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Shellac questions

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Chris TickTock22/07/2020 23:04:43
622 forum posts
46 photos

Hi Guys,

I intend to buy de-waxed Shellac for the purpose of sticking smallish brass disks (blank clock wheels for example) to a lathe arbour or faceplate for machining. The purpose of using Shellac is at this point purely to access it.

Can anyone advise on the proceedure to heat / melt / fix / adjust the wax to acheive success.


Ian P22/07/2020 23:50:26
2594 forum posts
114 photos

What are you trying to access, or did you mean assess?

Ian P

oldvelo23/07/2020 01:57:44
295 forum posts
56 photos

Hi Chris

Shellac gasket sealant is available from automotive spares stockists. Shellac is soluble in methylated spirits or iso propyl alcohol.

Super Glue to fix  parts and heat to remove it . Acetone is the solvent for Super Glue. Some Nail polish removers that contain Acetone in a high percentage will work. 



Edited By oldvelo on 23/07/2020 02:03:55

Hopper23/07/2020 05:21:57
6606 forum posts
347 photos

Aren't shellac and wax two different things?

not done it yet23/07/2020 07:30:32
6874 forum posts
20 photos
Posted by Hopper on 23/07/2020 05:21:57:

Aren't shellac and wax two different things?

Depends on how much it is refined for how much wax it contains.

JasonB23/07/2020 07:35:06
23005 forum posts
2757 photos
1 articles

The natural wax in it can give a slightly cloudy look when it is used for polishing so the wax is removed hence Chris looking a dewaxed shellac.

About a year ago there was a two part article in ME 4623 and 4625 by Tony Bird which explains about making and using shellac chucks as well a susing it to hold other items, he also has several Youtube videos on the subject.

John Andrews 223/07/2020 07:43:23
22 forum posts

Why bother with shellac and wax? Super glue is better and so is double sided sticky tape

JasonB23/07/2020 08:05:54
23005 forum posts
2757 photos
1 articles

I would avoid any form of liquid shellac such as the gasket sealer mentioned above as it will contain solvents that will more than likely flare up as the heat is applied with a blow torch. Stick form would be ideal though you could melt some flake into a lump..

Chris had a thread running the other day about using Superglue now he wants to try shellac so best keep superglue suggestions in that thread.

Edited By JasonB on 23/07/2020 08:07:36

Chris Kirby 123/07/2020 08:34:00
6 forum posts

I think what would be good for this is "dopping wax", lapidarists use it.

Hopper23/07/2020 09:49:34
6606 forum posts
347 photos

So is dewaxed shellac what you use on polishing wood? And clock wheel shellac the waxy stick variety?

Either way, one of those small butane torches that clips straight on a diposable can of gas should work. Available any harware store for peanuts. They have trigger ignition and a very controllable flame yet plenty of heat if you crank it up. Has become my go to workshop heat source.

These days a cheapo hot glue gun might be an alternative too.

Edited By Hopper on 23/07/2020 09:50:23

not done it yet23/07/2020 10:13:52
6874 forum posts
20 photos

Hot air guns are a controllable alternative to a flame. They will soften paint for stripping so will manage this duty with power to spare.

Georgineer23/07/2020 10:19:27
589 forum posts
33 photos
Posted by John Andrews 2 on 23/07/2020 07:43:23:

Why bother with shellac and wax? Super glue is better and so is double sided sticky tape

I've had some difficult experiences with double-sided tape. Some of them are intended to be permanent and when separated - with difficulty - leave a very sticky residue which is a nuisance to get off. The other, and more serious, shortcoming is that they are flexible and allow the work to move sideways under pressure, which destroys any thoughts of accuracy. I'm talking about plain tape here, not the cushioned variety.

George B.

Chris TickTock23/07/2020 21:52:13
622 forum posts
46 photos

Thanks for all posts so far. My interest in Shellac is purely not to dismiss something through the machinist / tradionalist divide. Shellac obviously has its uses.

I found this video interesting


old mart24/07/2020 20:28:55
3886 forum posts
264 photos

A long time ago, I was an instrument mechanic working in aircraft stuff, and we had a supply of shellac in flake form which was dissolved in methylated spirits, (the undyed type) as we required it. It was used to seal small screws and the like.

Meunier24/07/2020 21:15:03
448 forum posts
8 photos
Posted by old mart on 24/07/2020 20:28:55:

snip//. It was used to seal small screws and the like.

I tried so hard to resist asking whether it "locked them tight" ?

Tim Stevens24/07/2020 21:52:22
1618 forum posts

Easily applied dissolved in alcohol, but can also simply be warmed. Melting point is below 100C. And in answer to the question 'Why not superglue?' - shellac does not require inquisitive children to visit the hospital to get their eyes open again.


Clive Hartland24/07/2020 22:25:43
2837 forum posts
40 photos

When centering circles in a Theodolite the adhewsive used was shellac, the clamping disc had segments cut out and small holes in the bits left. These holes were filled with shellac. and the gaps were filled with clear cellulose

Mounting prisms in blocks, were secured in place with a grubscrew on oneside and shellac in the hole on the otherside, screws were sealed over with shellac. Also showed that if someone had adjusted any part the shellac was chipped away.

Dave S30/07/2020 17:39:53
373 forum posts
90 photos

Try holding a relatively long thin (say 0.5-1mm diameter and 10-15mm long) part to work on the end with superglue.

With shellac you can drill a hole, fill it up, warm it and then insert the part.
You can make the part run true with a little heat to soften and some careful pressing.

As with most things tool related it’s having the knowledge of the easy way which makes life simpler.


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