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This Old Crack House

From log house to farmhouse. Farmhouse to townhouse. Townhouse to apartment house. Apartment house to crack house. Crack house to our house. Our house to our home.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

The Shellac Chronicles Part 4 (Coloring Shellac)

Shellac can be colored with anything that dissolves in alcohol. Aniline dye is the most likely candidate. These are the dyes that are used to make inks. They are often used in permanent markers and come in all colors. They can be purchased from THESE PEOPLE. You really don't need a lot of dye. I bought an 8 oz. can of Walnut Dye and after using it on my floor, stairs, metal locks and fixtures and sending about 2 oz. to Greg I still have half of it left and a jar full of dark alcohol still to use up.

Before you add it to shellac you are supposed to dissolve some in alcohol. Then you filter it to remove the undissolved bits so they don't end up as specks on your finished wood work. I tried this once. Fortunatly it was in the basement. I had some old PVC plumbing left over from the "Placebo" incedent and made a makeshift funnel and used a coffee filter slapped over the end attached with a rubber band. I poured the walnut colored alcohol/dye solution into the pipe and waited for it to trickle into an old jam jar. I waited and waited and waited and waited as it slowly drip, drip, dripped into the jar. "There has to be a quicker way" I thought! I know what to do, I'll blow down the tube. So, I removed the reducing coupling "funnel" and clasped my hands around the piece of 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe which had the filter attached to it. I stood directly over the jar and I blew slowly and the solution began to flow faster. So I blew harder. The solution flowed a little faster than before. So I blew harder and PLOP! The filter had blown off into the jar with considerable force followed by the remaining solution in the pipe. Well, in that split second I remembered my physics classes about force and how energy is not lost but converted, just as the solution was rising out of the top of the jar heading straight for my face! So I did the only thing I could. I closed my eyes and thought of England.

Now I was covered in dark walnut aniline dye solution. It was all over my hands, face and the floor. I tried to get it off the floor but it wasn't happening. Then I thought "CRAP! I have to filter this stuff AGAIN because now it was all in the same jar" and decided to go upstairs to look in the mirror. Standing in front of the mirror looking at my face I started singing minstrel tunes which alerted Deborah to my plight who's reaction was simply "OH!"

Since this is the stuff they put in permanent markers you may have guessed that the shower taken to remove the stuff was a long one, but I do a lot of thinking in the shower. This time I remembered why we used "funnel filters" in chemistry class and that we folded the filter papers into cones. Afterwards I applied my memory to the task at hand and it seemed to work just fine. Blow jobs are definately not in my future! I mean, look at the mess it made and I can't get rid of the stain......


At 11/07/2006 2:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am absolutely loving this shellac discovery process you are going through! -- Its exciting :) -- Great information!

At 11/07/2006 12:23 PM, Blogger Ms. P in Jackson said...

LOL!!! This is way too funny. Sorry about the floor but at least it's the basement....

I don't know if I'll do the aniline dye but now I know how they got several of the used doors I bought so dark. In fact, I was thinking about making all of the woodwork in the house very dark to match these doors but I am going to give straight shellac a try on a test piece of red oak first to see how I like it. It sounds like you better know what you're doing when you use it.


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