Dissolving & Mixing Shellac Flakes

Shellac 'Pound Cut' Chart

Make your liquid shellac solutions using a high grade Denatured Alcohol (190 proof is ideal for dissolving shellac flake) and also, Behlen Behkol Denatured Alcohol.
Mix what will be used within 3 months. Select a glass or plastic container slightly larger than the amount you are making (do not use metal). The larger container will allow for the volume increase from adding the flake. Temperatures under 60° F will slow the dissolving.
A hot water bath can assist in cold weather.  ••
Warning: DO NOT use direct heat.
Keep alcohol and liquid shellac away from open flame or burners.

Add shellac to the liquid (crushing button lac will speed dissolving).
Stir or Shake every 15 -30 minutes. Let solution stand in a warm environment (with occasional agitation) until shellac is completely dissolved. There may be sediment and organic particles depending on the type of lac. Strain all types through cheesecloth, white cotton cloth, or paint strainer. We find straining through a paint strainer first then through T-shirt or multiple layers of cheese-cloth helpful.
Store your shellac, tightly stoppered or sealed, in a cool dark location. In our shop the coolest place, outside the fridge, in hot weather is on the cement slab under the bench.

In general a "2 Pound Cut" is a good place to start. Several thinner coats are often easier to apply and finish than few heaver coats. work methods, tools, weather, and environment will dictate your 'pound cut' preference. A 3 pound cut is generally reserved for priming or sealing of stains, and sap, or knots prior to painting, especially on softer woods. Always use a Dewaxed Shellac as a primer under paint or as a seal-coat under clear finishes.

Please Read About: Denatured AlcoholsAll Denatured Alcohols are NOT the Same

'Pound Cut' (the weight of dry lac cut into alcohol) designates viscosity or thickness of liquid shellac.

Denatured Alcohol
or Behkol
Pound Cut
Pound Cut
Two (2)
Pound Cut
Pound Cut
Three (3)
Pound Cut
One Gallon
= 128 Fluid Oz.
1 Lb.
(16 Oz.) Flake
1.5 Lb.
(24 Oz.) Flake
2 Lb.
(32 Oz.) Flake
2.5 Lb.
(40 Oz.) Flake
3 Lb.
(48 Oz.) Flake
1/2 Gallon
64 Fluid Oz.
1/2 Lb
(8 Oz.) Flake
12 Oz. Flake
1 Lb.
(16 Oz.) Flake
20 Oz. Flake
1.5 Lb
(24 Oz.) Flake
One Quart
= 32 Fluid Oz.
1/4 Lb.
(4 Oz.) Flake
6 Oz. Flake
1/2 Lb.
(8 Oz.) Flake
10 Oz. Flake
3/4 Lb.
(12 Oz.) Flake
One Pint
= 16 Fluid Oz.
2 Oz. Flake
3 Oz. Flake
1/4 Lb.
4 Oz. Flake
5 Oz. Flake
6 Oz. Flake
One Cup
= 8
Fluid Oz.
1 Oz. Flake
1.5 Oz. Flake
2 Oz. Flake
2.5 Oz. Flake
3 Oz. Flake
The intersecting cell, above, shows the amount of dry lac (8 Oz.) to make 1 Quart of '2 Pound Cut' liquid shellac.

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