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It looks as if  I’m wrong about the problem with non-hardening shellac that I mentioned in my last post. There, I suggested that it might have been due to using mineral oil to stop the pad sticking when applying the shellac. Bob Flexner emailed me saying that neither he nor the hundreds of people that he has taught have ever encountered any trouble with mineral oil. Indeed, the reason that he prefers mineral oil to linseed oil is that unless one is careful in removing all the linseed oil, it cures soft and gummy on the surface.

I’d like to get to the bottom of the matter, not least because I don’t want to run into the same trouble in future. So I’ve carried out some experiments to try to reproduce the problem using various types of shellac in combination with various types of oil to see if they harden differently. If anything useful comes of them, I’ll write about it.

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