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paint and glue

A bucket of shellac flakes

While in Tel Aviv last week, I paid a visit to a few of my favorite places – trade stores and friends’ shops that I used to frequent while living in Israel. One of these places was Sahar Finishes store. The owner, Mosha Srebrnik, is the grandson of the man who founded the business almost a hundred years ago. The small corner store looks as if it has hardly changed since then, except for replacing some of the old metal containers that used to house the pigments and other chemicals with plastic jars and barrels.

Mosha Srebrnik of Sahar Pigments and Paints

In addition to the generic inventory of modern finishes and glues the store also carries powder pigments for stain and die making, raw linseed oil, two kinds of hide glue, and two kinds of shellac flakes. The shellac is imported directly from India while the hide glue is imported from either Eastern Europe or the Far East. Moshe told me that European Union regulations make it more difficult for manufacturers to produce it in the EU, therefore, hide glue manufacturing has moved eastward. Read more about hide glue in Chris Schwarz’s blog  and Bob Flexner’s blog .

Two kinds of hide glue by the gram, regular (dark) and rabbit glue (light).

Rabbit hide glue beads

The store sells blond and amber-blond shellac flakes in dry form, but also pre-mixed shellac solution (flakes suspended in denatured alcohol) that the store bottles. By the way, following the British custom the Israeli denatured alcohol (methylated spirits) aimed for the finishing industry looks purplish in order to distinguish itself from the drinkable alcohol.

One of the store’s frequent customers is my friend Shay Avrahami, who is a very talented furniture restorer and whose shop is just a few blocks away from the Sahar store. In my next post, I will show his furniture restoration shop and the unique tools that he found, built or restored over the years.

—Yoav Liberman

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