Spray Shellac Finish

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Forum topic by Alongiron posted 10-18-2012 05:44 PM 2703 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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654 posts in 3698 days

10-18-2012 05:44 PM

I am a big fan of using shellac on all the Arts and Craft projects that I make. I liked to do it the old fashioned way by using a brush but there are times when it is difficult to do so. Can someone help me to understand what kind of spray gun to use when spraying shellac. Thank you

-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

9 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


6312 posts in 3818 days

#1 posted 10-18-2012 05:49 PM

I use the Woodriver (Woodcraft) Gravity feed HVLP gun. I have also used Porter Cable’s gravity feed HVLP gun, both with great results. They come with 1.5 mm needle sets, which work great for shellac or lacquer. I really prefer pre-cat lacquer, but the guns spray shellac well too.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View NiteWalker's profile


2742 posts in 3581 days

#2 posted 10-18-2012 06:16 PM

I use a gravity detail gun with a 1.2mm nozzle setup.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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Paul Miller

33 posts in 4458 days

#3 posted 10-19-2012 01:24 AM

One of the HF gems. $15 gets you their 20 oz gravity feed HVLP with 1.5 mm tip. If you need a regulator at the gun, they have the same model with regulator for $35. I’ve been using it for years and never had a problem. I even bought a couple on sale for spares but haven’t needed them yet. If the project is going to take a while to finish, I’ve left shellac in the gun for several days without cleaning it. No clogs, just give it a shake to mix the shellac, and start spraying again.


View Gary777's profile


82 posts in 3603 days

#4 posted 02-21-2013 06:22 PM

I thought I would add a tip I learned the hard way, I always mix my own Shellac from scratch using flakes, since starting to do this my finishes have improved dramatically. It also saves on waste since Shellac has a fairly short shelf life. I usually use a 1lb cut regardless of if I’m spraying or brushing and I just apply more coats.

Another tip, the cut doesn’t matter as much as most people think, a thinner cut will flow smoother and dry faster, you’ll need more coats but each coat will be more consistent. If you think about it the alcohol is going to evaporate anyway, if you are in a hurry and want to use a thick cut and apply less coats you are increasing your odds of runs and other thick finish ills, I used to do this because I was eager to see the fruits of all that hard work, then I learned (the hard way) that sanding and finishing are just as important as craftsmanship of construction.

If you slow down, go thin and add more coats I think you’ll really like the results.

-- Gary - Carson City, NV - "Every man looks upon his wood pile with a sort of affection." — Henry David Thoreau

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4235 days

#5 posted 02-21-2013 06:34 PM

+1 – What Paul said.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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174 posts in 4094 days

#6 posted 02-21-2013 06:52 PM

Alongiron: I recently completed an armoire project where the finish was a 1 pound cut blonde dewaxed shellac that was sprayed on; one coat on the entire piece and three coats on the internal components. The outside was then finished with General Finishes Arm-R-Seal oil and urethane topcoat; two coats gloss and one coat semi-gloss. The system I used to spray the shellac was a Binks spray gun with a 1.4mm tip (I think) connected to a pressure pot. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. The spay goes on easily, dries quickly, and I think it looks great.


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654 posts in 3698 days

#7 posted 02-21-2013 07:21 PM

Thanks for all the great comments and suggestions. Question. Don’t you ger a lot of over spray all over the shop? What kind of protection do you use to protect your work area.?

-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

View Gary777's profile


82 posts in 3603 days

#8 posted 02-21-2013 07:36 PM

I use an Earlex 5500 HVLP system and open ended tent/booth for spraying using 2mil plastic sheeting, I also use a fan to push air into the tent and exhaust it outside, it’s not optimal (i wish I had room for a dedicated booth) but I don’t spray for hours at a a time ether. I’ve heard people state huge CFM numbers (5400cfm, which is huge for an 8×10 room) for air circulation but that just seemed nuts to me, half of your finish is being swept away with that kind of flow. I use about 300CFM in 6’ x 8’ tent. But make sure the visible over spray mist is being exhausted, if it’s getting behind the fan it could go boom!

The beauty of spraying Shellac is that it’s such a quick process and the clean up is easy and it;s much less dangerous than lacquer. I spray lacquer too but only outside when the weather is nice and it’s not windy.

-- Gary - Carson City, NV - "Every man looks upon his wood pile with a sort of affection." — Henry David Thoreau

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Jim Finn

2871 posts in 3926 days

#9 posted 02-22-2013 12:53 AM

I have heard that shellac has a short shelf life but I was given some that was years old and it worked well for my needs. What goes wrong with shellac over time?

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

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