Lacquer, synthetic

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A protective or decorative coating that dries by solvent evaporation to a hard, glossy film. Synthetic lacquers were originally composed of Cellulose nitrate mixed with a plasticizer (Camphor) and dissolved in a solvent (see Duco®). Later in the 1930s alkyd lacquers and alkyd modified cellulose nitrate lacquers were developed that provided a harder and more durable finish. Currently, many weather resistant lacquers are on the market that are based on acrylic, vinyl, alkyd, or Cellulose ester resins. Car lacquers, typically acrylic based systems, have occasionally been used by artists but are not recommended because their outdoor lifetime is 12-15 years (Mayer 1966).

See also Lacquer, Oriental.

Synonyms and Related Terms

synthetic lacquer; laque synthétique (Fr.); laca sintética (Port.)

Resources and Citations

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • ASTM, "Standard Terminology Relating to Paint, Varnish, Lacquer and Related Products", Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Section 6, Paints, Related Coatings and Aromatics, ASTM, D16, 7-Jan, Jul-96
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Tom Rowland, Noel Riley, A-Z Guide to Cleaning, Conserving and Repairing Antiques, Constable and Co., Ltd., London, 1981