The most fascinating uses of shellac have nothing to do with finishes. Because of its specific characteristics, it has a wide variety of uses, most of which continue to this day. According to the D.
MANOHARLAL (SHELLAC) PVT LTD Company, which is the largest manufacturer of shellac in this country, the top four uses for the dry shellac flakes are pharmaceutical, confectionery, hats, and food coatings, in order from highest to lowest. Protective coatings for wood ranks about number eight.
Shellac is used to coat enteric pills so that they do not dissolve in the stomach, but in the lower intestine, which alleviates upset stomachs. Its also used as a coating on pills to "time release" medication.
Shellac is used to provide protective candy coatings or glazes on candies like Reese's Pieces, because of its unique ability to provide a high gloss in relatively thin coatings (like a French Polish). It was used at one time on M&M's. It is approved by the FDA as a food safe coating when dissolved in pure ethanol (not denatured).
Shellac is used to stiffen felt used to make hats. It allows the makers to shape the felt into brims, bowl shapes, etc.
Food Coatings -
Because of its FDA approval, shellac is used to coat apples and other fruits to make them shinier.
Shellac mixed with marble dust is used by lamp manufacturers to glue the metal base to glass incandescent bulbs.
As the biggest Dewaxed Industry, we are able to load container
Of Shellac Wax. Shellac Wax can be used in replacement Of Carnuaba Wax & Candelilla Wax.
Shellac Wax can be used in consistency agent in Cosmetics, High Gloss Polishes, Lipsticks & for cosmetic industry.
Other Uses Of Shellac:
Other uses for shellac are in the manufacture of grinding wheels (it allows the abrasive particles to break off at the low heat generated by the grinding process, thus exposing new, fresh abrasive particles), leather finishing and painting (shellac pigmented with white titanium dioxide is widely used by painters as a stain sealer, wallboard primer, and knot and sap sealer on wood).
Other former uses for shellac are electrical insulators, as a glue (it bonds glass and metal surprisingly well), phonograph records (the old 78's were a mixture of shellac, fillers and lampblack), hair spray, no-rub floor polishes, and as a finish for bowling alleys (the weight of the ball dropping on the shellac surface did crack the finish).
The demise of shellac's many uses was brought about by the emergence of more durable synthetic resins such as Bakelite, cellulose nitrate, acrylics and urethanes. However, as mentioned above, it still finds a wide variety of applications in our society. It's interesting to note that many attempts in the early part of this century were made to duplicate the shellac resin. Despite the attempts by scientists to duplicate shellac synthetically, a little Indian bug still makes it best.
Making The Cut:
The ratio of dry shellac flakes dissolved in alcohol is known as the cut. It refers to the amount in pounds of dry shellac flakes dissolved in 1 gallon of alcohol. A 3 lb. cut would be 3 pounds of shellac dissolved in 1 gallon of alcohol. A 1 lb. cut would be 1 pound of shellac dissolved in a gallon an so on. Since a gallon is a large amount for
most finishing tasks, you can factor down the ration to suit your needs. For example ¼ lb flakes dissolved in 1 pint of alcohol will yield a 2 lb. cut. Its best to weigh the shellac flakes small inexpensive food portion scales calibrated in ounces are available at
house ware supply stores.
Implications of Shellac:
Wood Treatment (primers, high gloss and mat polishes); Electrics (insulators); Printing inks, inks and china inks; Cosmetics (binder for mascara, shampoo, film former for hairspray, micro incapsulation of fragrances); Food
(fruit coatings, parting and glazing agent for confectionary and chocolates); Pharma (tablet coating); Abrasives (binder for grinding wheels); Dental; Hat manufacturing (for stiffening); Conditioning for wooden floors; Leather finishes; Pyrotechnics; Coating of seeds; Micro incapsulation of dyestuffs.