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A little Love for the Tachardia Lacca Bug

Drawing of the insect Kerria lacca and its shellac tubes, by Harold Maxwell-Lefroy, 1909

It’s February, and Painting Friends, let’s send a little love to the Tachardia Lacca Bug. You may not see her as the prettiest bug out there, but I assure you, if you could choose any bug after the bumble bee to love on… this is the one. Then butterflies!

This my friends, is the one and only “shellac bug”. If you struggle with bleed through in your painted projects, this little bug is your Super Hero. William Zinsser was originally one of many shellac sellers at the turn of the last century and as time went on and technology changed, was the last man standing to continue to sell shellac. Now you can buy this amazing product from Zinsser under the Bullseye label.

So for those of us that paint old and refinished furniture, Shellac should be one of the next things to add to your painting toolkit after Country Chic Paint, if you haven't already.

Get the traditional amber in a can product. The shellac based sprays are probably good for many applications, but the traditional is the bang on best for the toughest bleed through problems you will come across. Because it is compatible with most other finishes, Shellac is used as a barrier or primer coat on wood to prevent the bleeding of resin or pigments into the final finish, or to prevent wood stain from blotching. And let me tell you it is amazing. Not only does it seal those nasty tannin bleed throughs that cause us to despair, but it also seals in all of those funky old timey smells we associate with old neglected furniture.

These highlights were taken from a booklet Zinsser produced in 1913 and has been reproduced 17 times. This booklet information was shared by The Natural Handyman at the link below. So whether this news bugs you, or leaves you bug-eyed in amazement, if you want to up your Paint Nerd Knowledge Status (that's a thing right?) click on the handyman link and marvel at this amazing critter. Incidentally, it is the female that we give our thanks to. How cool is that!

So, what I would suggest is this:

If you are painting any kind of old furniture and you have any doubt as to what is hidden in its history do this:

Clean it, shellac it, prime it, paint it, finish it and you will be sure to enjoy it.

You’re welcome :)

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