After experiencing several years of weather-related shortages of the
raw material used to make shellac, supplies are making a comeback, and Rockler Woodworking and
Hardware is announcing the addition of three new varieties of Liberon Shellac Flakes to its selection
of finishing products.
The Liberon Shellac Flakes are available in Garnet, Lemon and Blonde Dewaxed varieties and come
in 250-gram packs. Typically, the flakes are dissolved for 24 hours in methylated spirits (sold separately)
and then brushed or sprayed onto wood surfaces for a durable, high-gloss finish.
Woodworkers have long valued the adaptability and warm, rich look of shellac. It's fast-drying, easily
repairable and non-toxic. (It's even used as a coating on pills to make them easier to swallow and as
a "confectioner's glaze" on candy.)
But shellac flakes have been in short supply for the past several
years. Drier than normal weather patterns in parts of south Asia affected populations of the insect
that produces seedlac, the raw material for shellac. Recently, however, seedlac production has
rebounded, increasing availability.
Shellac starts out as a crusty protective coating secreted on branches by the tiny lac bug (Laccifer
lacca), which infests certain trees in India and Thailand. The coated branches are harvested, and the
seedlac is scraped off and processed.
Raw seedlac naturally contains dyes, some of which are removed as the material is washed. But
some dyes remain, and their color varies with the type of tree, the geographical area and even the
time of year when the seedlac is harvested. These variations produce the different colors of shellac.
Raw seedlac also contains wax and bits of bark, twig wood and insect remains left over from
scraping. To remove these impurities, the seedlac is melted or dissolved in alcohol and strained.
It might then be filtered to lighten its color or undergo a process to remove the wax. The purified resin is dripped onto a sheet to cool into "buttons" or
is stretched or rolled into sheets, which dry and are
broken into flakes. The wax-free "dewaxed" shellac
works well for sealing stains, odors and knots and can
be used under other finishes.
Packs of the Garnet (47802) and Lemon (44204) Liberon
Shellac Flakes retail for $24.99 each, and Blonde
Dewaxed (44864) for $36.99. All can be purchased at
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware stores nationwide,
Rockler independent resellers, Rockler.com or from
the Rockler catalog. For store locations or a free catalog,
please visit www.rockler.com or call 1-877-ROCKLER.
47802 – Liberon Garnet Shellac Flakes
44204 – Liberon Lemon Shellac Flakes
44864 – Liberon Blonde Dewaxed Shellac Flakes