Denatured Alcohols (methylated spirits) for Shellac
Buy a good Shellac Solvent for making your own shellac finish.
A 'high test', 190 proof (5% denaturants), Denatured Ethanol Alcohol is preferred
as a Shellac Flake Solvent.
Unfortunately NOT all Denatured Alcohols are equal and there is No purity standard or required ethanol content to be labeled “Denatured Alcohol”.
It is next to impossible to find a 190 proof alcohol at the ‘big box’ home improvement or hardware stores. Many brands are formulated with as little as 50-60% Ethanol – and the balance are cheaper alcohols and denaturing solvents. Recently we went in search of high test Denatured Alcohol.
Out of ten paint, hardware, and home improvement stores, only the local Sherwin Williams paint
store had a190 Proof alcohol. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) will list the ingredient percentages of the product (most can labels do not).
A ‘denaturant’ is added to Ethanol Alcohol (a drinkable spirit) to make it unfit for consumption.
The original denaturant was Methanol Alcohol, and the term ‘Methylated Spirits’ is used in many
parts of the world in referring to Denatured Alcohol.
A 190 Proof Denatured Alcohol is operator and earth, ‘Green’, friendly. Startex, Crown® Denatured Alcohol NEXT™ is biodegradable and made from 95% natural and renewable resources (available in the eastern half of the US), and "Klean-Strip Green” are retail brands of 190 Proof Denatured Alcohols. If you find one of these, or another 190 proof Denatured Alcohol, buy locally and save on shipping.
Shop Note: By using a known Denatured Alcohol proof or purity and settling on a brand you will have more predictable results by elminating one finishing variable. We adjust for weather and heat conditions by adding SHELLAC Retarder (not lacquer retarder).
When the shellac is drying too fast due to heat, low humidity, or excessive airflow, add just enough retarder to enable easy application. When spraying shellac, retarder will help eliminate overspray and orange-peel. Avoid over-use.
Keep in mind that use of the retarder will require longer drying times between coats of shellac.
To avoid costly flammable shipping charges, we ship in quarts, United Parcel Service Ground.