Using Behlen Behkol Solvent

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Every guitar shop needs Behkol on hand.

Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: Dan Erlewine - Stewart-MacDonald]

Dan Erlewine: This is Behkol Solvent. It's a high-grade denatured alcohol that has several important uses in a guitar shop.

Solvent for shellac

First and foremost, we use it for mixing fresh shellac from flakes. Just like lacquer thinner is the solvent for lacquer, Behkol is the solvent for shellac.

Once it's mixed into solvent, shellac has a fairly short shelf life. So it's best to mix it fresh in quantities that we'll use within a couple of months, and you definitely want to use it up within six months.

Solvent for stains

Behkol is also the solvent that we use to mix with transparent ColorTone Stains to make a fast-drying, non-grain raising stain, known as an NGR stain.

It's good for brushing, spraying or hand-wiping, or for mixing into shellac to give it color. In French polishing, we use shellac oil and Behkol. The oil keeps the shellac pad from sticking. Then later on, we use the Behkol to spirit off that oil or remove it.

Other uses for Behkol

It's the fuel used in alcohol lamps. This is a convenient, quiet, easy way to heat knives and spatulas for disassembly work or for melting stick lacquer for touch-ups. That's a real easy heat source, rather than having a propane torch sitting up here going [inaudible 00:01:17]. You don't need that much heat.

Because it's a solvent, Behkol also is a great degreaser. When you buy new machine tools and machine tool parts like this thread gauge, they're coated with oil. Behkol cleans that off and it dries very fast.

I use Behkol a lot. A quart probably lasts me three to five months.



Dan Erlewine

Guitar Repairman and Builder

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