I am still desperately searching for a way to lacquer brass
serving utensils. A suggestion was made to look into powder
coating, but an acquaintance told me that that is very thick
looking. I checked with Rio and they said to absolutely NOT use
their lacquer product. I also tried Woodworker's Supply since they
have finishes for wood implements, however, they said that they
don't have anything appropriate. Does anybody have any other ideas
I might follow up on. Thanks . Linda firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Linda! You can easily make your own food-safe “spirit varnish” for
brass, wood, etc. - by solving 100 grams of Gum Mastic in 400
milliliters of pure ethyl alcohol. (Gum Mastic grows only on the
island of Chios, in Greece. It was the world’s first chewing gum,
one of the world’s first types of incense, and it is still used as a
spice in many varieties of Middle Eastern cuisine. Mastic, solved in
turpentine, was the preferred varnish for wooden yachts, until its
price became prohibitive. Until quite recently, turp-solved Mastic
was also preferred over Dammar as a protective varnish for oil
The best way to find Gum Mastic is to search the Web for Lebanese
(or other Middle Eastern) cooking supply houses. A suitable alcohol
for your purpose is “EverClear” brand. (Everclear is 180 proof, so
don’t even think about taking a sip while you work! …and keep
it away from open flame!)
Recipe for Spirit Varnish:
Pour 400 milliliters of “Everclear” into a quart Mason jar. Wrap
100 grams of Mastic “tears” inside several layers of cheesecloth -
then tie the cloth into a tight bundle with white cotton thread.
Drop the bundle of Mastic into the alcohol, and close the lid of the
Mason jar with an airtight cap.
Allow three days, at room temperature, for the Mastic to dissolve.
Apply multiple coats of the finished laquer to your serving utensils
by repeatedly submerging the utensils in the laquer and allowing
them to dry thoroughly between applications.
The dried coating is surprisingly resistant to water. (Of course,
it’s no more heat resistant than any other brass laquer; but it has
the advantages of being completely non-toxic, and quite easy to
reapply later on in the life of the utensil.)
Hope this helps!