Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Lacquer and Enamel

Lacquer vs Enamel

Lacquer and enamel? What can separate these two items from each other? Do they have major differences? What are their distinct uses? Where did each substance originate?

Lacquer and enamel are product materials that are utilized to enhance the appearance of an object. It is also used to strengthen the surface material of a certain object. That is just to give you a preview.

Lacquer is a colorless varnish that is commonly applied to wood. It is a varnish that dries up in the air. Once used, it is capable of producing a very hard and glossy output to the material it was applied to. It can be further polished by using industry tools to give a very high glowing output as per the specifications required by the product manufacturer.

Enamel, on the other hand, is also a colorless or opaque coating that is used to coat certain objects made up of metal and glass for protection. It is a coating that cannot be dried through the air. Thus, it is baked at a very high temperature so that the coating will attach itself to the object. The final product is a hard and shiny surface.

“Lacquer” came from the Portuguese word “lac” which is a resin. This resin was extracted from insects. Lacquers vary by the substances it was extracted from. It is said to be used 10,000 years ago in China from the archeological artifacts that were excavated. In the 1920’s, nitrocellulose lacquers were made for the market. The substance that was used to make it came from cotton by the process of nitration. These were greatly used in wooden furniture and musical instruments. In the 1950’s, acrylic lacquer was introduced in the market. It was obtained from acrylic acid. These are primarily used on cars.

Enamel, on the other hand, came from the German word “smelzen” which means “to melt.” A powder is usually used plus the method of firing. The temperature should be at a very, very hot rate from 750 to 850 degrees Celsius. This substance was utilized as early as when the Egyptians ruled. They used it for their jewelry, pottery, and stone ornaments. What’s great about enamel is that it’s scratch resistant, hard, durable, fireproof, and very smooth. It can also be easily cleaned. The disadvantage of it compared to lacquer is that it takes too long to dry up.


1.Lacquer is mostly used on metals and wood while enamel is mostly used on glass and porcelain.
2.Lacquer has a very fast drying time compared to enamel.
3.Lacquer was used during the Chinese ruling 10,000 years ago while enamel was used as early as when the Egyptians ruled.

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