Gum copal, also known as manila copal, is a resin produced by the sap of the forest tree. Its properties of water resistance, solubility in alcohols, ability to give glossy finishing and superior binding abilities makes it an important source of raw materials for the production of varnishes, adhesives, paints and perfumes.
It is known as Sundras, Chandras and Karfa in different parts of our country.
Gum copal has had a extensively used in both past and present times. Mainly used as incense by ancient civilizations, it also found use as an early form of glue, and traditional medicine for cases such as dysentery, stomach pains, dizziness and fright. It was often used in religious occasions, too, in the form of sacrifices to deities (typically designating the copal as food for the gods).
Today, gum copal is generally used as incense. It is also used as a varnish or waterproofing material (when it is heated with certain oils, it becomes nearly transparent). It also can be used as an ingredient in adhesives, perfumes, printing ink, paints and films. Gum copal is sold primarily two ways. The first way is as powder, which is usually mixed with turpentine to make varnish. The other way is as the natural "rocks" which can then be used in many different ways.