Lacquer, a transparent or colored varnish for covering articles of brass or wood, either for ornament or to preserve them from becoming tarnished. Shell lac is the basis of the varnish commonly employed, whence the coating is termed lacquer, and the process lacquering. Holtzapffel gives the following recipes for "hard-wood lacquer": 2 lbs. of shell lac to 1 gallon of alcohol, but without turpentine; or 1 lb. of seed lac and 1 lb. of white rosin, dissolved in 1 gallon of alcohol. Various recipes are given for the lacquer for brass; the simplest and best pale lacquer is made by dissolving, without applying heat and by agitating together for five or six hours, half a pound of best pale shell lac and a gallon of alcohol. After standing for some time the clearer portion may be decanted, or the whole filtered through paper, and afterward kept in a close bottle excluded from the light. To give a yellow tint, gamboge, turmeric, or Cape aloes may be added to the shell lac; and for a red, dragon's blood and annotto. The most convenient method of employing the colors is to make saturated solutions of them in alcohol, and to add suitable quantities of these to the pale lacquer. Solutions of turmeric, gamboge, and dragon's blood will be the most useful.
The turmeric gives a greenish yellow tint, and with the addition of a little gamboge gives the green color to the lacquer used for bronzed works.