Klean strip green and shellac color on birdseye and paduak help.

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Forum topic by OldBull posted 10-03-2020 03:29 PM 517 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View OldBull's profile


336 posts in 312 days

10-03-2020 03:29 PM

Good morning,

I am still inching forward and far from ready to shellac anything but I am getting closer. While at the store I bought denatured alcohol “Klean strip Green” before knowing all alcohols are not the same (although they use to be the same at 2 am on a friday night when I was younger). calls the green a good choice as it has less methanol and more ethanol. My question is dissolve time and shellac choice. I am looking for your help with expectations, suggestions, tips etc for using the green denatured alcohol with shellac and what color shellac you like. A week to dissolve is a long time but if it is a week then that’s what has to be done. Can I plan on lumps and clumps even if I stir-shake-swirl religously? Can I use one color shellac for both padauk and maple or should I expect a color problem?

Someone even said 99% rubbing alcohol was even better/faster.

I know it is a lot but any help would be appreciated. I have done a ton of reading and watching but applying a finish seems to be a subject that is very contradictory and even polar opposite at times.

Thanks for the help


6 replies so far

View Planeman40's profile


1536 posts in 3778 days

#1 posted 10-03-2020 07:45 PM

I keep a glass jar of “seed shellac” in my paint cabinet. Mixing is no problem. Just mix the right proportions and shake the jar until it is all dissolved. I then strain the mixture through some cheap nylon stocking material. I generally make my shellac up somewhat thick and then thin it with alcohol until I get what I want.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View SMP's profile


3469 posts in 922 days

#2 posted 10-03-2020 09:13 PM

Are you wanting to mix it up from flakes you already have? I use the zinsser clear on the woods you mention and like the look of it personally.

View jacww's profile


75 posts in 2024 days

#3 posted 10-03-2020 09:53 PM


I mixed up some shellac earlier this year using the Jasco brand green denatured alcohol and had no problems. I used shellac flakes purchased from Highland Woodworking in Atlanta. After I mixed the flakes and alcohol I shook the jar occasionally. within a short time the flakes were mostly dissolved. I let it sit overnight and the flakes were completely dissolved. Like Planeman40 I strained it then used it.


View LittleBlackDuck's profile


6587 posts in 1837 days

#4 posted 10-04-2020 12:05 AM

Shellac has a limited shelf life… Unless you plan to use a lot at once, mix as required… Keep mixed shellac in a fridge.
100% alcohol (Metho in Australia), though usually much dearer (and harder to source), makes a better mix than that laced with 5-10% Ethanol… though most would not notice the difference.

Though its long (1:28:38), here is a video that may give you some ideas that many do not cover (in one)... Suggest downloading and watching while consuming some good drinking alcohol.
Link to a handy cut table... and some hints in the included link in the PDF.

PS. ”Dead” shellac mixed 10:1 with non-pure metho makes a good sanding sealer. To test… put a drop or two between thumb and forefinger and tap the two together slowly for about 30 or so seconds, if it doesn’t tack up its more than likely “dead”...

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View CaptainKlutz's profile


4187 posts in 2511 days

#5 posted 10-04-2020 04:25 AM

1) There are several existing threads on the topic of shellac and alcohol types. Several due challenges California folks have finding DNA. Here is a recent one to get you started:

2) Size of shellac flakes plays a large role in time to dissolve. If you use one of the those small coffee/spice grinders and turn the flake into dust, and can dissolve a new batch of shellac in 10-15 minutes of shaking due smaller size. Often find the the coffee grinders at second hand stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army for 10% of new cost.

Generally speaking, with regular agitation; should be able dissolve small flakes in 1-3 days max. If you find flakes are not dissolving and you shake/stir ~every hour; they may be contaminated with moisture, and are only capable of making snot ball in jar. Even fresh shellac can have small percentage of undissolvable flakes, and that is why you always strain off good stuff to use on the project. If you store your shellac flakes in cool and dry place; they will last a very long time. Once dissolved into alcohol, the shelf is ~6-12 months. The way to tell if shellac is old; Brush heavy coat on stick. Old shellac will never cure hard and surface stays tacky 24 hours later.

3) Color? Color in finishing is personal preference.

I use lightest blond shellac as grain sealer to minimize color shifting. Also prefer it on white woods.

Amber shellac as seal coat is nice way to add some color and depth to lighter woods, when using a water base top coat. Am not a fan of the orange-ish wood colors, so I don’t use it as the only finish.

Garnet shellac creates an awesome finish on walnut and/or cherry. Used as grain sealer, it restores some of the color lost on kiln dried/steamed walnut. Used as the top coat (french polish) really makes walnut grain pop.
Here is one LJ project example:
Click for details

On cherry, garnet shellac can be used to darken the wood and replace/accelerate some natural aging for items kept away from UV light that turns cherry dark naturally.

Hope this helps.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View OldBull's profile


336 posts in 312 days

#6 posted 10-04-2020 04:48 PM

Thanks everyone, sorry I am late back to the party.

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