My first experience using shellac in the mid-1990s was a disaster. The stuff wouldn’t dry. And when it did finally, kinda dry it was a gummy mess. So I stuck to pre-cat lacquer and other film finishes.
However, since then, I’ve gotten my hands on some very good, fresh and pure shellac from Tools for Working Wood in Brooklyn, N.Y. I’ve used lots of other brands, but the Tiger Flakes are the best. Virtually no bug parts to filter out. No wax. It mixes quickly and dries fast and hard, like good shellac should.
Now I’m sure that Joel Moskowitz doesn’t have a lac bug farm in Brooklyn, so he gets it from a supplier in India (or elsewhere). So maybe you can find another brand that uses the same source. But what sets Tiger Flakes apart is they are always fresh, always sealed in a heavy zippered bag and always perform. It’s a natural product, so proper handling is important.
If you have ever had a bad shellac experience, ask for some in your stocking this year and give the Tiger Flakes a try. (Oh, and if you can’t get them direct from Tools for Working Wood, Woodcraft carries the Tiger Flakes. Usually.)
— Christopher Schwarz