Air Brush Shellac

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Forum topic by ddockstader posted 05-22-2019 09:49 PM 510 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ddockstader's profile


188 posts in 4038 days

05-22-2019 09:49 PM

This is kind of a silly question, but I use Zinser Bullseye on a lot of projects. I mostly make small things for knitters. I have always brushed it on and then buffed it with steel wool to eliminate any runs, drips, or uneven finish. But I ran across a little air brush that I’ve had for probably 40 years and never used. I think it might be an old Craftsman back from when Craftsman was a quality product. Anyway, I know you can spray shellac, but the stuff I make would be blown across the room by a spray gun and I was wondering if anyone had used a small air brush (and this thing is small – the containers look to be about 2 oz.) for shellac. I think this might give me the control I need for these small pieces. Any experience would be appreciated.

8 replies so far

View OSU55's profile


2648 posts in 2765 days

#1 posted 05-22-2019 10:34 PM

Not an airbrush but I have turned my fullsize gun down to 6-8 psi and no fan, which acts similar to a large airbrush. Should be ok. I’d use a 1to 1–1/2# cut. Just have to play with it to find out. Actually a full size gun can be turned down quite low and work well with the right tip and needle.

View Rich's profile


5621 posts in 1365 days

#2 posted 05-22-2019 10:49 PM

Like OSU55 said, you can dial back a regular gun. But since you have an airbrush, the answer is yes, it’ll work fine. I’d go down to a 1 lb cut, but if it sputters, go thinner.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View TravisH's profile


717 posts in 2711 days

#3 posted 05-23-2019 03:47 AM

Shellac is no different than spraying water or whatever cleaner you want through a brush compared to most airbrush paints. No need to cut shellac from my experiences. Somewhere around 20 to 30 psi where I have sprayed.

That said lot easier to just use a rattle can and avoid the clean up of the air brush. Zinsser Spray Shellac is around 8 bucks a can and will last a long time for small projects. I typically use it as a seal coat prior to painting on many of the fishing lures I make.

View ddockstader's profile


188 posts in 4038 days

#4 posted 05-23-2019 05:36 AM

Thanks, folks. I was pretty sure it would work, but it’s always nice to get some independent opinions.

View HokieKen's profile


14070 posts in 1914 days

#5 posted 05-23-2019 01:56 PM

Get to cleanup fast. Those needles and nozzles are tiny and once shellac sets up it’s gonna be a mess.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View bilyo's profile


1112 posts in 1878 days

#6 posted 05-23-2019 02:31 PM

I use my Badger air brush for shellac frequently. Works great. I did get a larger spray needle and orifice for it which helps and I also purchased some larger bottles for it which are handy if needed. I haven’t found clean-up to be an issue; either DNA or an ammonia solution works well.

View Davevand's profile


179 posts in 1612 days

#7 posted 05-23-2019 02:58 PM

it will work fine, I have used an air brush to spray both shellac and lacquer on small projects

View OSU55's profile


2648 posts in 2765 days

#8 posted 05-23-2019 03:42 PM

Just use household ammonia to clean the airbrush after spraying shellac. DNA thins, but ammonia attacks the shellac and cleans it right up.

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