
Hope this is of some help to you.
Cheers – Neil Ellis
Reply from Richard 25 Oct 2022
Hi Neil – thanks for the quick response – that’s rare these days.
I am making a guitar and wanting a shellac base to grain fill the wood prior to applying a nitrocellulose finish on top.
What would you recommend for this – are the shellacs you sell premixed, ready to wipe on ? if so, can they be stored in a fridge – life ??
Additional question… some times later.
Hi Neil – I have another question (sorry but I’m just learning about shellac) – are the dewaxed shellacs pre-mixed ?
Do I still need to add alcohol to them ?
My response: 25 Oct 22
Hello again Richard
Yes, they are all premixed as they have a short shelf life in their granule form if not kept at around 8c.
You need to add methylated spirits to thin it for easier application. How much depends on your application method… French polishing, brushing, spraying, etc.
It is a brilliant product when used correctly. However, if you haven’t used it before it can be your own special nightmare, especially if you jump in boots and all without practicing and getting a bit of good advice.
Best advice for using it and other finishes is contained in “A Polishers Handbook”. Not trying to up sell you but without more information you can get yourself into a bit of a pickle.
Hope this is of some more help to you.
Cheers – Neil
From Richard: 9 November 2022
Hi Neil – I have my pre-mixed shellac – was just wondering if it needs to be refrigerated once opened ?
My response: 9 Nov 22
Won’t hurt to keep it refrigerated or in a cool place don’t leave in hot shed on 40c+ day.
From Richard: 19 December 2022
Hi Neil – I was just wondering if industrial strength metho is the same as 100% alcohol ?
Also, how does your hard shellac go over an sealer such as the Feast Watson Sand and Seal – from the smell of it, it is an oil based sealer ?
Industrial Methylated (IMS) can be 95% or 100% also called ethanol.
95% or 100% Ethanol also called denatured Alcohol is a USA name for the same thing,
If you’re buying metho from Bunnies, Mitre10, supermarket in bottle make sure it has 95% somewhere on the label usually bottom left corner, if not it could have up to 40%+ water in the mix and worthless for anything other than cleaning.
100% IMS is usually only available in 5, 20, 6-and 200 litre sizes. You should be able to get a 4 or 5 litre 10 from a decent paint shop.
95% IMS is fine with shellac but 100% is better although not as easy to find.
As for Hard shellac over a turpentine or oil based sealer… It will work but could cause problems down the track with possible cracks or crazing etc due to the different products moving at different rates under heat and cold, etc..
I’m a firm believer in not using different surface coating products. EG: oil based with shellac or waterbased product over the top. Stick with one from start to finish. Shellac based under shellac finish/French polish. Oil base sealer with oil/turpentine based finish.
The only time I recommend using incompatible products is with stain EG: water based stain under shellac, polyurethane , lacquer. If you use spirit stain under shellac or other spirit finish you may pull the stain out of the wood. Water based stain with water based finish over the top will have the same result, etc, etc.
Cheers – Neil
Further reply from Richard 30 Dec 22
Hi Neil – I have been to a Bunnings store and 2 Mitre 10 stores and cannot find IMS metho – is it something you sell ? or alternatively, is there a brand you could point me in the direction of ?
My response: 30Dec
We have hundreds and hundreds of litres of it but don’t sell it. Look in Bunnies, Mitre10 or supermarket or paint shop for Diggers brand Methylated Spirits. Make sure it has either 95% or 100% on the front label usually bottom left side.
Cheers – Neil