Bad Shellac

IMG_3882It happened again this past weekend. I walk into a store to pick up a can of Zinsser amber shellac. Out of the five quarts I found on the shelf, not one was still usable, according to Zinsser. In fact, one of the cans was dated 2007. Shellac is good for three years from the code date printed on the can. Don’t buy old shellac. That’s just asking for trouble.

If you need to know how to decipher the date of manufacture of Zinsser shellac, click here to read a post I did the last time this happened to me.

By the way, the can shown in the opening photo no longer contains “fresh” shellac. I wouldn’t use it.

— Glen D. Huey

Posted on

3 thoughts on “Bad Shellac

  1. For whatever reason, I have found at my local stores that the clear Zinsser is usually, but not always, somewhat fresh (often a year or so old) whereas I have yet to find a can of the amber shellac that isn’t outdated. I guess the store managers consider the shellac to be like canned vegetables. These can last for decades unopened and yet still be relatively edible.

  2. Good article but what happens when you use out dated shellac?

    I remember my first school projects in the 60’s that we used shellac on and it was a far cry from what we have available today.

    The finish was usually put on with a brush and finished with 320.
    After sanding with 320 it was a very durable good finish.

    1. Rocky,

      Bad shellac will not dry completely. You’re left with a finish that could remain gummy. You would need to scrape off the bad shellac before applying anew coating. Been there. Done that. It’s not fun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *