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Old Shellac Shelf Lives For Pen Repair


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I recently obtained a couple of vintage Parker 51s, both working excellently. I am concerned however, that I may be looking at breather tube replacement on one of them. I am confident that I can do these repairs if necessary.'


I am, however, out of NEW shellac. I've read a lot of posts from various sources about a replacement for shellac as a sealant on Parker hoods, barrels, pumps and sacs, etc. Like most things, the responses cover all sorts of opinions.


I will use shellac on my Parkers for now. Now, to the question. I have an old can (old = more than a year old) of orange shellac. I'm told that the shelf life of shellac is short. WHAT exactly happens to retired shellac?


A friend who restores antique furniture says it gets hazy and loses it color properties. Question is, does it retain its ability to seal a pen barrel or hood? It's color is not necessarily a priority in this case of course. I drizzled some of this old shellac on a glass surface. It hardened by the next morning.


Will this suffice to seal the hood on a vintage Parker 51? I find it a little frustrating to have to pay 18 dollars for two brush strokes of shellac, knowing full well, the next time I need it, if ever, it too will have turned to a useless vial.



"Tis true, men are destined for short, brutal lives ... and women - long, miserable ones." :yikes:

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Shelf life on new, unopened shellac is supposed to be about three years, according to Zinsser, and then it no longer produces a reliable finish; it should work as a light adhesive/sealant for quite some time beyond that. I don't know whether it's an appropriate sealant for a 51's hood, though.

Mike Hungerford

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If it hardened on glass, it's fine. When shellac goes bad (for our purposes, not for furniture finishing!) is when it remains gummy.

David, thanks for your input. Failure, at worst here, is an inky mess.



"Tis true, men are destined for short, brutal lives ... and women - long, miserable ones." :yikes:

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