What happened with my home made Shellac?

SexyTeli

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After getting recommendations from forum members about Shellac, I bought some shellac flakes in my country then mixed with 90 degree alcohol (ethanol) to make 1.5-cut mix. I have shaked and stirred the mixture every 30 minutes in 3 first hours.

This is the result after 24 hours. I dont know why it has not dissolve 100%. Is my flakes or alcohol defective?

Overall, I quite like Shellac. It is really fun when you can create the finish yourself without any harmful odor/liquid. And it is totally safe to apply with bare hand, so I can do it with my son.
 

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SexyTeli

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It simply says that "Alcohol 90 degrees". Seller says they add some addtional addictives to make flakes dissolve faster and the finish look more beautiful.
 

tubedude

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Shellac flakes have a "best used by" date. Seldom listed, but they need to be used fresh. Still, looks like a solvent issue.
 

Orpheum

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The shellac flakes should dissolve in 90 degree anhydrous alcohol (aka ethanol)...
Are you sure of the quality of your shellac flakes?...
 

Beebe

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Unless it's an optical illusion, that doesn't look like a 1.5 lb cut to me. I get what I call a 1.5 lb cut with 3 oz of shellac in 16 oz of 190 Proof Everclear.

Using grain alcohol that you can drink makes it even more health and kid friendly. I like Shellac for this and many other reasons as well.
 

Beebe

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Here are some pics of getting a 1.5 lb cut of super blonde.

3 oz ground flakes

PXL_20220126_130750436.MP.jpg


16 oz of 190 Everclear added

PXL_20220126_130936063.jpg


After two 20 second shakes in a period of about 5 min

PXL_20220126_132027800.MP.jpg
 

SexyTeli

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Shellac flakes have a "best used by" date. Seldom listed, but they need to be used fresh. Still, looks like a solvent issue.
I think so. My solvent has expired date 2024. But I doubt it now.

The shellac flakes should dissolve in 90 degree anhydrous alcohol (aka ethanol)...
Are you sure of the quality of your shellac flakes?...
Yeah, I read on internet that my flake should be fine with 90 degree alcohol. Tomorrow I will buy 90 degree alcohol from Pharma store to check if the problem comes from solvent.

Unless it's an optical illusion, that doesn't look like a 1.5 lb cut to me. I get what I call a 1.5 lb cut with 3 oz of shellac in 16 oz of 190 Proof Everclear.

Using grain alcohol that you can drink makes it even more health and kid friendly. I like Shellac for this and many other reasons as well.
I make 1.5-cut mix by the formula on internet. I put 60 gram of Flakes into the 500 ml glass jar with 416 ml 90-degree alcohol. My flakes has not dissolved completely after more than 24 hours. It gathered a lot at the bottom of the jar as my picture has shown.

Interesting. What do you usually use this for?
Firstly, I will use it for my PC monitor shelf on top of my desk. After being confident with shellac, I will try it first time on my next Telecaster build :D
 

Beebe

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I think so. My solvent has expired date 2024. But I doubt it now.


Yeah, I read on internet that my flake should be fine with 90 degree alcohol. Tomorrow I will buy 90 degree alcohol from Pharma store to check if the problem comes from solvent.


I make 1.5-cut mix by the formula on internet. I put 60 gram of Flakes into the 500 ml glass jar with 416 ml 90-degree alcohol. My flakes has not dissolved completely after more than 24 hours. It gathered a lot at the bottom of the jar as my picture has shown.


Firstly, I will use it for my PC monitor shelf on top of my desk. After being confident with shellac, I will try it first time on my next Telecaster build :D

If it is indeed 1.5 lb cut, then try flipping it over for a while. It should form some shellactites (play on stalactites) that will dissolve better. Shake it a lot and give it time. I've had this happen with good shellac before when I didn't grind or shake it.
 
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SexyTeli

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If it is indeed 1.5 lb cut, then try flipping it over for a while. It should form some shellactites (play on stalactites) that will dissolve better. Shake it a lot and give it time. I've had this happen with good shellac before when I didn't grind or shake it.
Thank you I will try it.
hygroscopic
Thank you. I also tried to do everything fast. I will make it faster next time.
 

RHazelwood

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I assume "90 degree" means "90 percent", as in 10% is water. I've never seen the term degree used for alcohol concentration, but its probably a translation difference. 90% ethanol should dissolve flakes pretty well. I use 190 proof grain alcohol which is 95% alcohol when new.

What I hope it doesn't mean is "90 proof" which would translate to 45% alcohol, 55% water. That's way too much water.

Are your flakes dewaxed? If not, the wax can be difficult to dissolve sometimes, and create a sort of sludge. It should dissolve eventually.

One thing you can do to speed up the dissolving, with caution, is to heat the mixture. I have used a small saucepan filled with water and heated gently to maybe 120 degrees or so, and place the shellac jar in the water. You don't want to get it too hot because alcohol will boil at a lower temperature than water. Also you want to avoid open flames obviously. But it does help it dissolve faster- I can get a 2 lb cut dissolved in an hour or less.
 

Freeman Keller

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I assume "90 degree" means "90 percent", as in 10% is water. I've never seen the term degree used for alcohol concentration, but its probably a translation difference. 90% ethanol should dissolve flakes pretty well. I use 190 proof grain alcohol which is 95% alcohol when new.

What I hope it doesn't mean is "90 proof" which would translate to 45% alcohol, 55% water. That's way too much water.

I'm guessing that it DOES mean 90 proof which definitely will not work. Here is what I use for French polish
IMG_6538.JPG


IMG_6540.JPG
 

dsutton24

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Industrial alcohols are commonly labeled in degrees. 90 degree alcohol is a shorthand way of saying 90 degree proof, or in common liquor terms 90 proof. Your alcohol is 45% alcohol, and 55% water and other stuff. You want 180 or 190 degree (proof) alcohol.
 

tomasz

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May it be, that your shellac had a heavy wax content and it accumulated like that at the bottom of the jar? I would pour the clear mixture to a clean container and make a test with it. It still looks like a heavy cut, even for amber shellac to me.
 




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