Why Methylated Spirits Will Cause Problems When French Polishing and What is the Solution?

Why Methylated Spirits Will Cause Problems When French Polishing and What is the Solution?

Any experienced polisher knows that French Polishing is a form of art. Mistakes are easily made when using Shellac and nothing is more frustrating than having to redo hours’ worth of work to fix problems that you think are out of your control, but more times than not, these problems are completely avoidable. Some common problems that beginners will come across are blooming, framing, cracking, slow drying times and more. What if I told you all these problems can be solved with only 1 small change? The simple solution: DON’T USE METHYLATED SPIRITS!

Methylated spirits can contain up to 30% water and still be labelled as “methylated spirits”. This high-water content is the root of many problems when French polishing and using shellac efficiently. The first problem you will have using methylated spirits can occur at the very start of the process; dissolving the raw shellac flakes. Being 30% water (70% alcohol) means that methylated spirits is a pre-diluted product, and only has 70% of the dissolving power that 100% alcohol would have. This will increase the dissolving times significantly, and rather than taking a few hours to dissolve, it could take a few days before you are able to use the liquid shellac.

The same issue applies to drying times. Alcohol evaporates much faster than water, so using 100% alcohol will give you a faster drying time and a faster drying time means you can apply more coats in a shorter period, reducing the overall time it takes to complete the process. When using methylated spirits, the surface can stay wet for an awfully long time, you don’t want to be waiting hours before you can apply the next coat.

The high water will also commonly cause blooming. “Blooming” refers to the white patches that appear on the surface or between the layers of shellac, these patches can be extremely frustrating and can only be fixed by adding more shellac. Blooming is commonly caused when the combination of moister in the methylated spirits is combined with the moisture in the air, especially on humid or rainy days, using 100% alcohol will massively reduce the chances of blooming, allowing you to polish in wet weather.

The instant solution: Denatured Absolute Alcohol

Denatured Absolute Alcohol or DAA for short, is 100% pure alcohol. Meaning it contains no water. This gives it a huge advantage over Methylated Spirits and will work wonders for your French Polishing experience, massively reducing the chances of problems you may come across. All experts and professionals will refuse to use anything other than Denatured Absolute Alcohol when French Polishing. Put simply; water and moister will complicate the process, eliminate water and you are immediately eliminating potential problems.

Where can I find Denatured Absolute Alcohol

DAA cannot be found in your local Bunnings or hardware store, it is a speciality product and very few retailers can supply it. Restorers’ choice is a supplier of Denatured Absolute Alcohol and can supply you with trade quantities or hobbyist quantities at a fantastic price. We ship Australia wide with guaranteed next day dispatch with all orders. We pride ourselves will exceptional customer service and want all customers to have 100% confidence when shopping with is, that we offer a 100% money back guarantee if not satisfied.

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