Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Shellac Removal


#1

I have just started using shellac on a wooden dowel to act as a jig
to hold sterling silver jewellery items while I am setting stones.
When I am finished stone setting, I remove the jewellery item from
the shellac stick by heating it with an alcohol lamp. Works really
well, but there is a lot of shellac residue left behind on the
jewellery item. What is the best way to remove the shellac residue
from the sterling silver jewellery?

Regards
Milt Fischbein
Calgary Alberta


#2

Milt F. my good friend

Good to hear from you again, here’s my answer to your question.

I leave the shellac item in a glass container, full to the top with
Methyl Hydrate and place it IN a soni-cleaner. By leaving it IN this
warmed solution the constant sound waves are activating the solution
to a very fast clean-up…in minutes, okay! 10-15 minutes, maximum!!!

Remove the jar or beaker, and suspend the clean item back into the
soni-cleaner and this way it washes off ANY remaining shellac
residue that might dry hard. I will then immerse this cleaned item
and rinse it AGAIN in clean Mehtyl Hydrate back into the
soni-cleaner, just for a few seconds.

Behold, all of this will take no longer than 20 minutes, start to
finish! VOILA! ready for polishing…totally clean and with no traces
of ANY shellac…this is my method, I have been using this idea for
many decades, trust me, it works wonders!..Gerry Lewy!


#3

Hi Milt,

What is the best way to remove the shellac residue from the
sterling silver jewellery?

Alcohol is the typical solvent for shellac. Try cleaning the item
with denatured alcohol.

Dave


#4
jewellery item. What is the best way to remove the shellac residue
from the sterling silver jewellery? 

Hello Milt,

The recent threads on shellac solvents offer at least some
alternatives.

If you’re not it a rush I’d say drop it in a little methyl alcohol.
If you swirl it around a bit it should take little bits of shellac
off in a few minutes or less. Really heavy build-up might need to sit
overnight.

For quicker removal it might be worth trying lye as has been
suggested here recently though I have no personal experience with
that approach.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light
www.touchmetal.com


#5

I use denatured alcohol.

Robin C. McGee
Rcmcgee47@comcast.net


#6

Hi All!

This is for Brenda who wrote in and had mentioned that using shellac
can come back and bite you. Why is this? I use shellac…is there
anything I should know. Actually anyone who knows the answer to
this…feel free.

Thanks,
Laura


#7

Perhaps she has a problem with what shellac is made of, or how it is
produced?

Tiny parasitic insects (Kerria Lacca) produce a resinous secretion
as a protection for their larvae. The secretion forms a hard coating
on branches and twigs of various trees and bushes in India and
Thailand. These crusty, coated branches are cut and broken into small
pieces. After crushing the sticks, resin and wood are separated in
shakers. The remaining resin is ground, washed - to partially remove
the color - and finally dried. The result is the raw material for
all shellac production. Some people have a problem wrapping their
mind around handling something that came from… bugs…

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
Stockton, CA USA
209-477-0550
instructor@jewelryartschool.com
jewelryartschool@aol.com


#8

Dear Laura and All,

I mentioned I disliked using lacquer to seal silver pieces to
prevent tarnish problems. I don’t believe lacquer and shellac are
the same thing- when I think of shellac, I think of the yellowish
stuff watchmakers use, or stone setters might occasionally use also,
to hold a piece while working on it. I think of lacquer as being a
clear sealer. But I may be wrong.

I don’t like to use lacquers as a sealer because eventually they
wear through, and you get spots of tarnish anyway. When that
happens, you not only have to clean up the tarnish, but you first
have to remove all of the remaining lacquer, which is a pain. I’d
rather just deal with the tarnish.

Take care all.
Brenda
Nesheim Fuller Design
Mason City, Iowa


#9
using shellac can come back and bite you. Why is this? 

it gets spotted and slightly melted if sprayed with alchohol based
perfume


#10
    Some people have a problem wrapping their mind around handling
something that came from... bugs... <grin> 

Hi Brian;

I love the stuff. It has an intriguing smell when heated. I use
shellac, setter’s cement, also jet set and other thermoplastics,
each in different situations. The shellac can be warmed and formed
around and article when it’s cool enough to handle. So can the
thermoplastics. But the thermoplastics have a bit of bounce to them,
so when I’m doing some kinds of setting, I want the get the feel and
even hear the changes in sound that hammering metal down on a stone
makes, so that I can tell what’s happening. The thermoplastics, on
the other hand, will withstand much more vigorous hammering, so if I
have some heavy metal bashing to do, thermoplastic is the answer.
Thermoplastics are good for engraving type setting, like bright cut
and pave, but you have to be careful that the plastic doesn’t ooze up
through the holes because it’s difficult to get it out of the way of
the stone. That’s why I usually like the shellac. You can scrape or
bur it off where you need. Back to thermoplastics though, you can
shape them around all kinds of articles and still form a bit of it
into an extension that can be clamped into your Bench Mate or a
vise, etc. Stuller sells an orange setters cement that’s a lot easier
to get cleaned off the mounting than shellac, and it doesn’t shatter
as easily as shellac. But it also goes from molten to solid too
quickly to easily form it around an article with your hands. Boy,
it’s great to have so many more choices that we did a decade ago.

David L. Huffman


#11
    thermoplastic is the answer. Thermoplastics are good for
engraving type setting, like bright cut and pave, but you have to
be careful that the plastic doesn't ooze up through the holes
because it's difficult to get it out of the way of the stone. 

Hello David,

When applicable a good tip to prevent any thermoplastic from getting
into areas it can’t be removed is to use something to fill the void
that can be dissolved by water or even a solvent. I’ve heard some
people use cake frosting, but just about anything that will
dissolve can be used.

Sincerely,
Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Support


#12

Try Playdo. It’s water soluble and easily removed in an ultrasonic.

Robin C. McGee
Rcmcgee47@comcast.net


#13
Try Playdo. It's water soluble and easily removed in an
ultrasonic. 

When I posted this, I meant to be referring to Thackeray Taylor’s
post about the cake frosting to plug the holes when using
thermoplastics as a fixture. Now that I see the post come in, I can
only scratch my head and offer the standard excuses for why I left
the reference out: It was late, I was tired, my dog ate my homework,
etc. Sorry about that.

Playdo really does work, though.

Robin C. McGee
Rcmcgee47@comcast.net