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Medieval Finishes Redux

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  • Siegfried
    So, I know that we ve talked, at length, about medieval finishes on this list in the past. But I d like to bring the topic back up, as we have new/different
    Message 1 of 18 , Oct 11, 2010
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      So, I know that we've talked, at length, about medieval finishes on this
      list in the past. But I'd like to bring the topic back up, as we have
      new/different people on the list, and I myself am starting to have my
      memory 'fade' a bit ;)

      Plus I have some different directions I'd like to take it.

      ----------------

      THE PAST:

      In the past, general discussions about 'medieval finishes' have revolved
      around things that they definitely had:
      * Oils (w/ linseed or modern tung filling in)
      * Waxes (bee's wax, or modern paste wax filling in)
      * Turpentine (as solvent)
      * Shellac (common in 16th century, documented back to 12th IIRC)
      * Paint (The most common)

      I think we all agree on this (mostly), and this has led most people down
      the routes of either painting things, or if they want to appeal to the
      modern 'show the wood' sensibilities, they end up using just oil, maybe
      with a top coat of wax.

      Or they (as I myself have done), make some 'medieval mix' of ingredients
      and end up with a 'that could be done'. Usually this involves a
      combination of linseed oil, bees wax, and turpentine.

      Depending upon the quantities, you end up with a thick goop (as I have
      done) ... or I've seen it mixed HEAVY on the wax, to where it makes a
      very nice period beeswax-paste-wax

      -----------------

      Now all that being said. I'm trying to solve some 'problems' with these
      finishes. Specifically for heavy use items. Specifically for 'show the
      wood' sensibilities.

      I realize that I may not be approaching this from a perfectly 'medieval'
      mindset. But I'm ok with that at the moment. What I'm trying to do,
      is to find a hybrid. Using 'conjecturally / arguably' period
      techniques, to achieve a modern sensibility/protection.

      So, the problems that I've found, personally, with all the oil/wax/turp
      style finishes. Is that they are 'soft' finishes. As 'soft' finishes,
      they allow a heavily used item, that will be handled while people are
      sweaty and dirty ... like, say, a crossbow (*wink*), to get very very
      very dirty.

      Dirt/grime gets into the wax/oils, and things start to look very 'worn
      down'. Not that there is a serious 'problem' with that, it's medieval
      afterall. But most folks I made a crossbow for, don't like it when
      their expensive crossbow, after a summer's shooting, looks rather worn
      down. Especially when right next to them, is someone shooting a
      plastic-y-coated polyurethane crossbow. That glistens with it's 'modern
      beauty'. I don't want that on my crossbows (or other woodwork). But I
      WOULD like a finish that's more durable and resistant to grime.

      So, a few discussion thoughts:

      ----------------

      * Shellac - Now, shellac is period, and is a film-forming finish.
      Granted, you have to keep the booze away from it. But at least it's
      easy to refresh if you need to :) I've used shellac a fair bit in the
      past on kid's furniture and the like, I do like working with it. (Who
      can argue with a 10-30 minute drying time for coats!)

      In fact, to help with 'grime' issues on open pored woods, I plan on
      starting to use shellac as a pore/grain filler on future projects
      regardless of final finish. Giving it that one coat of sanding
      sealer/dewaxed shellac, then sanding/scraping it back down, then
      finishing it.

      But my question, for people who have used it more than I ... is just
      this: How 'durable' is it? Specifically in terms of being 'touched'.
      My gut instinct just tells me that by it's nature it's not as
      'hard/firm' and is a more delicate finish. To where I'd expect in the
      case of, say, a crossbow, that it might get actually 'worn off'.

      Am I right in this idea? Or is it a much more durable finish than I'm
      giving it credit?

      * Varnish - So, now-a-days, we basically only think about polyurathane
      when it comes to a hard-coat-varnish. But lots of different varnishes
      have existed over time. I've read documentation of ancient eqypt using
      pine sap w/ solvent to create a golden hard-varnish. And of other
      natural materials being used as well (amber, etc). And there were
      period references to 'varnishing' items, but without good 'what they
      meant' ;)

      My question is: What other semi-commonly available varnishes might
      exist, that might better approximate a period varnish, than poly, but
      that don't have that 'Oh that's been polyd' look, while providing good
      protection.

      * Lacquer - Lacquering is period for the Orient. Is there any
      documentation for lacquer in the West? And is there any documentation
      for 'clear/amber' lacquer, instead of solid color?

      -----------------------

      One final topic: UV Protection

      None of the period finishes I've used, have ever provided any UV
      protection. This isn't a real problem if you are using basic woods,
      that either don't really care about the UV. Or that get prettier with
      UV exposure (Cherry).

      However, there are times when I find myself making something, with very
      specific colorful woods, IE, exotics. Purpleheart, Osage Orange,
      Bubinga, Bloodwood, Padauk ...

      In these cases, the result of the finished piece, is often, always,
      striking.

      Until someone takes that item out into the hot sun for a season of
      shooting. Then, after only an oil/wax finish ... everything has turned
      muted shades of brownish-brown ... the hard work put into inlaying woods
      of striking difference is lost as they become nigh the same color, etc.

      YES, I realize that this is a 'not period issue'. In period, if you
      were inlaying woods, they were striking to begin with. Pear vs Ash,
      Cherry vs Ash, etc (I've seen lots of Ash inlay).

      Anyway, to my point, I'd love again, a period-ish finish that contained
      some UV protection. So that if someone commissions me to make a bow
      with bloodwood or purpleheart inlay ... it looks as striking on day 1,
      as it does on day 500.

      Yes, I realize that one solution here is just to say: "Hey, I'm putting
      non-period wood into it, put a non-period finish on it"

      But really, I do want to keep stuff as CLOSE to period as I can, even
      when I'm straying from the field. So I'd much rather have a period
      finish on something, even if the underlying wood, isn't.

      So any thoughts on this? My current solution I'm planning on trying.
      Is to make a custom blend of linseed oil and Spar Varnish. Heavy on
      the linseed. To try to get some UV-spar finish protection, without
      causing a poly-look

      But are there any other options here that people know about? Basically
      the ONLY UV-protecting finish I know of, is Spar Poly

      Siegfried




      --
      Barun Siegfried Sebastian Faust - Barony of Highland Foorde - Atlantia
      http://hf.atlantia.sca.org/ - http://crossbows.biz/ - http://eliw.com/
    • Lynda Fjellman
      I m new here as well and haven t plowed through the archives but. . . We made varnish in a chemistry class in college.  As I recall from all those years ago,
      Message 2 of 18 , Oct 11, 2010
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        I'm new here as well and haven't plowed through the archives but. . .

        We made varnish in a chemistry class in college.  As I recall from all those years ago, it was really simple.  Just resin and turpentine I think.  Pretty sure there are recipes in Ceninni and Theophilis.  Just remember when you think of turpentine, it isn't necessarily the modern stuff.  We only think of turpentine as a solvent, but in the past turpentine was also the resin itself and the sap as it came from the tree.  With a little looking around on Google you should be able to find recipes for several varnishes that will work both for showing up you wood and being period.  However when it comes to UV protection.  Well I don't think that they even had the concept.  If you wanted to keep things from getting sunburned you had to keep them out of the sun.
        Perhaps you could use a modern UV inhibitor, and then go over it with a period varnish?

        I've been messing about with sticky stuff a bit for a while, but in no great depth.  I have some acreage and have been encouraging a coppice of various woods and have a pine tree that I harvest sap from and have some native prunus emarginata trees that have gummiosis that I've been harvesting gum from.  If you want to totally geek out on gums and resins refer to:
        "Vegetable Gums and Resins" by F.N. Howes, 1949, Waltham Mass, Published by the Chronica Botanica Co.

        I guess I'll go outside and finish cutting up that walnut.
        Ilaria


        -
         

        So, I know that we've talked, at length, about medieval finishes on this
        list in the past. But I'd like to bring the topic back up, as we have
        new/different people on the list, and I myself am starting to have my
        memory 'fade' a bit ;)

        Plus I have some different directions I'd like to take it.

        ----------------

        THE PAST:

        In the past, general discussions about 'medieval finishes' have revolved
        around things that they definitely had:
        * Oils (w/ linseed or modern tung filling in)
        * Waxes (bee's wax, or modern paste wax filling in)
        * Turpentine (as solvent)
        * Shellac (common in 16th century, documented back to 12th IIRC)
        * Paint (The most common)

        I think we all agree on this (mostly), and this has led most people down
        the routes of either painting things, or if they want to appeal to the
        modern 'show the wood' sensibilities, they end up using just oil, maybe
        with a top coat of wax.

        Or they (as I myself have done), make some 'medieval mix' of ingredients
        and end up with a 'that could be done'. Usually this involves a
        combination of linseed oil, bees wax, and turpentine.

        Depending upon the quantities, you end up with a thick goop (as I have
        done) ... or I've seen it mixed HEAVY on the wax, to where it makes a
        very nice period beeswax-paste-wax

        -----------------

        Now all that being said. I'm trying to solve some 'problems' with these
        finishes. Specifically for heavy use items. Specifically for 'show the
        wood' sensibilities.

        I realize that I may not be approaching this from a perfectly 'medieval'
        mindset. But I'm ok with that at the moment. What I'm trying to do,
        is to find a hybrid. Using 'conjecturally / arguably' period
        techniques, to achieve a modern sensibility/protection.

        So, the problems that I've found, personally, with all the oil/wax/turp
        style finishes. Is that they are 'soft' finishes. As 'soft' finishes,
        they allow a heavily used item, that will be handled while people are
        sweaty and dirty ... like, say, a crossbow (*wink*), to get very very
        very dirty.

        Dirt/grime gets into the wax/oils, and things start to look very 'worn
        down'. Not that there is a serious 'problem' with that, it's medieval
        afterall. But most folks I made a crossbow for, don't like it when
        their expensive crossbow, after a summer's shooting, looks rather worn
        down. Especially when right next to them, is someone shooting a
        plastic-y-coated polyurethane crossbow. That glistens with it's 'modern
        beauty'. I don't want that on my crossbows (or other woodwork). But I
        WOULD like a finish that's more durable and resistant to grime.

        So, a few discussion thoughts:

        ----------------

        * Shellac - Now, shellac is period, and is a film-forming finish.
        Granted, you have to keep the booze away from it. But at least it's
        easy to refresh if you need to :) I've used shellac a fair bit in the
        past on kid's furniture and the like, I do like working with it. (Who
        can argue with a 10-30 minute drying time for coats!)

        In fact, to help with 'grime' issues on open pored woods, I plan on
        starting to use shellac as a pore/grain filler on future projects
        regardless of final finish. Giving it that one coat of sanding
        sealer/dewaxed shellac, then sanding/scraping it back down, then
        finishing it.

        But my question, for people who have used it more than I ... is just
        this: How 'durable' is it? Specifically in terms of being 'touched'.
        My gut instinct just tells me that by it's nature it's not as
        'hard/firm' and is a more delicate finish. To where I'd expect in the
        case of, say, a crossbow, that it might get actually 'worn off'.

        Am I right in this idea? Or is it a much more durable finish than I'm
        giving it credit?

        * Varnish - So, now-a-days, we basically only think about polyurathane
        when it comes to a hard-coat-varnish. But lots of different varnishes
        have existed over time. I've read documentation of ancient eqypt using
        pine sap w/ solvent to create a golden hard-varnish. And of other
        natural materials being used as well (amber, etc). And there were
        period references to 'varnishing' items, but without good 'what they
        meant' ;)

        My question is: What other semi-commonly available varnishes might
        exist, that might better approximate a period varnish, than poly, but
        that don't have that 'Oh that's been polyd' look, while providing good
        protection.

        * Lacquer - Lacquering is period for the Orient. Is there any
        documentation for lacquer in the West? And is there any documentation
        for 'clear/amber' lacquer, instead of solid color?

        -----------------------

        One final topic: UV Protection

        None of the period finishes I've used, have ever provided any UV
        protection. This isn't a real problem if you are using basic woods,
        that either don't really care about the UV. Or that get prettier with
        UV exposure (Cherry).

        However, there are times when I find myself making something, with very
        specific colorful woods, IE, exotics. Purpleheart, Osage Orange,
        Bubinga, Bloodwood, Padauk ...

        In these cases, the result of the finished piece, is often, always,
        striking.

        Until someone takes that item out into the hot sun for a season of
        shooting. Then, after only an oil/wax finish ... everything has turned
        muted shades of brownish-brown ... the hard work put into inlaying woods
        of striking difference is lost as they become nigh the same color, etc.

        YES, I realize that this is a 'not period issue'. In period, if you
        were inlaying woods, they were striking to begin with. Pear vs Ash,
        Cherry vs Ash, etc (I've seen lots of Ash inlay).

        Anyway, to my point, I'd love again, a period-ish finish that contained
        some UV protection. So that if someone commissions me to make a bow
        with bloodwood or purpleheart inlay ... it looks as striking on day 1,
        as it does on day 500.

        Yes, I realize that one solution here is just to say: "Hey, I'm putting
        non-period wood into it, put a non-period finish on it"

        But really, I do want to keep stuff as CLOSE to period as I can, even
        when I'm straying from the field. So I'd much rather have a period
        finish on something, even if the underlying wood, isn't.

        So any thoughts on this? My current solution I'm planning on trying.
        Is to make a custom blend of linseed oil and Spar Varnish. Heavy on
        the linseed. To try to get some UV-spar finish protection, without
        causing a poly-look

        But are there any other options here that people know about? Basically
        the ONLY UV-protecting finish I know of, is Spar Poly

        Siegfried

        --
        Barun Siegfried Sebastian Faust - Barony of Highland Foorde - Atlantia
        http://hf.atlantia.sca.org/ - http://crossbows.biz/ - http://eliw.com/


      • Michael Houghton
        Howdy! On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 9:38 AM, Siegfried wrote: [snip] ... To the best of my knowledge, while shellac resin was certainly
        Message 3 of 18 , Oct 11, 2010
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          Howdy!

          On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 9:38 AM, Siegfried <siegfried@...> wrote:
          [snip]
          >
          > * Shellac - Now, shellac is period, and is a film-forming finish.
          > Granted, you have to keep the booze away from it.  But at least it's
          > easy to refresh if you need to :)  I've used shellac a fair bit in the
          > past on kid's furniture and the like, I do like working with it.  (Who
          > can argue with a 10-30 minute drying time for coats!)

          To the best of my knowledge, while shellac resin was certainly
          known, it was used more as an ingredient in sealing wax and other
          forms that involved melting. I am not aware of its use as a solvent-
          based finish. I'd like to be shown otherwise, but my limited
          investigations have been unproductive. I don't know what proof
          of alcohol is necessary to make a suitable solution. I also don't
          know at what point alcohol of that grade was being produced in
          "industrial" quantities.

          Do you have actual period evidence for shellac's use as a film-forming
          finish (as opposed to a melted substance). I'm pretty sure you could
          get a shellac film to melt on to a turned object by simple friction, but
          that approach is a bit more problematic for flat surfaces and even more
          so for irregular surfaces.

          I've seen people make claims about shellac in period, but I've never
          seen documentation cited, and I'd love for such to be offered.

          >
          >  In fact, to help with 'grime' issues on open pored woods, I plan on
          > starting to use shellac as a pore/grain filler on future projects
          > regardless of final finish.  Giving it that one coat of sanding
          > sealer/dewaxed shellac, then sanding/scraping it back down, then
          > finishing it.
          >
          >  But my question, for people who have used it more than I ... is just
          > this:  How 'durable' is it?  Specifically in terms of being 'touched'.
          > My gut instinct just tells me that by it's nature it's not as
          > 'hard/firm' and is a more delicate finish.  To where I'd expect in the
          > case of, say, a crossbow, that it might get actually 'worn off'.
          >
          Shellac makes a pretty hard film, although it could be brittle if subjected
          to abuse. On the other hand, it's relatively easy to repair, as the alcohol
          dissolves the existing coat so it blends right in (unlike polyurethane
          for which you are simply screwed).

          yours,
          Herveus


          --
          Michael Houghton   | Herveus d'Ormonde
          herveus@...         | White Wolf and the Phoenix
          Bowie, MD, USA            | Tablet and Inkle bands, and other stuff
                                    | http://whitewolfandphoenix.com
        • erik_mage
          Spar varnish is still available at high end hardware stores. Besure not to get poly -look alike. Spar varnish has been used in the marine field for untold
          Message 4 of 18 , Oct 11, 2010
          • 0 Attachment
            Spar varnish is still available at high end hardware stores. Besure not to get poly -look alike. Spar varnish has been used in the marine field for untold centuries hence the name spar varnish. Durable finish to protect the mast and booms of your sailing ship. Usualy a very high gloss. Very high ! this can be softend with a little pumice or fumed glass(not period) also is very stable with oil paints (artist quality) .
            I have a book on ancient painting techniques if you need further documentation. One of the most bizzar mixes that came to mind was a fix or primer. Take One egg yoke seperated from it's membrane mix with about 1/2 liter of water. spray on charcoal drawings or brush on multi layers for primer. I think egg whites can be used in a simular way to build a hard glossy surface on wood.
            The one thing about many old world finnishes is they are hard to make (work) or worse take long periods to dry ( weeks).

            AHHH here it is "Formulas for Painters" by Robert Massey
            Watson - Guptill Publications NY NY 10036 1967

            Great book good luck finding one ! (sarcasticly)
            ERIK ' mage

            --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, Siegfried <siegfried@...> wrote:
            >
            > So, I know that we've talked, at length, about medieval finishes on this
            > list in the past. But I'd like to bring the topic back up, as we have
            > new/different people on the list, and I myself am starting to have my
            > memory 'fade' a bit ;)
            >
            > Plus I have some different directions I'd like to take it.
            >
            > ----------------
            >
            > THE PAST:
            >
            > In the past, general discussions about 'medieval finishes' have revolved
            > around things that they definitely had:
            > * Oils (w/ linseed or modern tung filling in)
            > * Waxes (bee's wax, or modern paste wax filling in)
            > * Turpentine (as solvent)
            > * Shellac (common in 16th century, documented back to 12th IIRC)
            > * Paint (The most common)
            >
            > I think we all agree on this (mostly), and this has led most people down
            > the routes of either painting things, or if they want to appeal to the
            > modern 'show the wood' sensibilities, they end up using just oil, maybe
            > with a top coat of wax.
            >
            > Or they (as I myself have done), make some 'medieval mix' of ingredients
            > and end up with a 'that could be done'. Usually this involves a
            > combination of linseed oil, bees wax, and turpentine.
            >
            > Depending upon the quantities, you end up with a thick goop (as I have
            > done) ... or I've seen it mixed HEAVY on the wax, to where it makes a
            > very nice period beeswax-paste-wax
            >
            > -----------------
            >
            > Now all that being said. I'm trying to solve some 'problems' with these
            > finishes. Specifically for heavy use items. Specifically for 'show the
            > wood' sensibilities.
            >
            > I realize that I may not be approaching this from a perfectly 'medieval'
            > mindset. But I'm ok with that at the moment. What I'm trying to do,
            > is to find a hybrid. Using 'conjecturally / arguably' period
            > techniques, to achieve a modern sensibility/protection.
            >
            > So, the problems that I've found, personally, with all the oil/wax/turp
            > style finishes. Is that they are 'soft' finishes. As 'soft' finishes,
            > they allow a heavily used item, that will be handled while people are
            > sweaty and dirty ... like, say, a crossbow (*wink*), to get very very
            > very dirty.
            >
            > Dirt/grime gets into the wax/oils, and things start to look very 'worn
            > down'. Not that there is a serious 'problem' with that, it's medieval
            > afterall. But most folks I made a crossbow for, don't like it when
            > their expensive crossbow, after a summer's shooting, looks rather worn
            > down. Especially when right next to them, is someone shooting a
            > plastic-y-coated polyurethane crossbow. That glistens with it's 'modern
            > beauty'. I don't want that on my crossbows (or other woodwork). But I
            > WOULD like a finish that's more durable and resistant to grime.
            >
            > So, a few discussion thoughts:
            >
            > ----------------
            >
            > * Shellac - Now, shellac is period, and is a film-forming finish.
            > Granted, you have to keep the booze away from it. But at least it's
            > easy to refresh if you need to :) I've used shellac a fair bit in the
            > past on kid's furniture and the like, I do like working with it. (Who
            > can argue with a 10-30 minute drying time for coats!)
            >
            > In fact, to help with 'grime' issues on open pored woods, I plan on
            > starting to use shellac as a pore/grain filler on future projects
            > regardless of final finish. Giving it that one coat of sanding
            > sealer/dewaxed shellac, then sanding/scraping it back down, then
            > finishing it.
            >
            > But my question, for people who have used it more than I ... is just
            > this: How 'durable' is it? Specifically in terms of being 'touched'.
            > My gut instinct just tells me that by it's nature it's not as
            > 'hard/firm' and is a more delicate finish. To where I'd expect in the
            > case of, say, a crossbow, that it might get actually 'worn off'.
            >
            > Am I right in this idea? Or is it a much more durable finish than I'm
            > giving it credit?
            >
            > * Varnish - So, now-a-days, we basically only think about polyurathane
            > when it comes to a hard-coat-varnish. But lots of different varnishes
            > have existed over time. I've read documentation of ancient eqypt using
            > pine sap w/ solvent to create a golden hard-varnish. And of other
            > natural materials being used as well (amber, etc). And there were
            > period references to 'varnishing' items, but without good 'what they
            > meant' ;)
            >
            > My question is: What other semi-commonly available varnishes might
            > exist, that might better approximate a period varnish, than poly, but
            > that don't have that 'Oh that's been polyd' look, while providing good
            > protection.
            >
            > * Lacquer - Lacquering is period for the Orient. Is there any
            > documentation for lacquer in the West? And is there any documentation
            > for 'clear/amber' lacquer, instead of solid color?
            >
            > -----------------------
            >
            > One final topic: UV Protection
            >
            > None of the period finishes I've used, have ever provided any UV
            > protection. This isn't a real problem if you are using basic woods,
            > that either don't really care about the UV. Or that get prettier with
            > UV exposure (Cherry).
            >
            > However, there are times when I find myself making something, with very
            > specific colorful woods, IE, exotics. Purpleheart, Osage Orange,
            > Bubinga, Bloodwood, Padauk ...
            >
            > In these cases, the result of the finished piece, is often, always,
            > striking.
            >
            > Until someone takes that item out into the hot sun for a season of
            > shooting. Then, after only an oil/wax finish ... everything has turned
            > muted shades of brownish-brown ... the hard work put into inlaying woods
            > of striking difference is lost as they become nigh the same color, etc.
            >
            > YES, I realize that this is a 'not period issue'. In period, if you
            > were inlaying woods, they were striking to begin with. Pear vs Ash,
            > Cherry vs Ash, etc (I've seen lots of Ash inlay).
            >
            > Anyway, to my point, I'd love again, a period-ish finish that contained
            > some UV protection. So that if someone commissions me to make a bow
            > with bloodwood or purpleheart inlay ... it looks as striking on day 1,
            > as it does on day 500.
            >
            > Yes, I realize that one solution here is just to say: "Hey, I'm putting
            > non-period wood into it, put a non-period finish on it"
            >
            > But really, I do want to keep stuff as CLOSE to period as I can, even
            > when I'm straying from the field. So I'd much rather have a period
            > finish on something, even if the underlying wood, isn't.
            >
            > So any thoughts on this? My current solution I'm planning on trying.
            > Is to make a custom blend of linseed oil and Spar Varnish. Heavy on
            > the linseed. To try to get some UV-spar finish protection, without
            > causing a poly-look
            >
            > But are there any other options here that people know about? Basically
            > the ONLY UV-protecting finish I know of, is Spar Poly
            >
            > Siegfried
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > --
            > Barun Siegfried Sebastian Faust - Barony of Highland Foorde - Atlantia
            > http://hf.atlantia.sca.org/ - http://crossbows.biz/ - http://eliw.com/
            >
          • erik_mage
            MY opinion ; Using the word industry was problematic. Maybe disolved bug parts could have been discovered a thousand years before some one actualy mass
            Message 5 of 18 , Oct 11, 2010
            • 0 Attachment
              MY opinion ; Using the word industry was problematic.
              Maybe disolved bug parts could have been discovered a thousand years before some one actualy mass produced it.
              I think you may have the production of Lacquer mixed in there.
              My memory is not so good on this but I believe shellac was found to be undurable and a process of heating it / refinnning into lacquer was far more durable.
              Please feel free to corect me on that comment.
              However the lac bug's shell is easily disolved with alcohol so no heating would be needed to create shellac. Just some type of filtering.
              This is all I can recall at this time. But if I'm right then shellac would reasonably have been discovered shortly after a big drunken party!

              ERIK the not perfectly certain

              --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, Michael Houghton <herveus@...> wrote:
              >
              > Howdy!
              >
              > On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 9:38 AM, Siegfried <siegfried@...> wrote:
              > [snip]
              > >
              > > * Shellac - Now, shellac is period, and is a film-forming finish.
              > > Granted, you have to keep the booze away from it.  But at least it's
              > > easy to refresh if you need to :)  I've used shellac a fair bit in the
              > > past on kid's furniture and the like, I do like working with it.  (Who
              > > can argue with a 10-30 minute drying time for coats!)
              >
              > To the best of my knowledge, while shellac resin was certainly
              > known, it was used more as an ingredient in sealing wax and other
              > forms that involved melting. I am not aware of its use as a solvent-
              > based finish. I'd like to be shown otherwise, but my limited
              > investigations have been unproductive. I don't know what proof
              > of alcohol is necessary to make a suitable solution. I also don't
              > know at what point alcohol of that grade was being produced in
              > "industrial" quantities.
              >
              > Do you have actual period evidence for shellac's use as a film-forming
              > finish (as opposed to a melted substance). I'm pretty sure you could
              > get a shellac film to melt on to a turned object by simple friction, but
              > that approach is a bit more problematic for flat surfaces and even more
              > so for irregular surfaces.
              >
              > I've seen people make claims about shellac in period, but I've never
              > seen documentation cited, and I'd love for such to be offered.
              >
              > >
              > >  In fact, to help with 'grime' issues on open pored woods, I plan on
              > > starting to use shellac as a pore/grain filler on future projects
              > > regardless of final finish.  Giving it that one coat of sanding
              > > sealer/dewaxed shellac, then sanding/scraping it back down, then
              > > finishing it.
              > >
              > >  But my question, for people who have used it more than I ... is just
              > > this:  How 'durable' is it?  Specifically in terms of being 'touched'.
              > > My gut instinct just tells me that by it's nature it's not as
              > > 'hard/firm' and is a more delicate finish.  To where I'd expect in the
              > > case of, say, a crossbow, that it might get actually 'worn off'.
              > >
              > Shellac makes a pretty hard film, although it could be brittle if subjected
              > to abuse. On the other hand, it's relatively easy to repair, as the alcohol
              > dissolves the existing coat so it blends right in (unlike polyurethane
              > for which you are simply screwed).
              >
              > yours,
              > Herveus
              >
              >
              > --
              > Michael Houghton   | Herveus d'Ormonde
              > herveus@...         | White Wolf and the Phoenix
              > Bowie, MD, USA            | Tablet and Inkle bands, and other stuff
              >                           | http://whitewolfandphoenix.com
              >
            • Lynda Fjellman
              Not so bizarre really.  What you are referring to is just the basic formula for tempera.  Commonly used in painting. You separate the egg and take the yolk
              Message 6 of 18 , Oct 11, 2010
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                Not so bizarre really.  What you are referring to is just the basic formula for tempera.  Commonly used in painting.
                You separate the egg and take the yolk into your dry hand and roll it till it dries out and outside forms the below referenced "membrane".  Then you puncture it and use the yolk in your paint.  It gives a gloss and waterproofness to watercolor paints that is hard to achieve any other way.  Talk you your local scribes.  They are still using it.
                Ilaria

                I have a book on ancient painting techniques if you need further documentation. One of the most bizzar mixes that came to mind was a fix or primer. Take One egg yoke seperated from it's membrane mix with about 1/2 liter of water. spray on charcoal drawings or brush on multi layers for primer. I think egg whites can be used in a simular way to build a hard glossy surface on wood. --



              • Siegfried
                ... Hey Herveus ... I m with you, that I d heard claims , but didn t have documentation on-hand. Some quick web searches brought up this one: An article
                Message 7 of 18 , Oct 11, 2010
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                  > To the best of my knowledge, while shellac resin was certainly
                  > known, it was used more as an ingredient in sealing wax and other
                  > forms that involved melting. I am not aware of its use as a solvent-
                  > based finish. I'd like to be shown otherwise, but my limited
                  > investigations have been unproductive.
                  > [...]
                  > Do you have actual period evidence for shellac's use as a film-forming
                  > finish (as opposed to a melted substance).
                  > [...]
                  > I've seen people make claims about shellac in period, but I've never
                  > seen documentation cited, and I'd love for such to be offered.

                  Hey Herveus ... I'm with you, that I'd heard 'claims', but didn't have
                  documentation on-hand. Some quick web searches brought up this one:

                  An article from the Journal of the American Institute of Conservation
                  describes the use of infrared spectroscopy to identify a shellac coating
                  on a 16th century cassone (chest)

                  http://cool.conservation-us.org/coolaic/jaic/articles/jaic31-02-006.html




                  --
                  Barun Siegfried Sebastian Faust - Barony of Highland Foorde - Atlantia
                  http://hf.atlantia.sca.org/ - http://crossbows.biz/ - http://eliw.com/
                • Siegfried
                  Thanks for all the replies so far. One thing I realized, as Lynda was talking about just make your own Resin varnish ... was that I face-palmed a bit and
                  Message 8 of 18 , Oct 11, 2010
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                    Thanks for all the replies so far.

                    One thing I realized, as Lynda was talking about 'just make your own
                    Resin varnish' ... was that I face-palmed a bit and just searched for that.

                    Figured that SOMEONE had to actually make the stuff for sale, right?

                    I found a couple. First of all you can find various 'violin varnish'
                    out there. It's oils, andvarious resins (gum mastic, etc), But it's
                    really expensive ... $30 a pint expensive ...

                    An example:
                    http://is.gd/fY5pn


                    I also then found these people:
                    http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/

                    They sell 3 products, that are all just variations on the same theme.
                    The base of all their products is naturally polymerized linseed oil
                    (through heat).

                    The 3 products are:
                    * 'Danish Oil' (Just the oil)
                    * 'Original Wood Finish (Oil combined w/ beeswax)
                    * 'Varnish Oil' (Combined w/ Pine Sap Rosin)

                    Seem to be 'off the shelf' right up the woodworker's alley stuff. A bit
                    pricey though (The Varnish Oil is $75 a gallon ... I just paid $45 a
                    gallon for Poly for my hardwood floors)

                    These are available from a number of merchants it seems (Woodcraft, Lee
                    Valley, etc). I found someone selling them on Amazon.com, and ordered
                    myself a Quart of the Varnish Oil to try it out.

                    Siegfried
                  • conradh@efn.org
                    ... Don t know enough to speak to the use-as-a-finish question, but industrial quantities would probably not be an issue. In medieval times and for quite a
                    Message 9 of 18 , Oct 12, 2010
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                      On Mon, October 11, 2010 3:06 pm, Michael Houghton wrote:
                      > Howdy!
                      >

                      > To the best of my knowledge, while shellac resin was certainly
                      > known, it was used more as an ingredient in sealing wax and other forms
                      > that involved melting. I am not aware of its use as a solvent- based
                      > finish. I'd like to be shown otherwise, but my limited investigations have
                      > been unproductive. I don't know what proof of alcohol is necessary to make
                      > a suitable solution. I also don't know at what point alcohol of that grade
                      > was being produced in "industrial" quantities.
                      >
                      >
                      Don't know enough to speak to the use-as-a-finish question, but
                      "industrial" quantities would probably not be an issue. In medieval times
                      and for quite a while after, finishes weren't the sort of products that
                      were made by "paintmakers" and sold in shops. AFAIK anyone who wanted to
                      paint a picture or a wall would make the paint themselves, on the spot and
                      shortly before use. Contemporary craft descriptions are all
                      from-the-ground-up recipes, and I can't recall ever hearing of a paint
                      maker or paint merchant, or paint as an item of trade. Linseed oil and
                      minerals, ground or chunk, are what you see. Even at the end of the 19th
                      century, George Sturt describes a paint room in his family wheelwright
                      shop where mineral pigments were ground to make the paints for carriages
                      and wagons they built.

                      This affects the quantities issue. Anyone who used resin-and-alcohol
                      shellac (if any did so) would probably make the alcohol themselves, or at
                      least refine and concentrate some of the local rotgut by means of their
                      own still. Large manor houses later in period had "stillrooms" that were
                      associated with medicinal tinctures and perfume making, but the name
                      suggests that a still was a major feature of the room.

                      How concentrated does the alcohol have to be to make good shellac? Not
                      sure how far back still techniques good enough for absolute alcohol were
                      developed, but distillation definitely moved from alchemy to mundane
                      productive uses in period. Anyone know of any evidence of how good their
                      distillation was?

                      Ulfhedinn
                    • leaking pen
                      medical tinctures were alcohol, generally about 100 proof, soaked into herbs and left to soak for a while, then either drained of and used, or run through
                      Message 10 of 18 , Oct 12, 2010
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                        medical "tinctures" were alcohol, generally about 100 proof, soaked into herbs and left to soak for a while, then either drained of and used, or run through the still again.  Perfume making involved soaking things in alcohol, and then distilling off the alcohol, keeping what was left behind as perfume.  So both activities involved a still.  As to how concentrated, the proof system originated in early period, and 100 proof is, strong enough that it will burn when heated (or later, that gunpowder soaked in it would still burn).   There is evidence in alchemical literature of triple distilling for the most purity, and the highest one can get out of it is about 92 percent, or 180 odd proof, from just distilling.  Technology isn't much better, really, especially on the small scale.  I'll dig up some sources for you.

                        On Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 12:54 AM, <conradh@...> wrote:
                         

                        On Mon, October 11, 2010 3:06 pm, Michael Houghton wrote:
                        > Howdy!
                        >

                        > To the best of my knowledge, while shellac resin was certainly
                        > known, it was used more as an ingredient in sealing wax and other forms
                        > that involved melting. I am not aware of its use as a solvent- based
                        > finish. I'd like to be shown otherwise, but my limited investigations have
                        > been unproductive. I don't know what proof of alcohol is necessary to make
                        > a suitable solution. I also don't know at what point alcohol of that grade
                        > was being produced in "industrial" quantities.
                        >
                        >
                        Don't know enough to speak to the use-as-a-finish question, but
                        "industrial" quantities would probably not be an issue. In medieval times
                        and for quite a while after, finishes weren't the sort of products that
                        were made by "paintmakers" and sold in shops. AFAIK anyone who wanted to
                        paint a picture or a wall would make the paint themselves, on the spot and
                        shortly before use. Contemporary craft descriptions are all
                        from-the-ground-up recipes, and I can't recall ever hearing of a paint
                        maker or paint merchant, or paint as an item of trade. Linseed oil and
                        minerals, ground or chunk, are what you see. Even at the end of the 19th
                        century, George Sturt describes a paint room in his family wheelwright
                        shop where mineral pigments were ground to make the paints for carriages
                        and wagons they built.

                        This affects the quantities issue. Anyone who used resin-and-alcohol
                        shellac (if any did so) would probably make the alcohol themselves, or at
                        least refine and concentrate some of the local rotgut by means of their
                        own still. Large manor houses later in period had "stillrooms" that were
                        associated with medicinal tinctures and perfume making, but the name
                        suggests that a still was a major feature of the room.

                        How concentrated does the alcohol have to be to make good shellac? Not
                        sure how far back still techniques good enough for absolute alcohol were
                        developed, but distillation definitely moved from alchemy to mundane
                        productive uses in period. Anyone know of any evidence of how good their
                        distillation was?

                        Ulfhedinn


                      • Broom
                        ... True into the 19th century, and possibly the 20th. Why sell pre-mixed paint, when the pigments are what really matters, and weigh 1/2 as much? For that
                        Message 11 of 18 , Oct 12, 2010
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                          Ulfhedinn wrote:
                          > Don't know enough to speak to the use-as-a-finish question, but
                          > "industrial" quantities would probably not be an issue.  In medieval times
                          > and for quite a while after, finishes weren't the sort of products that
                          > were made by "paintmakers" and sold in shops.  AFAIK anyone who wanted to
                          > paint a picture or a wall would make the paint themselves, on the spot and
                          > shortly before use.

                          True into the 19th century, and possibly the 20th. Why sell pre-mixed
                          paint, when the pigments are what really matters, and weigh 1/2 as
                          much?

                          For that matter, much interior painting was done with milk paints,
                          which mixed guess-what with the pigments, so it didn't keep (the
                          casein "glued" the pigments to the wood). Fresh milk was of course
                          readily available from local farms.

                          ' | Broom IAmBroom @ gmail . com
                          ' | cellphone: 412-389-1997
                          ' | 9370 Shadduck Rd, McKean, PA 16426
                          '\|/ "Discere et docere", which means:
                          '/|\ "The truth: Democrats are for big government; Republicans are for
                          //|\\ a somewhat different big government."
                        • conradh@efn.org
                          ... Thanks! Ulfhedinn
                          Message 12 of 18 , Oct 12, 2010
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                            On Tue, October 12, 2010 6:45 am, leaking pen wrote:
                            > medical "tinctures" were alcohol, generally about 100 proof, soaked into
                            > herbs and left to soak for a while, then either drained of and used, or
                            > run through the still again. Perfume making involved soaking things in
                            > alcohol, and then distilling off the alcohol, keeping what was left behind
                            > as perfume. So both activities involved a still. As to how concentrated,
                            > the proof system originated in early period, and 100 proof is, strong
                            > enough that it will burn when heated (or later, that gunpowder soaked in
                            > it would still burn). There is evidence in alchemical literature of
                            > triple distilling for the most purity, and the highest one can get out of
                            > it is about 92 percent, or 180 odd proof, from just distilling.
                            > Technology isn't
                            > much better, really, especially on the small scale. I'll dig up some
                            > sources for you.

                            Thanks!

                            Ulfhedinn
                          • Siegfried
                            Now, I thought I read recently that Milk Paints actually weren t period, but were 19th (maybe 18th) century. And that we all consider them to be
                            Message 13 of 18 , Oct 12, 2010
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                              Now, I thought I read recently that Milk Paints actually weren't period,
                              but were 19th (maybe 18th) century.

                              And that we all consider them to be 'period/traditional'. But really
                              that there is no proof they were used in pre-1600 times.

                              Siegfried


                              On 10/12/10 12:52 PM, Broom wrote:
                              > Ulfhedinn wrote:
                              >> Don't know enough to speak to the use-as-a-finish question, but
                              >> "industrial" quantities would probably not be an issue. In medieval times
                              >> and for quite a while after, finishes weren't the sort of products that
                              >> were made by "paintmakers" and sold in shops. AFAIK anyone who wanted to
                              >> paint a picture or a wall would make the paint themselves, on the spot and
                              >> shortly before use.
                              >
                              > True into the 19th century, and possibly the 20th. Why sell pre-mixed
                              > paint, when the pigments are what really matters, and weigh 1/2 as
                              > much?
                              >
                              > For that matter, much interior painting was done with milk paints,
                              > which mixed guess-what with the pigments, so it didn't keep (the
                              > casein "glued" the pigments to the wood). Fresh milk was of course
                              > readily available from local farms.
                              >
                              > ' | Broom IAmBroom @ gmail . com
                              > ' | cellphone: 412-389-1997
                              > ' | 9370 Shadduck Rd, McKean, PA 16426
                              > '\|/ "Discere et docere", which means:
                              > '/|\ "The truth: Democrats are for big government; Republicans are for
                              > //|\\ a somewhat different big government."
                              >
                              >
                              > ------------------------------------
                              >
                              >
                              >

                              --
                              Barun Siegfried Sebastian Faust - Barony of Highland Foorde - Atlantia
                              http://hf.atlantia.sca.org/ - http://crossbows.biz/ - http://eliw.com/
                            • Broom
                              ... My bad, Siegfried. I didn t mean to imply milk paints were period. Just got off on an old-house tangent in my head... | Broom IAmBroom @ gmail .
                              Message 14 of 18 , Oct 12, 2010
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                                On Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 1:23 PM, Siegfried <siegfried@...> wrote:
                                > Now, I thought I read recently that Milk Paints actually weren't period,
                                > but were 19th (maybe 18th) century.

                                My bad, Siegfried. I didn't mean to imply milk paints were period.
                                Just got off on an old-house tangent in my head...

                                ' | Broom IAmBroom @ gmail . com
                                ' | cellphone: 412-389-1997
                                ' | 9370 Shadduck Rd, McKean, PA 16426
                                '\|/ "Discere et docere", which means:
                                '/|\ "The computing equivalent of Godwin's Law: the first reference of
                                //|\\ Cobol is the end of the debate." - Cash' Law
                              • leaking pen
                                heres a good one. http://www.archaeometry.dk/Glas/Medieval%20Distilling-Apparatus%20of%20Glass.pdf
                                Message 15 of 18 , Oct 12, 2010
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                                  heres a good one.
                                  http://www.archaeometry.dk/Glas/Medieval%20Distilling-Apparatus%20of%20Glass.pdf

                                  http://www.museumstuff.com/learn/topics/liquor::sub::History_Of_Distillation has some good links to refference material as well.

                                  On Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 10:02 AM, <conradh@...> wrote:
                                   

                                  On Tue, October 12, 2010 6:45 am, leaking pen wrote:
                                  > medical "tinctures" were alcohol, generally about 100 proof, soaked into
                                  > herbs and left to soak for a while, then either drained of and used, or
                                  > run through the still again. Perfume making involved soaking things in
                                  > alcohol, and then distilling off the alcohol, keeping what was left behind
                                  > as perfume. So both activities involved a still. As to how concentrated,
                                  > the proof system originated in early period, and 100 proof is, strong
                                  > enough that it will burn when heated (or later, that gunpowder soaked in
                                  > it would still burn). There is evidence in alchemical literature of
                                  > triple distilling for the most purity, and the highest one can get out of
                                  > it is about 92 percent, or 180 odd proof, from just distilling.
                                  > Technology isn't
                                  > much better, really, especially on the small scale. I'll dig up some
                                  > sources for you.

                                  Thanks!

                                  Ulfhedinn


                                • John LaTorre
                                  Regarding this issue of varnishes and such, it might be worth pointing out what spar varnish really means, and why urethane varnishes are well suited for it.
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Oct 12, 2010
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                                    Regarding this issue of varnishes and such, it might be worth pointing
                                    out what "spar varnish" really means, and why urethane varnishes are
                                    well suited for it. Spar varnish must not only be tough and UV
                                    resistant, but it must flex as the spar flexes without developing
                                    cracks. Urethane varnishes do this particularly well, although you have
                                    the usual hassles of stripping off the original finish when refinishing
                                    your work. But unless your work actually flexes, like a spar or a tent
                                    pole or whatever, spar varnish isn't really better than any other
                                    varnish for outdoor use.

                                    We do have varnish recipes of a sort from Italian musical instrument
                                    makers (although not Stradivari, I'm sorry to say). Again, the finish
                                    wouldn't be optimum for furniture or chests, but this time for exactly
                                    the opposite reason. Musical instrument varnish is designed to be as
                                    hard as possible, to stiffen the tonewood and increase resonance. It
                                    isn't really designed for wear, and certainly not for moisture
                                    inhibition (in fact, many stringed instruments don't have the interiors
                                    of their soundboxes finished). So I guess we're still looking for the
                                    recipe for a finish that does what we expect our everyday furniture or
                                    tool finishes to do.

                                    As for "Tried and True" finishes, I've tried them and haven't had much
                                    luck with them. It may have been a quality control thing, but I found
                                    that one of the cans I opened had already oxidized to some extent. Has
                                    anybody else used this stuff?

                                    One last comment about tool finishes. I've used "Tru-Oil" which is yet
                                    another varnish/oil hybrid like Watco or Tried&True. The difference is
                                    that it's formulated mainly for gunstocks, so it expects to get a lot of
                                    hard handling and abuse. It's also a favored finish for guitar necks,
                                    which get a similar amount of skin contact. Available from your local
                                    gun shop.

                                    --Johann von Drachenfels
                                    West Kingdom
                                  • Jeffrey Johnson
                                    You forgot resins, pine pitch, gum, amber etc. (See Cennini) There are other blends in there that are hard waxes.
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Oct 13, 2010
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                                      You forgot resins, pine pitch, gum, amber etc. (See Cennini) There are other blends in there that are hard waxes.

                                      On Oct 11, 2010 9:39 AM, "Siegfried" <siegfried@...> wrote:
                                      > So, I know that we've talked, at length, about medieval finishes on this
                                      > list in the past. But I'd like to bring the topic back up, as we have
                                      > new/different people on the list, and I myself am starting to have my
                                      > memory 'fade' a bit ;)
                                      >
                                      > Plus I have some different directions I'd like to take it.
                                      >
                                      > ----------------
                                      >
                                      > THE PAST:
                                      >
                                      > In the past, general discussions about 'medieval finishes' have revolved
                                      > around things that they definitely had:
                                      > * Oils (w/ linseed or modern tung filling in)
                                      > * Waxes (bee's wax, or modern paste wax filling in)
                                      > * Turpentine (as solvent)
                                      > * Shellac (common in 16th century, documented back to 12th IIRC)
                                      > * Paint (The most common)
                                      >
                                      > I think we all agree on this (mostly), and this has led most people down
                                      > the routes of either painting things, or if they want to appeal to the
                                      > modern 'show the wood' sensibilities, they end up using just oil, maybe
                                      > with a top coat of wax.
                                      >
                                      > Or they (as I myself have done), make some 'medieval mix' of ingredients
                                      > and end up with a 'that could be done'. Usually this involves a
                                      > combination of linseed oil, bees wax, and turpentine.
                                      >
                                      > Depending upon the quantities, you end up with a thick goop (as I have
                                      > done) ... or I've seen it mixed HEAVY on the wax, to where it makes a
                                      > very nice period beeswax-paste-wax
                                      >
                                      > -----------------
                                      >
                                      > Now all that being said. I'm trying to solve some 'problems' with these
                                      > finishes. Specifically for heavy use items. Specifically for 'show the
                                      > wood' sensibilities.
                                      >
                                      > I realize that I may not be approaching this from a perfectly 'medieval'
                                      > mindset. But I'm ok with that at the moment. What I'm trying to do,
                                      > is to find a hybrid. Using 'conjecturally / arguably' period
                                      > techniques, to achieve a modern sensibility/protection.
                                      >
                                      > So, the problems that I've found, personally, with all the oil/wax/turp
                                      > style finishes. Is that they are 'soft' finishes. As 'soft' finishes,
                                      > they allow a heavily used item, that will be handled while people are
                                      > sweaty and dirty ... like, say, a crossbow (*wink*), to get very very
                                      > very dirty.
                                      >
                                      > Dirt/grime gets into the wax/oils, and things start to look very 'worn
                                      > down'. Not that there is a serious 'problem' with that, it's medieval
                                      > afterall. But most folks I made a crossbow for, don't like it when
                                      > their expensive crossbow, after a summer's shooting, looks rather worn
                                      > down. Especially when right next to them, is someone shooting a
                                      > plastic-y-coated polyurethane crossbow. That glistens with it's 'modern
                                      > beauty'. I don't want that on my crossbows (or other woodwork). But I
                                      > WOULD like a finish that's more durable and resistant to grime.
                                      >
                                      > So, a few discussion thoughts:
                                      >
                                      > ----------------
                                      >
                                      > * Shellac - Now, shellac is period, and is a film-forming finish.
                                      > Granted, you have to keep the booze away from it. But at least it's
                                      > easy to refresh if you need to :) I've used shellac a fair bit in the
                                      > past on kid's furniture and the like, I do like working with it. (Who
                                      > can argue with a 10-30 minute drying time for coats!)
                                      >
                                      > In fact, to help with 'grime' issues on open pored woods, I plan on
                                      > starting to use shellac as a pore/grain filler on future projects
                                      > regardless of final finish. Giving it that one coat of sanding
                                      > sealer/dewaxed shellac, then sanding/scraping it back down, then
                                      > finishing it.
                                      >
                                      > But my question, for people who have used it more than I ... is just
                                      > this: How 'durable' is it? Specifically in terms of being 'touched'.
                                      > My gut instinct just tells me that by it's nature it's not as
                                      > 'hard/firm' and is a more delicate finish. To where I'd expect in the
                                      > case of, say, a crossbow, that it might get actually 'worn off'.
                                      >
                                      > Am I right in this idea? Or is it a much more durable finish than I'm
                                      > giving it credit?
                                      >
                                      > * Varnish - So, now-a-days, we basically only think about polyurathane
                                      > when it comes to a hard-coat-varnish. But lots of different varnishes
                                      > have existed over time. I've read documentation of ancient eqypt using
                                      > pine sap w/ solvent to create a golden hard-varnish. And of other
                                      > natural materials being used as well (amber, etc). And there were
                                      > period references to 'varnishing' items, but without good 'what they
                                      > meant' ;)
                                      >
                                      > My question is: What other semi-commonly available varnishes might
                                      > exist, that might better approximate a period varnish, than poly, but
                                      > that don't have that 'Oh that's been polyd' look, while providing good
                                      > protection.
                                      >
                                      > * Lacquer - Lacquering is period for the Orient. Is there any
                                      > documentation for lacquer in the West? And is there any documentation
                                      > for 'clear/amber' lacquer, instead of solid color?
                                      >
                                      > -----------------------
                                      >
                                      > One final topic: UV Protection
                                      >
                                      > None of the period finishes I've used, have ever provided any UV
                                      > protection. This isn't a real problem if you are using basic woods,
                                      > that either don't really care about the UV. Or that get prettier with
                                      > UV exposure (Cherry).
                                      >
                                      > However, there are times when I find myself making something, with very
                                      > specific colorful woods, IE, exotics. Purpleheart, Osage Orange,
                                      > Bubinga, Bloodwood, Padauk ...
                                      >
                                      > In these cases, the result of the finished piece, is often, always,
                                      > striking.
                                      >
                                      > Until someone takes that item out into the hot sun for a season of
                                      > shooting. Then, after only an oil/wax finish ... everything has turned
                                      > muted shades of brownish-brown ... the hard work put into inlaying woods
                                      > of striking difference is lost as they become nigh the same color, etc.
                                      >
                                      > YES, I realize that this is a 'not period issue'. In period, if you
                                      > were inlaying woods, they were striking to begin with. Pear vs Ash,
                                      > Cherry vs Ash, etc (I've seen lots of Ash inlay).
                                      >
                                      > Anyway, to my point, I'd love again, a period-ish finish that contained
                                      > some UV protection. So that if someone commissions me to make a bow
                                      > with bloodwood or purpleheart inlay ... it looks as striking on day 1,
                                      > as it does on day 500.
                                      >
                                      > Yes, I realize that one solution here is just to say: "Hey, I'm putting
                                      > non-period wood into it, put a non-period finish on it"
                                      >
                                      > But really, I do want to keep stuff as CLOSE to period as I can, even
                                      > when I'm straying from the field. So I'd much rather have a period
                                      > finish on something, even if the underlying wood, isn't.
                                      >
                                      > So any thoughts on this? My current solution I'm planning on trying.
                                      > Is to make a custom blend of linseed oil and Spar Varnish. Heavy on
                                      > the linseed. To try to get some UV-spar finish protection, without
                                      > causing a poly-look
                                      >
                                      > But are there any other options here that people know about? Basically
                                      > the ONLY UV-protecting finish I know of, is Spar Poly
                                      >
                                      > Siegfried
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > --
                                      > Barun Siegfried Sebastian Faust - Barony of Highland Foorde - Atlantia
                                      > http://hf.atlantia.sca.org/ - http://crossbows.biz/ - http://eliw.com/
                                    • erik_mage
                                      The point was to find a finish cleaner than waax or linseed oil that was still period. I have done many gun stocks with a product called Linspeed it basicaly
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Oct 13, 2010
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                                        The point was to find a finish cleaner than waax or linseed oil that was still period.
                                        I have done many gun stocks with a product called Linspeed it basicaly gives a fast drying finnish like boiled linseed oil.
                                        I suspect it is just that with some japan drier in it.
                                        ERIK ' mage
                                        --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, John LaTorre <jlatorre@...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Regarding this issue of varnishes and such, it might be worth pointing
                                        > out what "spar varnish" really means, and why urethane varnishes are
                                        > well suited for it. Spar varnish must not only be tough and UV
                                        > resistant, but it must flex as the spar flexes without developing
                                        > cracks. Urethane varnishes do this particularly well, although you have
                                        > the usual hassles of stripping off the original finish when refinishing
                                        > your work. But unless your work actually flexes, like a spar or a tent
                                        > pole or whatever, spar varnish isn't really better than any other
                                        > varnish for outdoor use.
                                        >
                                        > We do have varnish recipes of a sort from Italian musical instrument
                                        > makers (although not Stradivari, I'm sorry to say). Again, the finish
                                        > wouldn't be optimum for furniture or chests, but this time for exactly
                                        > the opposite reason. Musical instrument varnish is designed to be as
                                        > hard as possible, to stiffen the tonewood and increase resonance. It
                                        > isn't really designed for wear, and certainly not for moisture
                                        > inhibition (in fact, many stringed instruments don't have the interiors
                                        > of their soundboxes finished). So I guess we're still looking for the
                                        > recipe for a finish that does what we expect our everyday furniture or
                                        > tool finishes to do.
                                        >
                                        > As for "Tried and True" finishes, I've tried them and haven't had much
                                        > luck with them. It may have been a quality control thing, but I found
                                        > that one of the cans I opened had already oxidized to some extent. Has
                                        > anybody else used this stuff?
                                        >
                                        > One last comment about tool finishes. I've used "Tru-Oil" which is yet
                                        > another varnish/oil hybrid like Watco or Tried&True. The difference is
                                        > that it's formulated mainly for gunstocks, so it expects to get a lot of
                                        > hard handling and abuse. It's also a favored finish for guitar necks,
                                        > which get a similar amount of skin contact. Available from your local
                                        > gun shop.
                                        >
                                        > --Johann von Drachenfels
                                        > West Kingdom
                                        >
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