Sep 292018

“Not all Denatured Alcohols are equal”

USE a GOOD Shellac Solvent for making your own shellac ‘Seal Coat’ finish.
A ‘denaturant’ is added to Ethanol Alcohol (a drinkable spirit) to make it unfit for consumption.
The original denaturant was Methanol Alcohol.
The term ‘methylated spirit’ is still sometimes used referring to Denatured Alcohol. ——–

Unfortunately NOT all Denatured Alcohols are equal and there is no purity standard for ethanol content to be labeled  “Denatured Alcohol”. High test, 190 proof (5% denaturents), Denatured Alcohol is preferred as a Shellac flake solvent.

It is next to impossible to find a 190 proof alcohol at the ‘big box’ home improvement or hardware stores. Many brands have as little as 50-60% Ethanol – and the balance cheaper alcohols and denaturing solvents.
Recently I went
in search of high test Denatured. Out of ten paint, hardware and home improvement stores – only the local Sherwin Williams paint store had 190 Proof. The Material Safety Data Sheet will list the ingredient percentages of the product (most cans do not).

A 190 Proof Denatured Alcohol is operator and earth, ‘Green’, friendly.
“Klean-Strip Green” is one retail brand of ‘190’ Proof Denatured Alcohol.
If you find a 190 proof Denatured Alcohol, buy locally and save on shipping.

We ship Alcohol in quarts to avoid costly flammable shipping charges.

Available from
•• Select 190 proof Denatured Alcohol Shellac Flake Solvent
– excellent for padding and french polishing.
•• ‘Behkol Alcohol’ (Denatured Alcohol) is formulated by BEHLEN specifically to dissolve shellac flakes and dilute or ‘cut’ liquid Shellacs.  Behkol will make a shellac that has a little more open and working time.

Shop Note: By using a known Denatured Alcohol proof or purity and settling on a brand you will have more predictable results by eliminating 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 over-spray and orange-peel.
Avoid over-use of the retarder.  Keep in mind that use of the retarder will require longer drying times between coats of shellac.

To: ‘Pound Cut’ Mixing Ratio for Shellac Flake in Denatured Alcohol
Printable vesion (pdf)

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