Q: I have been turning small objects on my lathe and have been using a combination of cellulose sanding sealer, which dries almost instantly, friction polish and carnauba wax stick with good success. However, the labels on these products do not indicate what is in them. What ingredients are in cellulose sanding sealer and friction polish? Can they be made or purchased from the large home center stores, or can I make my own?
A: In all likelihood, the cellulose sealer is actually nitrocellulose sanding sealer, which is basically nitrocellulose lacquer mixed with zinc stearate to add body. You can buy nitrocellulose lacquer sanding sealer at most any home store or industrial coatings supplier, along with lacquer thinner for thinning and cleanup. Friction polish is almost always a mixture of shellac and wax. These are usually not sold at home stores or paint stores. You could mix your own, but it’s a bit tricky, since not all waxes will mix readily with shellac, and it is best done with professional paint mixing equipment, which I am guessing you do not own.