Because shellac is my favorite finish, I have tried nearly every brand of flakes on the market. By far, my favorite brand is the premium dewaxed flakes – Tiger Flakes – sold by Tools for Working Wood in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Because there are no lac bugs in Brooklyn, this stuff is obviously sourced from a third party. But what makes it special is the care and attention lavished on the flakes in transit to you. Tiger Flakes are primo – they have fewer bug parts than any other brand I’ve tried (and I’ve filtered out a lot of legs and other buggy bits in my day).
And they are fresh. Tools for Working Wood ships them in heavy, double-sealed plastic with a desiccant pack. The result is that the flakes dissolve quickly in alcohol. I typically mix up shellac in Mason jars – and flakes that I mix in the evening are ready to go the next morning.
Side note: Many shellac snobs get haired over about methanol vs. ethanol when mixing the shellac. With the Tiger Flakes, I can use any old denatured alcohol off the shelf at the home center and it works beautifully.
Because the shellac is fresh, it dries hard, fast and clear. Tiger Flakes have won over many of my students who had tried shellac once and didn’t like it because it was gummy and didn’t dry well.
Tiger Flakes come in the colors super blond, blond, amber and garnet – each color deeper in orange than the last. Yes, it’s expensive ($32 to $42 for a half-pound), but it will never let you down.
From the February 2015 issue, #216
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