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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:54 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Last year I went off on a bit of a french polishing binge - sometimes it's just a good idea to go and get a lesson or two than spend a lot of time trying to work it all out. So first I went to see Roy Cortnall Summerfield down it Lincoln. Next I went over to Tacoma to learn from the master - Eugene Clark. The plan is to write all this up over on TLB.

But the next part of the trip turned out to be very interesting - I went over to north India to visit one of the areas where shellac is cultivated and processed, and that's what the post is about this week.

Here it is:

http://www.theluthierblog.com/articles/shellac/

I took a few videos, including hand making of shellac flake. It's a fascinating process, an amazing product, but there's a lot more work goes into it's making than I imagined...


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 5:41 pm 
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Koa
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Interesting, but brother, I almost expected to see some hamsters on treadmills to generate electricity! Raw stick shellac ground..... and deposited straight on the floor. And hurry.... PLEASE give that woman a dust mask.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:18 pm 
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I am sure they are fully OSHA compliant.

Very interesting video and post.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:38 pm 
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Fascinating. I've supervised work in second world factories and man I am glad I was born in Canada.

One interesting statistic is that Canada (population 35 million) and India (population 1252 million) have the same gross domestic product (GPD). That puts the wealth disparity into focus for me.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 6:28 am 
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Wow....I've worked a lot in 3rd world factories and seen quite a few unsafe practices. But that place is a horror show. Just get it over with lady, stick your head right in those gears. That grinder looks about 100 years old...you'd think someone might have made a quick cover for it by now


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:02 am 
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I think Shellac was first imported into Europe as a source of dye. You can still buy it in the form of Lac dye. Stick Lac is becoming increasingly hard to source but it does contain more of the Reddish dye than found in cruder forms such as Seedlac. The raw forms seem to have an extremely long shelf life as I have some Siam seedlac that was bought over 25 years ago and it still dissolves and works just as it should. The more refined types (blondes) seem to start going off after 5 or 6 years if not specially stored. Button lacs seem to last better. Maybe it's the natural wax that acts as the preserve.

Those types of places have largely been unchanged since the turn of the century. . . and I'm not referring to the recent century change either!
Then again it wasn't that long ago that such dangerous unguarded machinery could be found in factories in the UK - 40 years or so. The world has changed a lot since then but it's largely the western world that have adopted much more rigorous safety practices.
It's obviously not always like that in places such as India. Don't forget that Shellac processing is a very traditional practice in that part of the world and traditional industries can be very slow to change.
On a better note I recently tried Shellac dissolved in Water. It wasn't worth the test but it was fun watching it dissolve! A little magic.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:28 am 
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Well, does anyone want to start a discussion on the best way to pore fill your lungs?

Alex

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These users thanked the author Alex Kleon for the post: Glenn_Aycock (Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:51 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:37 am 
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Michael.N. wrote:
The more refined types (blondes) seem to start going off after 5 or 6 years if not specially stored.

Raally?! Has that been your experience? From literature or just a known fact?

What would specially stored be?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:31 am 
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Both my experience and that of others. It eventually becomes harder to dissolve, slower to dry. It forms a gelatinous mass at the bottom of the jar. This doesn't seem to occur with the less refined grades.
The conclusion seems to be that if you can exclude oxygen it will considerably lengthen the shelf life of these types of Shellac.
The powdered White Shellac (known as Bone shellac) has a very short shelf life indeed, some 6 months. Which is why you very rarely see it in powdered form. It is sold in pre mixed liquid form though.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:49 am 
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pat macaluso wrote:
Michael.N. wrote:
The more refined types (blondes) seem to start going off after 5 or 6 years if not specially stored.

Raally?! Has that been your experience?


It's been my experience recently. About 4 to 5 year old blonde. Stored in my humidity controlled shop. Would not fully dissolve in Everclear at 1# cut after 3 days. I strained off the goop and tested on scrap. It seemed to work ok but of course I dumped it and bought some new product.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:14 am 
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Ok thanks guys! That's good to know. I had just assumed it was okay to sit around forever like hide glue.

Seems like they ought to sell it with a date then. I do rather appreciate that about tight bond, even though you have to know the secret code!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:51 am 
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More from my India trip:




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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:13 am 
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Nigel thanks for sharing your videos with us here.
Thanks also to the hard-working folks who harvest & prepare the wonderful gift that is Shellac.

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