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I want to try using shellac on my wraps ALA Payne.  The info I have is that the Payne rod co. used white shellac thinned 50%.  Having no knowledge of shellacs, I started looking into what to get and found I was quickly lost in quality and color.  Whites, clears and blondes abound, and I am unsure of what I actually want.  How pure do I want/need for this?  Also, do I want flakes or ready mixed in a can?

Any other advice to heed or pitfalls to avoid will be appreciated.  (Carl DiNardo)

    I would use white also known as clear, ready mixed is fine for the job you need it for.  (Gary Nicholson)

    I attended a furniture finishing seminar at the Detroit Woodworking Show last December.  One of the things in my notes is that a "two pound cut" of shellac, which is pretty much standard for furniture is 50% shellac and 50% alcohol by volume.  He used a small glass jar (olive jar I think) marked 1/4 and 1/2 way up to mix in.  The only trouble with the small cans you get in the local friendly is that it may be kind of old and not dry properly.  The down side of the shellac flakes is that a pound of flakes is pretty expensive Vs. the small can in the hardware.  However, a pound will probably last a lifetime.  The flakes keep practically forever if they are kept dry.  (Neil Savage)

      Correct make sure you buy it from a dealer who has a good turn around on stock. You don't want old stuff. It never set up real hard like it should.

      I don't think there is any point mixing you own you should be able to get it from a major manufacturing unit close to you. In the Uk I recommend Rustins. If you do mix your own and its two thick you can just thin it down more with Industrial methylated spirits /that’s the clear stuff without the purple dye. It was put in to stop me drinking it.  (Gary Nicholson)

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Does shellac work very well for finishing the guide wraps?? Buying the flakes and mixing denatured alcohol seems like an economical and fast way to finish wraps. I know it would need a top coat of varnish. Would it work for clear wraps?  (David Dziadosz)

    I suggest you use a varnish cover or go with heat resistant shellac its also more resistant to water.  (Gary Nicholson)

    I have been using blond shellac (from flakes) for years as a color preserver and to bond the wraps before I varnish them with very good results.

    Let me know if you need the mixing info.  (Larry Tusoni)

    If you use shellac on guides make sure your finish agrees with the shellac on a sample wrap first. You might be surprised. Also make sure the thread is very clean and free of any tiny frays as these will manifest  themselves into huge bumps with the shellac.  (Uroj Leir)

      I don't think any standard varnish will have any detrimental effect on shellacs. It what French polishers have been doing for years.  (Gary Nicholson)

    Minwax polyurethanes (Helmsman & the fast drying type) work fine for me applied over Zinsner pre mixed clear shellack. Hal Bacon said he uses the clear liquid from the top of the can before it has been stirred. I do that and dilute it with denatured alcohol. I let it settle for a few days and decant it.  I use that as my stock. I dilute it more for the first coat. You can build up the shellack in the thread fairly fast. My goal is to barely fill the wraps to smooth and level. You don't need to sand before varnishing. You would probably cut into the thread.

    Don't expect bright color when you use light thread. You usually get a very slightly translucent wrap, several shades lighter than with varnishing, but darker than with color preserver. You can use a whole range of thread colors and generate some really nice effects. Try it, I think that you will like it.  (Doug Easton)

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