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)

Mar 032012

H. BEHLEN Finishing
Finishing Products Label Text

Label information from the product packages in a
Type Size You Can Read

If you wear reading glasses (I do) the type face on some small labels
is so tiny
a magnifying glass becomes necessary.
Even worse, sometimes a stain drip or sticky fingerprint obscures
the application information, drying times, or other important label text
& some information is too extensive to fit on the product label.

These frustrations gave birth to our  BEHLEN Label Text & Data Pages

• • • • •

Dec 192011

H BEHLENPore-O-Pac  – Paste Wood Filler

To achieve a perfectly smooth Gloss finish (Piano Finish), filling the pores  in open grained woods is required. One customer described this finish as looking like a Mirror, or as smooth as a freshly frozen skating rink.

While other procedures and methods have been practiced, a Paste Wood Filler specifically designed for the process will give the most predictable result.  Pore-O-Pac will efficiently fill pores to provide a SMOOTH, FLAT ground on which to build a sealer coat and several gloss finish coats required for a classic filled, mirror smooth, Piano Finish.

See the can label instructions & application notes.
• • • • •

Sep 202011

Aerosol Application Tips

H. Behlen aerosols are convenient, portable tools that provide professional solutions for touch up and repair or wood finishing projects. This sheet is designed to provide users with common tips that are specific to our aerosol products.

H. Behlen Aerosol “Golden Rules”

1. Always use in a well ventilated area that for best results is at least 70 degrees.
2. Never apply near an open flame because aerosols are flammable.
3. Before using any H. Behlen Aerosol always shake the can vigorously up and down until the agitator balls inside are loose. Once the agitator balls are loose, swirl the can in a circular motion for 1 minute. This will thoroughly mix any colorants or flatting agents inside the can so that when you spray the can it will be what you expect it to be.
4. After use, always turn the can upside down and press the spray button until only propellant is coming out of the can. This will mean that you have cleared the tube and nozzle so the can will be ready to spray the next time that you need it.
Failure to do this could result in the tube or nozzle clogging, which will prevent the can from spraying.

Jet Spray™ Lacquer Toners, Master Toner & Guitar Toner Aerosols

•  Toners are used to shade color onto areas that have already been finished but are off color slightly or need additional accent color like sunburst on a guitar. Door or drawer edges are common areas where toners are used.

•  Toners are applied in multiple, light even coats. Avoid adding too much color too quickly by spraying on in heavy coats.

•  If the sheen is okay with the toner color, then it is not necessary to apply an aerosol topcoat over it unless;  a) you prefer a different or more durable final finish such as a Pre-Cat, or b) you need to adjust the sheen either higher or lower.

H. Behlen Sanding Sealers

•  Sanding sealers such as Top Coat Sealer and Jet Spray™ Sealer are used to provide a smooth and level surface for the final finish. Jet Spray™ Sanding Sealer is commonly used under nitrocellulose or acrylic lacquer topcoats. These nitrocellulose sealers are typically lower solids, which build slower than Vinyl Sealer and Pre-Catalyzed Sealer.
Most have sanding agents that powder when sanded. Jet Spray™ is a common sealer to use on furniture.

•  The Vinyl Sealer aerosol and Pre-Catalyzed Sealer are commonly used for cabinetry or other areas that will be top-coated with a pre-catalyzed finish or the Stringed Instrument Lacquer. These sealers offer higher build, increased moisture resistance, and are designed for higher traffic areas.

•  All sealers may be applied in light even coats. Usually, at least 2 coats of sealer are applied. Each coat should be sanded with at least a 280 grit abrasive, and top-coated with a final finish product.

•  No sealer is designed to be the final finish because they are typically softer than topcoat finishes.

 H. Behlen Clear Topcoat Finishes

•  Topcoat finishes include nitrocellulose, acrylic and pre-catalyzed choices that are available in different sheens, typically Gloss and Satin.

• Nitrocellulose finishes include Jet Spray™ Clear Lacquers, Water Clear Acrylic, Lacquer for Brass, Stringed Instrument Lacquer,

•  Top Coat Lacquer and Smooth Coat Lacquer, which are typically used on furniture and other indoor wooden surfaces.

•  Pre-Cat Lacquer is typically used on cabinetry and other high traffic areas where moisture resistance and durability are a concern because they cross-link after application and become harder and more durable than nitrocellulose lacquers.

•  When top coating a spot repair, apply the lacquer in light coats, fully depressing the spray head.

•  When coating a complete section, such as an end table top or the entire side of a table, apply topcoat finishes in light even coats.

To assure a smooth finish, we recommend that you apply the product by starting at the edge nearest you and spraying in overlapping lines (parallel to the edge) working toward the edge farthest away from you. Usually 2-3 coats are used

H. Behlen Specialty Aerosols

•  Jet Spray™ Blush Eraser is used to eliminate blushing (white, milky appearance of finish if applied in a humid environment), overspray (dry spray from the last coat that did not melt into the surrounding area leaving the surface feeling gritty) or to melt or re-flow a finish with light scratches that can be seen but not felt.  Jet Spray™ Blush Eraser is applied by misting it onto the surface very lightly. If sprayed too heavily, it will run or cause the finish to stay wet for longer than you prefer. This product can be used with any sheen.

•  Stains, Glazes may be applied as heavily as needed, and followed by removing the excess by wiping or brushing to color. Stains and glazes are particularly prone to clogging the pick-up tubes and nozzles if the aerosols are not cleaned properly after use.

•  Polishes are applied by misting onto the surface or onto a clean cloth, applied to the entire surface, and then buffed to the final luster.

Behlen Aerosol Listing
Wood Finish Supply

 818 #A Jackson Street, Napa CA 94559

Mar 062010

Aerosols for
the Wood Finishers Tool Box

We get a lot of questions on ‘Why so many clears?’

The simple answer is that one finish cannot provide the various requirements of a specific use or give the desired look to a finishing schedule. Each aerosol product is formulated to provide a specific performance function or solution for the finisher.

In over 25 years the only complaints we have had about aerosols was when the craftsperson was sold the wrong clear or toner to produce the desired result. In most cases we fault the dealer for not asking how the product was to be used, or for not understanding their customer needs.

Selecting the Proper Aerosol for the specific job at hand will give the finisher the right tool to produce superior results.

We hope the ‘Aerosol Notes’ will help clarify uses and advantages of the various coatings.

Notes on:Aerosol Sanding sealers & Clear CoatingsAerosols & Finishes for the Luthier and Guitar BuilderAerosol Use Tips& More coming

We welcome your thoughts or questions —
Email comments here


Shellac Care & Use Tips

 Shellac Flakes, Wood Finishing Tricks  Comments Off on Shellac Care & Use Tips
Jan 212010

A word about:
SHELLAC   —   “Packing” or “Blocking”

Dewaxed shellac flake when exposed to high heat tends to “block” or pack together in small, or occasionally, large chunks or ‘blocks’.

NOTE: Blocking is Not detrimental to the shellac flake.
If you leave a pound dewaxed flake under the weight of other supplies in a closed car trunk on a hot summer day the result can be a SOLID brick. (I won’t do that again!)

• Avoid blocking; store shellac flake Sealed Against Moisture in a Cool Dry location (under 70°F). If the flake blocks, wrap larger chunks in cloth or thick plastic sheeting, to keep them from flying all over the room, and reduce them to a manageable size with a hammer or dead blow mallet.

We try our best (importing via AIR) to give you only the finest flake and to avoid blocking. We however have little control if product sits in a delivery van or air container on a hot day.

More Hints:

Use a high-test denatured alcohol around 10 % denaturants or less. If the label does not say, the MSDS sheet for the brand will have the mixture percentages.  A 190 Proof Denatured Alcohol has 5% denaturant.

• A warm environment will aid the alcohol in dissolving flake.
place alcohol or shellac on or near any source of heat.

• In a cooler room set the lidded bottle of dissolving shellac flake in a container of Hot (not boiling) water to aid in dissolving. You can pulverize buttons and flake in a coffee grinder or in a blender to speed dissolving.

• Strain the working shellac solution through layers of cloth to remove any particles of dirt or organic material.

• Evaluate flake color when in liquid, variation in flake thickness from production batches can make a thinner flake look lighter in tone. Slight seasonal variations do occur in a natural product but they will be within the laboratory acceptable color range.

• Blending Flake Colors or Tones
For repeatable results, inter mix or blend shellac colors only in liquid form.

Print friendly PDF version: Shellac Flake Care
•••  Wood Finish Supply … Napa, CA