*Note* – This is a clip from a 2008 video. If you notice I look approximately 25% sexier, that would be why.
If you ever research mixing shellac, you were probably overwhelmed with information about precise measurements, including weights and volumes. More fun ensues when you want to learn how to go from one dilution to another. If you aren’t familiar with shellac dilutions, here’s the quick primer. A certain amount of shellac flakes are dissolved in alcohol to achieve a particular dilution known as a “pound cut” (abbreviated lb cut). The most common cuts you’ll come across are 3 lb, 2 lb and 1 lb. Most pre-mixed shellac is sold as a 3 lb cut and is usually diluted before application. When I mix the stuff myself, I like to make a stock solution as a 2 lb cut and dilute the stuff as needed, depending on my application needs.
To make a 2 lb cut, I don’t rely on scales and graduated cylinders. Instead, I ballpark it with a quick & dirty recipe. By the way, this isn’t a new concept. I probably read about this years ago in a woodworking magazine. Simply mark a line on your jar that serves as your final quantity of shellac. Be sure to leave enough room for shaking and mixing. About half-way down from the first line mark another line. This is your shellac flake line. Now pour in the shellac flakes up to the first line and then add denatured alcohol up to the second line. Congratulations, you now have an approximate 2 lb cut of shellac.
Remember, the lb cut of shellac is just a number. What really matters is how it applies to the surface. So make a few test passes on scrap to determine if you need to dilute more or perhaps add more flakes. Don’t overthink it.