Axe and adz

By Joseph A. McGeough

The axe and adz are similar enough to be considered together. This is especially the case with ancient tools that were small and ineffective because they were made of brittle stone or had unsatisfactory hafting. The difference between the tools lies in the relation of the cutting edge to the handle. In the axe the cutting edge and handle are parallel, whereas in the adz they stand at right angles. The axe and some adzes chop diagonally across the grain of the wood, but the developed adz, with its long handle, cuts with the grain, and the nature of the chips is quite different. The axe is used for felling or cutting through, whereas the adz is used for smoothing and levelling, although some forms were developed to scoop out gutters or to dig out logs to make canoes. The adz was often shorter handled than the axe and, because of this, was essentially a chipping tool rather than the shaving tool it became when the handle was lengthened. The great problem of both tools is satisfactory hafting; the shock impact between the tool head and handle threatens any type of connection, however ingenious.

The Celt, a smooth chisel-shaped tool head that formed either an axe or adz, dates from the invention of agriculture and the domestication of animals. The earliest true axe heads, made of fine-grained rock with ground edges, are of Swedish provenance and date from about 6000 BCE. Even earlier, self-handled axes, made of reindeer antler, were used. The brow tine, an antler branch running nearly at right angles to the main stem (beam), was sharpened, giving a small axe with a haft of about 20 cm (8 inches). By sharpening the tine, the other way, a tiny adz was created. Some of these small bone implements have survived as the Lyngby tools, named from a Danish site of perhaps 8000 BCE.

A subsequent design socketed a stone blade in a short length of antler that was perforated for a handle. This Maglemosian style, from a Danish site of about 6000 BCE, was a popular model for several thousand years despite its narrow cutting edge and length of about 50 cm (20 inches).

The desire for a better feel or a longer cutting edge, or perhaps the shortage of antlers, led to a great variety of haftings. A common arrangement involved lashing heavy Celts to knee-shaft handles made from branched tree sections. To permit the use of larger Celts, the stone was sometimes fitted into a wooden handle, but this created the danger that the handle would fail due to the weakening hole. Heavy club like handles with ample strength at the hole gave the tool an unfavourable balance.

Surviving examples of Celts of soft stone are believed to have been restricted to non-woodworking axes, used for killing game or perhaps for certain ritual purposes. Hard-stone axes with shaft holes, often obvious imitations of bronze axes, are associated with the Bronze Age. They are among the supreme examples of stone working and are products of the pecking technique. From their delicacy it may be inferred that these axes were not for the working of wood.

A New Addition to the site

As if my life wasn’t busy enough, I’ve added more free content to the site by adding free plans. I have drawn and redrawn these plans myself so I know they are accurate. Many of times I have worked from other people’s plans and I was very disappointed come assembly time. This has inspired me to draw and redraw my own because only then will I know that they’re right.

Also, I worked out how to link each page, meaning there is no stupid dropdown menu displaying all the way down the page to the middle of the earth. I will fix those links at some other time. All you do is click the thumbnail picture and it will take you to the blueprint’s page and download from there. Remember, all this is FREE. So why is it free? Because I’m such a loveable guy or I have too much time on my hand which believe me I don’t so I must be a loveable guy. 🙂

If by any chance you find an error, then let me know. One last thing don’t expect too much at once, I will fill it up over time and over many years if I’m still around and please I don’t accept requests.

Sharpening a Plane Blade in 32 sec

Those of you who regularly read my blog and have read my magazines know where I stand on modern day thick A2 plane blades. The drudgery of sharpening compared to the thin O1 Stanley is a real chore. Having said that since introducing the blades to the grinder that drudgery has flown out the window. But last night I stumbled upon this video and took the speed of sharpening by hand to the next level. Having already tried it out this morning I can tell you it works. However, after a period of time you must go back to the grinder and re-establish that primary bevel and you’ll see why as you watch the entire video. I wonder if you’ll pick it up. As the title reads it shouldn’t take you any longer to get to sharp than 32 seconds. Enjoy

Hammers and hammer like tools

By Joseph A. McGeough

Hammer is used here in a general sense to cover the wide variety of striking tools distinguished by other names, such as pounder, beetle, mallet, maul, pestle, sledge, and others. The best known of the tools that go by the name hammer is the carpenter’s claw type, but there are many others, such as riveting, boilermaker’s, bricklayer’s, blacksmith’s, machinist’s ball peen and cross peen, stone (or spalling), prospecting, and tack hammers. Each has a particular reason for its form. Such specialization was evident under the Romans, and a craftsperson of the Middle Ages wrote in 1100 CE of hammers having “large, medium and small” weight, with further variations of “long and slender” being coupled with a variety of faces.

Since a pounder, or hammer stone, was the first tool to be used, it may also have been the first to be fitted with a handle to increase the blow. Although some craftspersons of the soft metals still favoured the handheld stone, presumably for its better “feel,” hafting was an enormous technological advance. Yet it created a problem of major proportions that still persists—the joint between the handle and the head must carry shock loads of high intensity, a situation even more complicated with the axe than the hammer because the axe may be subjected to twisting on becoming wedged in a cut. The most satisfactory solution for metal heads is to create a shaft hole in the tool head; it is a poor solution for a stone tool because it weakens the head, although it was tried, especially in stone imitations of bronze axe heads.

In hammer hafting, it is possible to distinguish between long handles that allow tools to be swung to give them speed and those simpler handles by which a tool such as a pavement tamper may be picked up so that it can be dropped. A long handle, even if not needed for dynamic effect (as in a tool used only for light blows), makes the tool easier to control and generally reduces operator fatigue.

The oldest form of hafted hammer, probably the miner’s maul of Neolithic date, had a conical or ovoid stone head with a circumferential groove at mid height; many such rilled stones have been found in flint, copper, and salt mines and elsewhere, though very few handles have survived. Such a stone could be bound to a short section of sapling with a branch coming off at an angle, twisted fibres or sinew serving as the ties. With such a side-mounted head it is likely that the handle’s principal function was to lift and guide the head so that it might do its work by simply dropping, the binding being too weak to carry much of the extra shock produced by swinging the tool. Better shock resistance could be attained by bending a long flexible branch around the groove in the stone and securing it with lashings.

Hammers and pounders of material other than stone were widely used; essentially club like, they may be called self-handled. Clubs of hardwood might have one end thinned for grasping, or a mallet-like tool could be made from a short section of log with a projecting branch to serve as a handle. Similar mallets were made by piercing a short piece of wood and fitting a handle to it; this also gave an end-grain strike and made it more durable than a simple club. Antlers modified by trimming off tines are known from the Palaeolithic Period. Such “soft” hammers were used for striking chisels of stone to prevent the destruction of the more valuable tool. Such tools, especially the wooden mallet, were used on metal chisels as well, particularly by stonecutters, because a very heavy blow on a light tool does not necessarily remove more stone than a moderate blow. There is a good deal of evidence that bone, antler, and flint wedges were used to split wood; here the use of a soft hammer would have been imperative.

The hammer as it is best known today—i.e., as a tool for nailing, riveting, and smithing—originated in the Metal Age with the inventions of nails, rivets, and jewellery. For beating lumps of metal into strips and sheet, heavy and compact hammers with flat faces were needed. These, in lighter form, were suited to riveting and driving nails and wooden pegs.

In the beginning, hafting of metal hammers followed the stone-tool tradition. The first step away from lashing came with casting a socket opposite the head into which the short end of an L-shaped wooden handle was fitted and further supported by lashings. Such a tool was necessarily light. Ultimately the idea of piercing the head with a shaft hole for a handle occurred to the Europeans in the Iron Age. This was several hundred years after it had become common practice among the bronze workers of the Middle East. The shaft hole, although posing fastening problems that still exist, allowed heavy hammers—mauls and sledges—to be made for smithing iron.

The familiar claw hammer that can pull bent nails dates from Roman times in a well-proportioned form, for the expensive handmade nails of square or rectangular cross section did not drive easily. Aside from the claw hammer, other special forms of the peen—the end opposite the flat face—were developed. Hemispherical, round-edged, and wedge like shapes helped the metalworker stretch and bend metal or the mason to chip or break stone or bricks. An especially important hammer was the file maker’s; equipped with two chisel-like heads, it was used to score flat pieces of iron (file blanks) that were subsequently hardened by heating and quenching.

Percussive Tools

By Joseph A. McGeough

Several tools involve a violent propulsion to deliver a telling blow. These have been named percussive tools, and their principal representatives are the axe and hammer. Under these two names are found an immense number of variations. The percussive group may also be called dynamic because of the swift motion and the large short-term forces they develop. This means that mass and velocity and, hence, kinetic energy and momentum are factors related to the force generated or transmitted. The distribution of weight between the head and handle and the mechanical properties of the head (i.e., its suitability for a cutting edge or its lack of elasticity) must also be recognized in the design of a percussive tool. Obviously, these various influences were not formally considered during the age long trial-and-error evolution of a now successful tool, but recognition of them aids in identifying the evolutionary stages of the tool.

Percussive tools generally have handles that allow them to be swung; that is, their rapid motion endows them with kinetic energy. The attainable energy of a blow depends upon a number of factors, including the weight of the tool head, the angle through which it is swung while gaining speed, the radius of the swing (handle length plus part or all of the arm length), and the muscle behind it all. There is a permissible energy level for a given task and tool, set by either the nature of the task or the material of the tool. Thus, a blacksmith flattening a 1-inch (2.54-cm) iron bar needs a heavy, fairly long-handled hammer, whereas a light and short-handled hammer, used with wrist action, is appropriate for forging a small soft gold wire. A hafted flint axe is an effective tool, but it may be destroyed if swung too hard or if twisted while in the cut. Bronze and steel axes can, and do, take longer handles than the stone axe and, being of tougher material, will not break under use that would fracture a stone head.

The physics of percussive tools takes into consideration the centre of gravity and what is technically called the centre of percussion—i.e., a unique point associated with a rotation, in this case the arc through which the tool is swung before delivering its blow and coming to rest. The tool’s centre of gravity is readily found because it is the balance point, or location along the handle at which the tool can be picked up loosely and still remain in the horizontal position. The centre of percussion is the ideal point at which striking should occur on the tool head to minimize the sting of the handle in the operator’s hand as well as to deliver a blow with maximum force; this point is farther out than the centre of gravity and should be as close to the centre of the head as possible. This last condition is best met with a light handle and heavy tool head, which places the centre of gravity close to the head and the centre of percussion in an optimum location in the cutting edge.

It is apparent that the sheer weight of the head is of paramount importance in promoting a proper balance, or hang, to the tool. On this basis alone, the shift from stone axe heads to metal was a step in the proper direction because metal heads of the same size as those of stone are about three times as heavy. With the heavier head, the centre of gravity of the hafted tool is closer to the head, and the centre of percussion is more likely to be properly located.

With the mallet and chisel still other interrelations are involved. When working stone, a brittle material that responds to a sharp tool point by breaking into small chips, the sculptor strikes many light blows to remove material. As a consequence, mallets have short handles and the amplitude of swing is small, allowing a succession of rapid blows without undue fatigue. To provide energy and momentum, the mallet head is heavy. Being made of wood, it does not rebound in the manner of a metal head but stays on the chisel, which transmits the blow to the cutting edge and focuses it into a small area of stone to be chipped off. The net effect of the proper combination of all elements—the properties of wood, chisel, and stone, the weight of the head (perhaps even heightened by a lead-filled cavity), and the short handle—is to waste the least energy. The wooden head is of course expendable, particularly if it is of a one-piece club like construction, for it becomes badly battered from contact with the metal chisel. A more refined mallet consists of a separate head and handle, the head having a working face of end-grain wood.

Working metal with a chisel requires that heavy blows be struck to enable the chisel to dig into the metal and lift out a chip. A steel hammer with a hardened face is used, and in this operation it is the soft end of the chisel that is battered and needs periodic dressing.

I have misled you unintentionally

On January 19, 2021, I posted an article on how to fix an out of true chuck. Unfortunately, I was wrong and I wish to correct that. I stumbled across this mistake today when I was building myself a drying rack. My bit became extremely wobbly and at first I thought I didn’t put it in right so I took it out and put it back in and the same wobble was still there. After careful examination, I noticed one jaw wasn’t gripping the bit. So, I pulled the chuck apart, checked the springs and looked for any debris that might be sticking the jaw. After I was satisfied all was good, I put the chuck back together again and gave it a test whirl and WAMMY the same jaw was getting stuck. Once more I pulled it apart and looked for the culprit and there, it was staring right back at me or should I say screaming “you moron you put me upside down.

PLEASE IGNORE THE TICK.

If you look at the inset of whatever that cylindrical object is called, you will notice that it’s not designed to hold the bit in as I stupidly thought, but it was designed to ride on the shaft centered so it doesn’t slip or move to one side as it did to me. This bit moves the jaws in and out of the chuck. So the correct way to install this bit is below.

IGNORE THE CROSS

Also to avoid damaging this bit you never push the drill bit all the way so it bottoms out onto the cylindrical bit, to avoid damaging it over time which looking at this photo there may be a small indentation.

So, now that it’s fixed, is there a wobble? Not a huge one like there was, and not any less than there always were. I was at the flea market last Sunday and there’s only one seller in the entire market that sells only vintage hand tools. I checked three 2A hand drills and a smaller one I wanted and every one of them had the same amount of wobble as mine. Take a modern day drill in comparison and you will immediately notice the difference. The modern drill spins, true. I wasn’t around when these hand drills were built new to know whether they were built with the wobble. I remember reading somewhere that the chap who designed the 2A said that out of all the hand drills they’ve designed and built, the 2A is the best. With that in mind I can’t lay any blame on the manufacturers, nor can I say over time this buggered up. What I know is that all the hand drills I’ve tested at the markets perform the same as mine, and that is extremely annoying when I’m trying to be precise when working on something delicate. If I get a chance to try out a modern day chuck that fits this drill, I would like to see if this would zero out the wobble and make it perform like a modern day quality drill.

I’m so used to working with it, it would feel alien to use a modern cordless. If the opportunity arises that I find a non-used version of the 2A or a toolmaker decides they will make one and it doesn’t cost $1000 as what’s becoming the trend nowadays because of the “unplugged” hype, coupled with the cost of production, labour etc etc, I will buy one. Lee Valley has introduced a hand drill that’s perfect for those who work on boxes, but nothing larger.

Out of the three hand braces I have 8, 10 and 12″ the 12 is cactus, it will not spin true whilst thankfully the other two do. If you look closely in videos of people using a brace, you will see many as they’re boring that the bit isn’t turning true. This will cause the hole you’re boring to be slightly larger than the bit. This is the dilemma you face with vintage tools, they’re old and a lot of them are out of their use by date. We can only do the best we can through the limits we’ve imposed upon ourselves through our love for hand tool woodworking.

I want to apologise for making that earlier error which mislead you.

Shellac as a sealer?

BY BOB FLEXNER

You’ll hear shellac tossed around a lot as the “best” sealer, mostly in woodworking magazines targeting amateurs. I’ve come across many professional finishers, however, who believe they should be using shellac rather than the finish itself, a sanding sealer, vinyl sealer or a catalyzed sealer for a first coat.

With only a few exceptions, there’s no reason for anyone to use shellac under another finish. Shellac has been totally overhyped as a sealer. Here’s the story.

History

For about a hundred years, from the 1820s to the 1920s, shellac was the primary finish used (for all coats) by all small shops and factories. In the 1920s shellac was replaced in factories by lacquer for two primary reasons: shellac resin (from bug secretions) is a commodity product that was going up in price as demand increased, while lacquer was going down in price; and lacquer thinner (a blend of solvents) makes lacquer much more versatile in different weather conditions.

Shellac continued to be used by painters and floor finishers working inside buildings and by amateurs until the 1960s. Then three things happened that almost totally ended shellac being thought of as a complete finish:

  • Oil-based polyurethane became available. It was originally marketed as a “no-wax” floor finish, meaning that it was durable enough to resist scratches without being waxed (as was necessary with shellac). Through the years, polyurethane became the most popular wiped and brushed finish for everything.
  • Homer Formby began marketing wiping varnish (varnish thinned about half with mineral spirits) as “tung oil” through TV infomercials and shopping-mall and antique-club appearances. He did a masterful job, creating a large market for his finish and for other brands as well.
  • Woodworking magazines began promoting Danish oil (a blend of linseed oil and varnish) as an easy-to-use finish that protected the wood “from the inside.” The finish became very popular with amateur — and some professional — woodworkers.

Shellac is much more difficult to use (see below) than these three finishes, so it almost disappeared as a finish except in a few niche markets such as French polishing and handmade reproductions of antique furniture.

Companies supplying ready-to-use shellac disappeared one after another until only Zinsser remained. Seeing its market disappearing, Zinsser (Bulls Eye), with the help of some woodworking writers, turned shellac into a sealer, even introducing a dewaxed variety (SealCoat) that was marketed for use under polyurethane.

But here we return to the central question: Why not use polyurethane itself as the sealer? It “seals” the wood perfectly well. Why use shellac under several coats of polyurethane — or under any other finish? The answer is to solve a problem.

Shellac has wonderful blocking properties, better than any other finish. It blocks silicone contamination, which causes fish eye, odors (for example, from smoke or animal urine), and residual wax extremely well.

Shellac also blocks the resin from pine knots and very oily exotic woods, which can slow the drying of lacquer and varnish significantly.

Image placeholder title

But notice that the first three situations are all refinishing problems, not new-wood problems, and the last is rare for professional finishers.

So for almost all new-wood situations, we come back to asking why use shellac at all?

Types of shellac

Not only is there no benefit to using shellac as a sealer in most situations, there are good reasons not to use it. Shellac is a difficult finish (or sealer) to use.

The first reason is the confused naming. Before you even get started, you have to learn the different types of shellac.

In liquid form there are clear (actually pale yellow) and amber shellacs. Until about 20 years ago, when Zinsser changed the names for marketing purposes, these were labeled “white” and “orange.” “Who wants orange furniture?” the Zinsser rep explained to me to justify the name change.

There’s also dewaxed shellac, which is more expensive. Should you be using that? Or will the shellac with its natural wax still included work just as well?

In flake form, which you dissolve yourself in denatured alcohol, there are many more varieties: blonde, superblonde, lemon-yellow, orange, garnet, button, ruby, extra dark and more. These names all refer to the color, ranging from pale yellow to very dark orange.

A second issue is the way solids content is measured. It’s not the standard percentage method used for all other finishes. It’s “pound cut” — the number of pounds of shellac resin dissolved in one gallon of alcohol.

Clear and amber liquid shellacs are three-pound cut. Dewaxed SealCoat is two-pound cut, which is no longer listed on the label. Though conversion to percent solids is possible (so you can predict the total build of your finish), this is another difficulty you have to overcome.

A third issue is shelf life. Once shellac is dissolved in alcohol, it begins deteriorating (more rapidly in hot temperatures). It takes longer to dry and it doesn’t dry as hard. After the shellac has deteriorated a few years in the can, the finish you apply over it may wrinkle.

Shelf life is not a problem if you dissolve your own from flakes (an extra step) because you know when you did this. But it is a problem if you buy already-dissolved shellac. Zinsser has stopped putting the date of manufacture on its cans. So you can’t know how well the shellac you’re using will perform without calling and finding someone who can translate the stamped lot number. You don’t know how long the shellac has been sitting on a store shelf or in a warehouse.

A fourth issue is blushing. You can control blushing with products that thin with lacquer thinner. Just add some retarder. It’s not so easy with shellac because there aren’t retarders available.

A fifth issue is ridging. Unless you thin shellac a good deal, it has a tendency to ridge at the edge of brush strokes and orange peel when sprayed.

If all this isn’t enough to make you question the wisdom of using shellac as a sealer when you don’t have one of the problems mentioned, consider that shellac is a relatively difficult finish to sand. It gums up sandpaper unless applied very thin.

Bottom line

You might conclude from this discussion that I don’t like shellac. This would be wrong. I like shellac a lot.

But my background is refinishing. Shellac is a wonderful tool for solving refinishing problems. It’s also great as a finish when you want to replace an original 19th century finish with the same thing.

But there’s rarely a reason to use shellac in a factory or cabinet shop making cabinets and other objects out of new wood.

Bob Flexner is author of “Understanding Wood Finishing” and “Flexner on Finishing.”

This article originally appeared in the September 2012 issue.

A Gift for Mum

This is a new and improved version my business card holder/ jewellery box. I really wanted that 18th century look and I think I came close. Anyway it’s going to be a gift for my mum which I know she will give me a hard time over accepting it because she thinks everytime I make her something she’s denying me an income. You can’t beat a mother’s love.

Iron and Steel Tools

By Joseph A. McGeough

Iron technology was derived from the known art of reducing copper and bronze. The principal requirement was a furnace capable of maintaining a reducing atmosphere—i.e., one in which a high temperature could be maintained from a good draft of air. The furnace had to be tall enough to allow the iron to drop from the smelting zone and form a slaggy lump, usually called a bloom.

After aluminium, iron is the most abundant metal, constituting about 5 percent of Earth’s crust. Copper is in short supply, having a presence of only 0.01 percent. Iron ore suitable for simple smelting was widely distributed in the form of surface deposits that could be scraped up without elaborate mining procedures.

The limitations imposed by the dearth of metals in the Bronze Age were now lifted; new tools and implements became possible, and their numbers could increase until even the poorer classes would have access to metal tools. The iron of antiquity was wrought iron, a malleable and weldable material whose toughness was enhanced by forging. Brittle cast iron, versatile and widely used in modern industry, was unknown to the ancients, and it would have been of no value for their edged tools and implements. The earliest history of smelted iron is obscure, with the first scanty evidence of man-made iron dating from about 2500 BCE in the Middle East. A thousand years later the abundance of ores led to the displacement of copper and bronze by iron in the Hittite empire.

During most of its history, iron was not recovered in a molten state but was reduced to a spongy aggregate of iron and slag formed at a temperature well below the melting point of pure iron (1,535 °C, or 2,795 °F). This plastic metallic sponge was consolidated by hammering to squeeze out slag and weld the iron particles into a compact and ductile mass; thus it was called wrought iron, essentially pure iron with remnants of unexpelled slag coating the iron particles. Wrought iron contains so little carbon that it does not harden usefully when cooled rapidly (quenched). When iron containing 0.4 to 1.25 percent carbon is heated to 950 °C (1,740 °F) and then plunged into water or oil, it is hardened.

By about 1200 BCE, when iron had become important in the Middle East, humans had learned how to create on wrought iron a steel surface, or case, that could be hardened by heating and quenching. This case was produced by the prolonged heating of wrought iron packed in a deep bed of glowing charcoal. The procedure worked because a surface of red-hot carbonless iron readily absorbs carbon from the carbon monoxide generated in the enveloping charcoal fire.

Knowledge of casting gathered from working with smelted copper and bronze did not apply to a metal whose shape could be changed only by hammering. Moreover, the malleability of iron is less than that of copper for the same temperatures, which means that the smith has to work harder to change the shape of the metal. Stone hammers gave way to hafted bronze hammers, iron itself coming into use later. The first anvils—for copper and bronze—were convenient flat stones; they were followed by increasingly larger cast-bronze models that in turn were superseded by rudimentary forms of the modern type, in which several pieces of iron are welded together. The earliest iron artefacts are of ruder appearance than the bronze articles that came before them.

A valuable property of wrought iron is the ease with which two or more pieces may be united by hammering while the metal is at a high temperature. Even at the production stage, small pieces of spongy iron were united into larger blooms. Hammer welding had been practiced before by goldsmiths and, in spite of the difficulties due to gassing, was even used for joining copper to make, for example, tape by welding together strips cut from plate. Welding became an essential production procedure. When iron tools had reached the end of a useful life, they could be reused by welding the scrap into a blank and starting over, a process akin to the melting of copper and bronze scrap to cast new tools.

Iron ordinarily has twice the flexibility of bronze and is much tougher, for a bar of iron can be bent back upon itself without fracturing, whereas a bronze bar (such as a sword blade) breaks after only a light bend (bronze blades repaired by casting new metals into the fractured sections are known). Bronze, in other words, is brittle when compared to iron, although copper is not. As the tin content of bronze rises, hardness increases, but ductility is lost. Most of the malleability is missing from cold bronze with 5 percent tin, and ductility becomes practically nil at a 20 percent tin content. The cutting edge of a hammered bronze tool is superior to that of a similarly treated iron tool, and it is corrosion resistant.

In the Early Iron Age, when the metal was still in scarce supply, local armament makers were the chief consumers of the new metal. Agricultural tools, needed for clearing forests and for cultivation, were the next iron tools to develop. Axes, picks, and hoes also were needed. Iron was smelted in the Middle East before 2500 BCE, but the Iron Age proper was 1,000 or more years in maturing. Its full development came with the discovery of hardening by carburization (addition of carbon) and heat treating, which led to superior edged tools of great toughness.

Shellac Origin and Manufacture

I saw this video when it first came out in 2010. I was completely blown away by it especially the part when he said 300,000 insects will to produce 1kg of shellac. I found the video again and highly recommend you watching it. It’s not very long unfortunately but there’s enough information to give you an understanding of how it’s produced. I hope you find it as informative and interesting as I have