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 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 nine paint, hardware,
and home improvement stores, only one local 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 190 Proof Denatured Alcohol is operator and earth, ‘Green’, friendly.
Mohawk Shellac Reducer formerly (Behlen Behkol) is a high test Denatured Alcohol.
If possible, buy locally and save on shipping.
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, shellac retarder will help eliminate over-spray and orange-peel. Avoid over-use.
Keep in mind that use of the retarder will require longer drying times between coats of shellac.
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 Spirits’
is used in many parts of the world in referring to Denatured Alcohol.
SHELLAC Retarder is available from:
Shellac.net Wood Finish Supply
To avoid costly flammable shipping charges, we ship in quarts, by United Parcel Service Ground.