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The story of Shellac and the Laccifer Lacca (Lac Beetle)


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What is Shellac?
From the tree to the beetle, from Shellac to French polishing and even in your belly!... This illustrated PDF explains it all.

Published in: Business, Technology

The story of Shellac and the Laccifer Lacca (Lac Beetle)

  1. 1. The Story Of Shellac And The Laccifer Lacca (Lac Beetle) Self published by Text & illustrations by Perry Toone © Copyright 2008
  2. 2. From the beetle to the tree, 'Shellac' embarks on a remarkable process before it is purified for commercial use. The Laccifer Lacca (Lac Beetle) is a scale insect from the cohiael family. Measuring just 5mm in length when fully grown, it resides on trees in India and southern Asia, such as the Ficus, Palas, Kusum and Ber tree's. © Copyright 2008
  3. 3. This amazing process requires the precise efforts of man, animals and nature to perfect. © Copyright 2008
  4. 4. Other uses of Shellac Most commonly known as a wood finish, Shellac's most fascinating uses of are in everyday products. Because of its specific characteristics, it has a wide variety of uses, most of which continue to this day. Although it is often a food ingredient, it is commonly know in the food industry as 'confectioners glaze.' Have you ever wondered how M & M's don't melt in your hand but in your mouth. It's the same insect excretions as time release pharmaceutical pills. the top four uses for the dry shellac flakes are pharmaceutical, confectionery, hats, and food coatings. Confectionery Vinyl records Shellac is used to provide protective candy coatings or glazes on candies like M & M's, ensuring the chocolate When the music industry exploded in the coated peanuts melt in your mouth and not your hand. 1970's, demand for shellac was twice the It is approved by the FDA as a food safe coating. amount of supply. This lead the the industry looking for other suitable materials. Hats Shellac is used to stiffen felt used to make hats. Food Coatings Pharmaceutical Due to its FDA approval, shellac is used Shellac is used to coat enteric pills so that they do to coat apples and other fruits. not dissolve in the stomach, but in the lower intestine,allowing them to act as a quot;time releasequot; medication. Electrical Electrical Shellac mixed with marble dust is used by lamp manufacturers to glue the metal base Shellac mixed with marble dust is used by lamp to glass incandescent bulbs. manufacturers to glue the metal base to glass incandescent bulbs. Everything else Other uses for shellac are in the manufacture of Wood finish grinding wheels (it allows the abrasive particles to break off at the low heat generated by the grinding Shellac is a beautiful wood finish and has process, thus exposing new, fresh abrasive characteristics like no other finish. Although it is the particles), leather finishing and painting (shellac most difficult to apply. pigmented with white titanium dioxide is widely used by painters as a stain sealer, wallboard primer, © Copyright 2008 and knot and sap sealer on wood).
  5. 5. History and future Shellac was confined to the Far East until traders introduced it to Europe in the 1700's, it wasn't until the 18th century that the technique was refined by the French. Survival of an art quot;French polishing'' was the industry standard in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, pushed aside by the efficient advantage of modern methods in the industrial revolution. Lacquers and spray systems replaced the original French polish finish, it is unpractical for mass furniture production due to the labor intensive process of application. As the desire for antiques was not idle, neither is the need for them to be appropriately restored. Which in many sense has kept the trade alive. © Copyright 2008
  6. 6. To purchase full eBook, please visit: Thank you for supporting new age art & culture. © Copyright 2008