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Using crushed egg shells in laquer?


Dear All,

Am on holiday in Vietnam and I noticed many more lacquer items with
the pattern/surface of crushed egg shells embedded in lacquer,
usually black but sometimes dark brown. They used this a few years
ago sometimes but have stepped up the amount its used now, wrong
time to get interested, I know. But always like to learn new ways to
express ideas. Does anyone know what kind of lacquer it is? Or if
its the traditional kind from trees meaning poisonous and hard to get
out side Japan, Korea or Vietnam? Any info will be very greatly
appreciated. Remember I do not live in N.America so places or stores
names from there aren’t going to be available to me. I will try to
get some here but as always trade/art secrets are just that, well
kept secrets.

Sharron in lovely green, stormy Saigon by the river watching the slow
boats drift up and down carrying everything from sand to piles of
containers for ships.


You are describing a crackle finish done in plain old lacquer made of
shell or tree resins ( actually shellac is an insect based coating
hence the name “shell- lacquer” or shellac) You can do the research
on "how- to " for yourself as it is available on-line and in many
books Oppi Untracht’s, “* Metal Techniques for Craftsmen*”, for
instance is the first place to look. It is also on MAKE magazine’s
website and a few others. It is basically building up layers of
lacquer quite thick (about 24 are common) and then adding a redily
available crackle glaze to the topmost of the layers on what ever
substrate you wish (goold leaf on silver, silver leaf on gold, any
opf the above on wood, etc.) then applying more lacquer to finish it
off smoothly. It can be done on metals eaasily as long as the metal
youo are starting with is clean and oil free. I always tell students
not to use brass brushes however this is one time when a brass or
stainless brush is OK, although 3m makes “scotch brite” pads in
their creative arts division in a number of grits, (anything below
400 is) appropriate for prepaing your substrate. You can buy a small
bottle of crackle glaze at any x-mart in the crafts section by the
varnishes and acrylic paints. It is clearly labeled "crackle glaze"
and is under 3 bucks for the amount you would need to experiment
with. It draws the lacquer away from the base coats to give the
appearance of “crushed eggshell”…I presume that is what you are
after… I hope you get a chance to visit Saigon,as well as touring
rural Viet Nam…It is truly a beautiful place…I spent way too much
time there in the 60’s! but after revisiting it in the past 10 years,
I fell in love again with the place and the people, and being a New
Orleanian - the French Influenced food! Enjoy…rer