Shellac Sampler (16 grades)--Fernandez Music, Box 2130, Anacortes, WA 949-856-1537

This variety pack (see photos below) of shellacs, seedlacs and buttonlacs will enable you to mix various grades to achieve subtle color differences. It will also allow you to experience how each grade builds up color and thickness differently. Very simply, it will help you understand the nature of your materials. I do not think there is any other place you can find such a diverse selction of these materials.

The cost for this kit in the Continental US is $78 ($65 plus $13 for UPS shipping). For shipments in Washington state add 8.5% ($5.53), total $83.53.


Top row, left to right: Dewaxed Shellacs--Platina, Blond, Orange, Garnet

Bottom row: Lemon One (Handmade), Lemon Two (Handmade), Lemon One (Machine made), TN (Machine made)

Top row: Superior Kusmi Buttonlac, Superior Buttonlac, Light Pure Buttonlac

Bottom row: Golden Kusmi Seedlac, Golden Bysacky Seedlac, Kusmi One Seedlac, Mandhum Fine Bysacky Seedlac, Genuine Bysacky Seedlac

The kit includes 2 oz each of the following 16 grades:

Dewaxed Shellac Platina (flakes), 0.2% wax, lighter than Blond

Dewaxed Shellac Blond (flakes), 0.2% wax, Color Code 6

Dewaxed Shellac Orange (flakes), 0.2% wax, Color Code 16

Dewaxed Shellac Garnet (flakes), 0.2 % wax, darkest--no Color Code

Superior Kusmi Buttonlac, 5.5% wax, Color Code 6

Superior Buttonlac, 5.5% wax. close to Superior Kusmi Buttonlac

Light Pure Buttonlac, 5.5% wax, Color Code 12

Shellac Lemon One (flakes), 5.5% wax, Color Code 12

Shellac Lemon Two (flakes), 5.5% wax, Color Code 15

Shellac TN Machine Made (flakes) 4.5% wax, Color Code 12

Shellac Lemon One Machine Made (flakes) 4.5% wax, Color Code 12

Golden Kusmi Seedlac, 5.5% wax. Color Code 8

Golden Bysacky Seedlac, 5.5% wax, Color Code 8

Kusmi One Seedlac, 5.5% wax, Color Code 10

Manbhum Fine Bysacky Seedlac, 5.5% wax, Color Code 12

Genuine Bysacky Seedlac, 5.5% wax, Color Code 30

This is a total net weight of 32 oz with a unit cost of $2.04/oz

Note 1: The Color Code distinguishes color on a 1 to 30 point scale--30 is the darkest, 1 is the lighest. For 2 of the above grades (Platina) and Superior Buttonlac) I do not have a certified color code from the Indian factory. However, my visual inspection shows that Platina is ligher than Blond and that Superior Buttonlac is close to Superior Kusmi Buttonlac.

Note 2: It is not difficult to remove the wax. You can let the solution of shellac, seedlac or buttonlac sit undisturbed and let the wax settle to the bottom--then use only the top portion. Or you can filter it. I think it is generally good to get rid of most of the wax if you are french polishing.

In my experience, 2 oz. of shellac flakes dissolved in 8 oz. of alcohol (which is a 2 pound cut) is plenty to french polish a guitar. I typically use about 4 to 5 oz. The buttonlacs and seedlacs contain up to 5% non-lac material which must be filtered out. Consequently, buttonlacs and seedlacs will yield less pure liquid varnish than the much purer shellac flakes. Shellac flakes are more refined, while seedlacs and buttonlacs are closer to the natural raw material. These rawer forms (seedlac and buttonlac) allow the finisher/varnish maker to more fully control colors through filtration and bleaching. The color differences of the resulting spirit varnishes affect your padding techniques and the final finishes left on the wood.

At some time I may have comments about filtering, wax content, debris content, bleaching with activated charcoal, and soluability of my samples. I will apppreciate the remarks of others on these topics and such matters as lubricating oils, drying oils, shellac drying times, hardness tests, etc.

I expect to deplete my supply of the 16 different samples very soon (August 28, 2017). At that time I will offer kits with a slightly different selction of samples.

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