Some of the many different colors of shellac
Shellac is a
resin secreted by the female
lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes (pictured) and dissolved in
ethanol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food
wood finish. Shellac functions as a tough natural
varnish. Shellac was once used in electrical applications as it possesses good
insulation qualities and it seals out moisture.
Phonograph and 78 rpm
gramophone records were made of it until they were replaced by
long-playing records from the 1950s onwards.
From the time it replaced oil and wax finishes in the 19th century, shellac was one of the dominant wood finishes in the western world until it was largely replaced by
nitrocellulose lacquer in the 1920s and 1930s.