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Robby W

Denatured Alcohol, Shellac and California

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I hope this hasn't been discussed before. Shellac is one of my favorite small project finishes, so I went down to the local big box stores to get another gallon of denatured alcohol to thin it out to a 2 pound cut. Imagine my surprise when I was told it isn't available in California anymore thanks to someone deciding that the thinner for the most non-toxic finish around was bad for the environment. 

 What are others using for a substitute? I even checked the dedicated finishing stores. No luck there either. And we can't get Everclear stronger than 120 proof, so that is out.

Interesting side note: One of the stores had Arm-R-All, something else I haven't been able to find in California.

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This must be a SoCal thing Robby,  I can get both Arm R Seal and DNA up here in the bay area.  Just bought a gallon of DNA in November.

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You know Ken, I am not leaving this state any time soon because my wife lives here and I not leaving her side over DNA but this state is just way to hung up on saving us from ourselves.

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Weren't we talking about this in an earlier thread or am I having deja vu?   I seem to remember it is illegal to ship prohibited materials to CA, but also that the list of "no no" materials varys by region.  

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13 hours ago, Chet said:

This must be a SoCal thing ....

Yeah, the good old So. Cal Air Resources Board..... Grumble. I heard that Home Depot, Lowe's and a couple of other larger stores got fined $5 million each for carrying it as "glass cleaner" as a clever way to get around the ban. 

"... how long is your drive to NM or NV? "

I have to go to Nevada soon for work. Guess I might have to drive to bring some back. 

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12 hours ago, Chet said:

You know Ken, I am not leaving this state any time soon because my wife lives here and I not leaving her side over DNA but this state is just way to hung up on saving us from ourselves.

And Chet, sometimes I wish Texas had more stringent controls over our pollution. Especially where the chemical plants are concerned. 

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A well written letter to the representatives on  CARB may go a long way. Stating that household quantities (1qt or less) of denatured alcohol would pose little to no impact on air quality. Also stating that specific natural finishes (shellac) require a natural solvent and that there isn't an alternative available. I doubt they are aware of the uses of DNA and just want to stamp out it's use in maritime stoves, camp stoves, etc. They did hold meetings on DNA in June of 2019, I"m sure there are many people that are complaining about this.

The irony is that Denatured Alcohol is Methanol (rubbing alcohol) and Ethyl Alcohol typically , and both are still for sale in the state..... :|

Here is a map of the air districts you may try looking outside the one you live in and see if it's just a regional thing. May not have to drive out of state. If you do buy a bunch as DNA doesn't go bad.
https://ww3.arb.ca.gov/capcoa/dismap.htm

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24 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

Methanol (rubbing alcohol)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought rubbing alcohol was iso-propyl alcohol.  In fact I'm not sure skin contact with methyl alcohol is a good idea?

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Ah drat you are right, i'm no chemist. I always get isoproply and methanol confused as being the same thing.

Fixed the above, Methanol is still an organic compound that is for sale in CA.... it's sold as racing fuel. I wonder if it could be used as a solvent for shellac? It's cheaper than DNA. And if you run low on fuel in your drag car you have some backup race fuel :D.

http://shop.sclubricants.com/methanol

 

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If it's not clear the comment about methanol was a joke. I'd not mess with it. It was more making light of the fact that while methanol is far more dangerous it's still legal to purchase.

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4 hours ago, Robby W said:

Yeah, the good old So. Cal Air Resources Board..... Grumble. I heard that Home Depot, Lowe's and a couple of other larger stores got fined $5 million each for carrying it as "glass cleaner" as a clever way to get around the ban. 

"... how long is your drive to NM or NV? "

I have to go to Nevada soon for work. Guess I might have to drive to bring some back. 

DNA is also sometimes sold as “Fuel”

Some say you can use the high grade isopropyl alcohol (99.9% or something like that, not the ~90% commonly sold in drug stores) for shellac, but some say it doesn’t give reliable results. 
 

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