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Thinning shellac in California?

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Forum topic by MakerDP posted 07-03-2019 05:19 PM 1097 views 0 times favorited 48 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MakerDP

13 posts in 45 days


07-03-2019 05:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question shellac thinner

How are Californians thinning shellac nowadays seeing as how denatured alcohol is now a banned substance here? And please don’t say drive to a neighboring state and buy some there. That’s just not an option for me. I tried a general Google search and the only thing I could come up with was arguments about whether or not isopropyl alcohol is a suitable thinner for shellac in general, so I am very confused.

I joined this forum just so I could ask this… lol. But, I have read many posts here that helped me along the way and have learned a great deal from you all.


48 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5486 posts in 2798 days


#1 posted 07-03-2019 05:25 PM

Go to the liquor store and buy Everclear.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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CaptainKlutz

1613 posts in 1941 days


#2 posted 07-03-2019 05:40 PM

Best solvent for shellac is and always has been ethanol alcohol, not methanol alcohol.

Problem is 99.9% technical grade (or 200 proof) is only sold at laboratory supply, and 95% pure grade called 190 proof grain alcohol is hard to find at many liqueur stores. Another issue is due alcohol consumption taxes, it is most expensive shellac solvent to procure.

Question: Is the Kleen Strip ‘Green’ denatured alcohol sold in CA?
It is the low VOC version of denatured alcohol.
http://www.kleanstrip.com/product/green-denatured-alcohol

Behlen also sells Behokol, which is a blend of ethanol and couple of slow evaporation alcohols that help shellac flow out evenly. Can you get it shipped to CA from online source?

Reference: https://www.shellac.net/alcohol.html

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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HokieKen

10206 posts in 1585 days


#3 posted 07-03-2019 05:44 PM

I would say you need to just experiment with some alternatives. If the online information regarding Isopropyl is fuzzy, then buy some and try it (on scrap, not on a project). Everclear is a good possibility too. It’s 190 proof (95% alcohol) where DNA is Ethanol (pure alcohol) with additives to make it non-potable. After the additives, it is probably roughly the same % alcohol as Everclear.

DNA is kind of an irresponsible product to begin with if you ask me. You take pure alcohol and intentionally add poison to it all in the name of taxation.

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

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SMP

1302 posts in 352 days


#4 posted 07-03-2019 05:46 PM

Good question. I have a pretty new quart of it, but will need to find something eventually. I’m guessing some smaller shops probably still have some in stock. Maybe I should just stock up.

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MakerDP

13 posts in 45 days


#5 posted 07-03-2019 06:09 PM



Best solvent for shellac is and always has been ethanol alcohol, not methanol alcohol.

Problem is 99.9% technical grade (or 200 proof) is only sold at laboratory supply, and 95% pure grade called 190 proof grain alcohol is hard to find at many liqueur stores. Another issue is due alcohol consumption taxes, it is most expensive shellac solvent to procure.
...
- CaptainKlutz

Thanks I will look into those products.

Unfortunately, Everclear is not an option. It has been a banned substance here far longer than DNA.

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MakerDP

13 posts in 45 days


#6 posted 07-03-2019 06:15 PM

Well the Woodcraft website says “Not available to ship to California” for the “Green” DNA… so strike one on that.

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PineChopper

190 posts in 2643 days


#7 posted 07-03-2019 06:24 PM

Questions like this make me so happy I moved out of that ShitHole state years ago.

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MakerDP

13 posts in 45 days


#8 posted 07-03-2019 06:26 PM

Don’t get me started… I really don’t want this to turn into a political thread though, but I hear you.

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HokieKen

10206 posts in 1585 days


#9 posted 07-03-2019 06:28 PM



Questions like this make me so happy I moved out of that ShitHole state years ago.

- PineChopper

That’s just silly pine chopper. We all know that sh!+ isn’t allowed in the state of California because it is a known carcinogen in .000013% of the wooly bearded jellyfish that migrate past the state every 18th year in November.

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

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MakerDP

13 posts in 45 days


#10 posted 07-03-2019 06:34 PM

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Rich

4676 posts in 1036 days


#11 posted 07-03-2019 06:34 PM


We all know that sh!+ isn t allowed in the state of California …

- HokieKen

Unless it’s on the sidewalk in LA or SF.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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HokieKen

10206 posts in 1585 days


#12 posted 07-03-2019 06:44 PM



Hmm… what about this?
https://www.mohawk-finishing.com/mhk_cds/product_msds/M650-0057.pdf

- MakerDP

That appears to just be DNA with butanol added. Not sure what the purpose of the butanol is but I’d say it’s worth a shot if that’s still legal for you to buy!

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

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1613 posts in 1941 days


#13 posted 07-03-2019 06:45 PM

where DNA is Ethanol (pure alcohol) with additives to make it non-potable. After the additives, it is probably roughly the same % alcohol as Everclear.
- HokieKen

Sorry, but this statement is NOT always true in today’s greedy low VOC EPA mandated world?

Need to carefully check the MSDS/SDS on denatured alcohol (DNA) when you buy it.
Methanol alcohol is cheaper, and many home store brands use 40%+ methanol.

Here is Kleen strip DNA ingredients, with 50-55% methanol:

.
Here is Crown DNA, it shows 70-75% methanol alcohol:
.
.
Here is the green low VOC ingredient list, with 3-7% methanol:

.
BTW – the ethyl acetate and or MIBK is used as stabilizer. It extends shelf life and prevents reaction with metal cans.

The use of so much methanol is one reason that standard off the shelf DNA is not very good at dissolving shellac flakes. But the standard stuff works for diluting premixed shellac, as it also has a blend of solvents.

Using the ‘green’ version DNA gives much better results using flake shellac.

PS – if you live in hot dry place like I do in Arizona, adding about 10-15% of 99.9% pure tech grade isopropanol alcohol (not the 80-90% stuff found in drug store) helps slow evaporation and aids flow out. (added after ethanol completely dissolved the flakes) I even keep some really slow evaporating n-butyl alcohol on hand when need to use shellac when it’s 100F in shop.

PPS – Knowing your alcohols is important when you hang around with a bunch of chemical engineers that serve ethanol blended drinks are parties. :-(0)

YMMV

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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MakerDP

13 posts in 45 days


#14 posted 07-03-2019 06:58 PM

OK so what if all I really wanted to do is thin out the cans of Zinsser and not mix my own? It looks like I can’t get that Mohawk stuff either.

Would the highest % isopropyl I can buy at the drug store work ok for that?

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Steve

1449 posts in 1029 days


#15 posted 07-03-2019 07:15 PM

this reminds me that i have some everclear in the liquor cabinet that i should make some jungle juice with.

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