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Period stains and finishes (was: next question?)

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  • Joseph Hayes
    ... In On Divers Arts (early 12th century), Theophilus writes of reddening doors with a mixture of ground minium or cinnabar and linseed oil. From my research,
    Message 1 of 24 , Nov 10, 2002
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      --- Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart <baronconal@...> wrote:
      > Who's got the next question?

      In On Divers Arts (early 12th century), Theophilus writes of reddening
      doors with a mixture of ground minium or cinnabar and linseed oil.
      From my research, this is an almost singular reference to stain.

      Does anyone know of other period sources?

      Thanks,
      Ulrich


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    • Brian D. Murphy
      Funny you should mention stains...I spent part of this weekend experimenting with some stains for the bowsaw I m working on. I ve got the uprights sawn out,
      Message 2 of 24 , Nov 11, 2002
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        Funny you should mention stains...I spent part of this weekend experimenting with some stains for the bowsaw I'm working on.  I've got the uprights sawn out, so I've been messing with the scraps trying to find a period way to darken the walnut. 
         
        Linseed oil brings out the grain nicely and gives it a warmer, yet still light brown color.  I know this will darken with age, but I'm looking for something faster and darker.
         
        I whipped up a couple of small batches of stain using walnut hulls.  In the first, I stewed them in hot water.  It darkens the wood somewhat, but doesn't seem to penetrate particularly well.  Multiple applications would probably have better results, as well as putting it on while the stain is warm.
         
        In the second batch, I soaked the hulls in ammonia instead of water.  This penetrates better and gives darker results.  I think a few applications of this one would give me the shade I'm trying to achieve.  I'll finish it out with linseed oil once it's darkened.  Now I'm trying to decide if I want to use household ammonia, or if I've got the guts to try it with stale urine for a more period concoction.
         
        I have heard that there is a reference to using linseed oil and walnut hulls to darken wood in The Jewel House of Art and Nature, by Sir Hugh Plat (1594?).  I haven't seen this source personally, though, and haven't been able to locate it yet.  In any case, this combination is next on my list to play with.  I'll let you know how it comes out. 
         
        I tried brewing up some strong hot tea.  This had almost no effect on my walnut.  It may work better with softer, lighter woods, but it's not suitable for my current project.
         
        Rusty iron and vinegar will darken oak, as it reacts with the tannin in the wood.  Fuming the wood with ammonia will react with the tannin to darken oak too.  I've not seen these techniques used on walnut, and I don't know how much tannin walnut has, but I'll probably try these as well just out of curiousity.  I don't know that these have been seen in period references, however.  Does anyone else know?
         
        Has anyone on this list read Sam Allen's book, Classic Finishing Techniques?  If so, is it a worthwhile reference?
         
        Anyone have any other suggestions on things to experiment with?
         
        Bran
         
         
         
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Sunday, November 10, 2002 10:12 PM
        Subject: [medievalsawdust] Period stains and finishes (was: next question?)


        --- Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart <baronconal@...> wrote:
        > Who's got the next question?

        In On Divers Arts (early 12th century), Theophilus writes of reddening
        doors with a mixture of ground minium or cinnabar and linseed oil.
        From my research, this is an almost singular reference to stain.

        Does anyone know of other period sources?

        Thanks,
        Ulrich


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      • Joseph Hayes
        ... Thanks for the tip. Although I ve heard of this technique for years, you re the first one to quote a source. Ulrich
        Message 3 of 24 , Nov 11, 2002
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          > I have heard that there is a reference to using linseed oil and
          > walnut hulls to darken wood in The Jewel House of Art and Nature, by
          > Sir Hugh Plat (1594?).

          Thanks for the tip. Although I've heard of this technique for years,
          you're the first one to quote a source.

          Ulrich


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        • Joseph Hayes
          ... Did you crush the hulls? I wonder if creating more surface area will increase the color. Ulrich __________________________________________________ Do you
          Message 4 of 24 , Nov 11, 2002
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            --- "Brian D. Murphy" <bmurphy@...> wrote:
            > I whipped up a couple of small batches of stain using walnut hulls.
            > In the first, I stewed them in hot water. It darkens the wood
            > somewhat, but doesn't seem to penetrate particularly well. Multiple
            > applications would probably have better results, as well as putting
            > it on while the stain is warm.

            Did you crush the hulls? I wonder if creating more surface area will
            increase the color.

            Ulrich


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          • Brian D. Murphy
            Yes, I did crush the hulls. I also agitated them while in solution. One thing I didn t do, which would probably make it darker, is let it soak for several
            Message 5 of 24 , Nov 11, 2002
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              Yes, I did crush the hulls.  I also agitated them while in solution.  One thing I didn't do, which would probably make it darker, is let it soak for several days.  Most of the recipies for walnut hull stains I've seen call for the hulls to be soaked for at least three days.  I stewed mine briefly and then soaked them for just a few hours for these experiments. 
               
              A couple more things to note:  I did not heat the ammonia batch.  The ammonia drew the color out of the hulls very rapidly and proved to be a better penetrator. 
               
              Also, the way the wood has been prepared makes a difference in how the stain takes.  The planed/scraped pieces of my walnut darkened better than sawed or sanded surfaces.  I think scraping opens the pores better.  Naturally, the end grain darkened better than anything else.
               
              Bran
               

              --- "Brian D. Murphy" <bmurphy@...> wrote:
              > I whipped up a couple of small batches of stain using walnut hulls.
              > In the first, I stewed them in hot water.  It darkens the wood
              > somewhat, but doesn't seem to penetrate particularly well.  Multiple
              > applications would probably have better results, as well as putting
              > it on while the stain is warm.

              Did you crush the hulls?  I wonder if creating more surface area will
              increase the color.

              Ulrich

            • jrwinkler@msn.com
              Cool stuff on the walnut hull citation. think I need to look up Plat s writings and see what else dwelleth therein!!! I understand your suspicion Bran. A
              Message 6 of 24 , Nov 11, 2002
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                Cool stuff on the walnut hull citation… think I need to look up Plat's writings and see what else dwelleth therein!!!
                 
                I understand your suspicion Bran… Winking smiley emoticon   A few months ago I had a lady call me and tell me of this great deal that an antique dealer was going to make her on a 14th c. Swiss chest…   ("Worth thousands if restored!!!").   She showed me the pictures and… while I'm not an expert at such things… and told her so…  I sure thought the chest looked much more "Norwegian inhabitation of early Minnesota or Wisconsin" to me…  the carvings on it sure didn't look Swiss influenced to me and there was no telling how old the chest was…   never did hear how that came out.
                 
                Anyway…  as we had some discussion on saws and such a while back.   I have put up a file for folks to look it.  It’s an excerpt from an archeological report by Gerald Dunning in 1940.  It describes the where, when and whats relating to the 13th c. saw that I mentioned to James in an earlier post.  I found this bit in the back of "Ancient  Carpenter's Tools" by Mercer.  
                 
                Chas.
              • Dan Baker
                The Jewel House of Art and Nature Found it available as a used book on the web. Downside is the cheapest one I found was almost $1500.00. -- YIS, Lord Rhys,
                Message 7 of 24 , Nov 15, 2002
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                  The Jewel House of Art and Nature Found it available as a used book on the
                  web. Downside is the cheapest one I found was almost $1500.00.

                  --
                  YIS,

                  Lord Rhys, Capten gen y Arian Lloer
                  Privateer to the Midrealm

                  Arafu at dawnsio mewn adlaw
                  ...Take time to dance in the rain...




                  >
                  >I have heard that there is a reference to using linseed oil and walnut
                  >hulls to darken wood in The Jewel House of Art and Nature, by Sir Hugh Plat
                  >(1594?). I haven't seen this source personally, though, and haven't been
                  >able to locate it yet. In any case, this combination is next on my list to
                  >play with. I'll let you know how it comes out.
                  >


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                • trettie
                  ... used book on the ... $1500.00. My good Rhys, if you ever locate a reprint or online transcription, please do share it. I stumbled on Jewel House of Art and
                  Message 8 of 24 , Nov 27, 2002
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                    --- In medievalsawdust@y..., "Dan Baker" <Capten_Rhys@h...>
                    wrote:
                    > The Jewel House of Art and Nature Found it available as a
                    used book on the
                    > web. Downside is the cheapest one I found was almost
                    $1500.00.

                    My good Rhys, if you ever locate a reprint or online transcription,
                    please do share it. I stumbled on Jewel House of Art and Nature
                    on display at the Folger Shakespeare Library several years ago,
                    but unfortunately neglected to copy down the stain recipe.
                    Apparently he published several Elizabethan "how to" books, but
                    I have yet to find any reprints.

                    Your servant,

                    Fin
                  • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
                    I wonder if we could get it from a service like books on demand? or convince Dover to re-publish it? I got a set of two books on seige weapons from BOD with
                    Message 9 of 24 , Nov 27, 2002
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                      I wonder if we could get it
                      from a service like books on demand?

                      or convince Dover to re-publish it?

                      I got a set of two books on seige weapons
                      from BOD with about 40 other interested
                      people.

                      Anyone got the free time to look into this?


                      --- trettie <tom@...> wrote:
                      > --- In medievalsawdust@y..., "Dan Baker"
                      > <Capten_Rhys@h...>
                      > wrote:
                      > > The Jewel House of Art and Nature Found it
                      > available as a
                      > used book on the
                      > > web. Downside is the cheapest one I found was
                      > almost
                      > $1500.00.
                      >
                      > My good Rhys, if you ever locate a reprint or online
                      > transcription,
                      > please do share it. I stumbled on Jewel House of Art
                      > and Nature
                      > on display at the Folger Shakespeare Library several
                      > years ago,
                      > but unfortunately neglected to copy down the stain
                      > recipe.
                      > Apparently he published several Elizabethan "how to"
                      > books, but
                      > I have yet to find any reprints.
                      >
                      > Your servant,
                      >
                      > Fin
                      >
                      >


                      =====
                      Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
                      Aude Aliquid Dignum
                      ' Dare Something Worthy '

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                    • von_landstuhl <von_landstuhl@yahoo.com>
                      ... Thank God for inter-library loan! Here s the info: http://www.midrealm.org/ballaeban/ulrich/ans/stuff/walnut_stain.jpg Ulrich
                      Message 10 of 24 , Dec 16, 2002
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                        --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Brian D. Murphy"

                        > I have heard that there is a reference to using linseed oil and
                        > walnut hulls to darken wood in The Jewel House of Art and Nature,
                        > by Sir Hugh Plat (1594). I haven't seen this source personally,
                        > though, and haven't been able to locate it yet

                        Thank God for inter-library loan! Here's the info:
                        http://www.midrealm.org/ballaeban/ulrich/ans/stuff/walnut_stain.jpg

                        Ulrich
                      • Tom Rettie
                        ... Ulrich, If you still have it, could you check and see if it includes plans for an Elizabethan mousetrap. As I recall there was one or more in that volume,
                        Message 11 of 24 , Dec 16, 2002
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                          >Thank God for inter-library loan! Here's the info:
                          >http://www.midrealm.org/ballaeban/ulrich/ans/stuff/walnut_stain.jpg

                          Ulrich,

                          If you still have it, could you check and see if it includes plans for an
                          Elizabethan mousetrap. As I recall there was one or more in that volume,
                          but it's been years since I saw it and I may be mis-remembering. It seemed
                          like a fun and useless project.

                          Thanks,

                          Tom R.

                          ------------------------------------------------
                          Tom Rettie tom@...
                          http://www.his.com/~tom/index.html
                        • Brian D. Murphy
                          Thank God for inter-library loan! Here s the info: http://www.midrealm.org/ballaeban/ulrich/ans/stuff/walnut_stain.jpg Ulrich Great find, Ulrich! Could you
                          Message 12 of 24 , Dec 16, 2002
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                            Thank God for inter-library loan!  Here's the info:
                            http://www.midrealm.org/ballaeban/ulrich/ans/stuff/walnut_stain.jpg

                            Ulrich
                             
                             
                            Great find, Ulrich!  Could you please post the publisher info from the volume so that I can use the reference?
                             
                            Bran
                             
                            Bran Du ap Dafydd
                          • Joseph Hayes
                            ... Plat, Hugh. _The Jewel House of Art and Nature_. London: Peter Short. 1594. __________________________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail
                            Message 13 of 24 , Dec 17, 2002
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                              --- "Brian D. Murphy" <bmurphy@...> wrote:
                              > Could you please post the publisher info from
                              > the volume so that I can use the reference?

                              Plat, Hugh. _The Jewel House of Art and Nature_. London: Peter Short.
                              1594.


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                            • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
                              ... It s kinda funny that you should just happen to mention mousetraps. Just saw one in a book at lunch today and thought I ll throw the full picture into the
                              Message 14 of 24 , Dec 17, 2002
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                                > Ulrich,
                                >
                                > If you still have it, could you check and see if it
                                > includes plans for an
                                > Elizabethan mousetrap. As I recall there was one or
                                > more in that volume,
                                > but it's been years since I saw it and I may be
                                > mis-remembering. It seemed
                                > like a fun and useless project.
                                >
                                > Thanks,
                                >
                                > Tom R.
                                >

                                It's kinda funny that you should just happen to
                                mention mousetraps.

                                Just saw one in a book at lunch today and thought

                                I'll throw the full picture into the period
                                examples file in the photo section. There are some
                                nice tools in the full painting.

                                =====
                                Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
                                Aude Aliquid Dignum
                                ' Dare Something Worthy '

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                              • Tom Rettie
                                Gee, quiet around here lately...those most be some impressive New Years hangovers... This is what I m up to, yet another triangle backstool (preparation for
                                Message 15 of 24 , Jan 9, 2003
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                                  Gee, quiet around here lately...those most be some impressive New Years
                                  hangovers...

                                  This is what I'm up to, yet another triangle backstool (preparation for
                                  tackling a proper turned triangle chair -- lots and lots of non-right-angle
                                  mortises).

                                  http://www.his.com/~tom/sca/projects/current.html

                                  So what are the rest of you up to?

                                  Regards,

                                  Thomas
                                  (Fin)

                                  ------------------------------------------------
                                  Tom Rettie tom@...
                                  http://www.his.com/~tom/index.html
                                • Jim Hart <baronconal@yahoo.com>
                                  ... let s see... Chests ( painted and stained ), just got a request for a lucent ( spelling? ) thinking seriously about building a lathe ( Avery how about a
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Jan 9, 2003
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                                    --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, Tom Rettie <tom@h...> wrote:
                                    > Gee, quiet around here lately...those most be some impressive New Years
                                    > hangovers...
                                    >
                                    >

                                    let's see...

                                    Chests ( painted and stained ), just got a request for
                                    a lucent ( spelling? ) thinking seriously about building
                                    a lathe ( Avery how about a article on building a lathe? )
                                    got parts for three more mousetraps cut out just need to
                                    assemble them, working on a bookshelf for the living room
                                    for all the new books ( including the Medieval Household book
                                    from the Museum of London )

                                    and a non-sawdust project is looming....
                                    new melee/practice armor.

                                    Anyone else?
                                  • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
                                    just got a request for ... oh yeah it s lucet.... ===== Baron Conal O hAirt / Jim Hart Aude Aliquid Dignum Dare Something Worthy
                                    Message 17 of 24 , Jan 9, 2003
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                                      just got a request for
                                      > a lucent ( spelling? )

                                      oh yeah

                                      it's lucet....


                                      =====
                                      Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
                                      Aude Aliquid Dignum
                                      ' Dare Something Worthy '

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                                    • Brian D. Murphy
                                      My main project right now is putting together my woodworking shop itself. I ve started work in my unfinished basement, which is currently just kind of a dark
                                      Message 18 of 24 , Jan 9, 2003
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                                        My main project right now is putting together my woodworking shop itself.  I've started work in my unfinished basement, which is currently just kind of a dark hole under the house.  There isn't even any lighting.  It will be a nice space once finished, though.  The first thing I had to do was break out the reciprocating saw and cut apart an old furnace to get it out of there.  Then I shoveled literally a century's worth of accumulated gunk off the floor and out the window.  A couple of days ago, I ripped out the old staircase entirely (it was quite rotten), so now I have to climb a ladder to get down there.  I'm in the middle of rebuilding the staircase from scratch, which is a bit tricky because it's got a funky bend to it.  Once that's finished, I'll be replacing some bad joists, repointing some brickwork, replacing the windows, painting, running a couple of electrical circuits, hanging some lighting, building a workbench...and so on.  Christmas finally forced me into doing this because I need a place to set up my new table saw.  That and my wife is getting tired of me running the lathe in the spare bedroom and tracking wood shavings all over the upstairs.  She'll change her tune when I finally get around to making her new kitchen cabinets...
                                         
                                        Bran

                                         
                                        Gee, quiet around here lately...those most be some impressive New Years
                                        hangovers...

                                        This is what I'm up to, yet another triangle backstool (preparation for
                                        tackling a proper turned triangle chair -- lots and lots of non-right-angle
                                        mortises).

                                        http://www.his.com/~tom/sca/projects/current.html

                                        So what are the rest of you up to?

                                        Regards,

                                        Thomas
                                        (Fin)

                                        ------------------------------------------------
                                        Tom Rettie                           tom@...
                                        http://www.his.com/~tom/index.html
                                      • Don Bowen
                                        ... Not necessarily medieval but will be a big help when I do a table after the one shown by Roy Underhill.
                                        Message 19 of 24 , Jan 9, 2003
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                                          At 1/9/2003, you wrote:
                                          http://www.his.com/~tom/sca/projects/current.html

                                          So what are the rest of you up to?

                                          Not necessarily medieval but will be a big help when I do a table after the one shown by Roy Underhill.

                                          http://pub88.ezboard.com/ftheneotribalmetalsmithsfrm22.showMessage?topicID=27.topic



                                          Don Bowen                          donb@...
                                          Senior Software Engineer      Valley Center, CA                
                                        • jrwinkler@msn.com
                                          Well. less ee. I ve been teaching one of the local guys around here some of the gentle art of woodturning, helped another fellow to reverse engineer a sheet
                                          Message 20 of 24 , Jan 10, 2003
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                                            Well… less'ee…  I've been teaching one of the local guys around here some of the gentle art of woodturning, helped another fellow to "reverse engineer" a sheet music chest (modern construction…  they wanted $360 for it in the cateloge… my friend goes, "Hey, we could probably make it for less than that."…  He was correct.  The prototype came in for about $50.00… of course we now have to get the 'nice' woods for the next three we're gonna build… but…  )… and..  doing a little woodturning myself.  The guy who is learning the art found a place where they do raw sawing around here…  it turns out that there are often chunks with blemishes or other things that they aren't happy with and throw on the scrap pile.   Two days ago my friend came by with a chunk of walnut he wanted sawed up into turning blanks…  it was a chunk of walnut (green) 4" thick by 12+" wide by a bit over 3 feet long…  and he got the whole thing for… and I ain't kidding… $5.00!!!!   [For cutting it up for him and the instruction he gifted me with two of the bowl blanks… 8" rounds x 4" thick…  and two goblet blanks about 4"x4"x7"…  so… I've been having way too much fun with my lathe for the last couple days…]
                                             
                                            Oh… Conal…  a single lucit… or a double lucit???
                                             
                                            … and then there as the kitchen cabinet project I worked on for a friend…  tear out the old… put in new…  that took two days… nothing goes as planed in a 150 +/- year old house…  
                                             
                                            But… other than the above…  the new year has been pretty boring and laid back… 
                                             
                                            Hey Thomas… I really like your chair project…  I may have to give that a shot myself.  I've been looking at them for some time but that hasn't hit my project sheets yet…  and the web page is cool…  nicely done.  Can't wait to see the finished chair and the plans for it…
                                             
                                            Chas.
                                             
                                             
                                          • tom@his.com
                                            ... sh ot myself. I ve been looking at them for some time but that hasn t hit my ... to see the finished chair and the plans for it. I ll share a secret:
                                            Message 21 of 24 , Jan 10, 2003
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                                              > Hey Thomas. I really like your chair project. I may have to give that a
                                              sh> ot myself. I've been looking at them for some time but that hasn't hit my
                                              > project sheets yet. and the web page is cool. nicely done. Can't wait
                                              to> see the finished chair and the plans for it.

                                              I'll share a secret: turned stools and chairs are really easy once you get the
                                              hang of it. Until the 16th century, most European turned furniture had really
                                              simple profiles, mostly just cylinders with a few decorative rings. You can do
                                              a stool with two or three tools, and boring the mortises is really the only
                                              part that can get tricky. I noticed last Pennsic that some of the merchants
                                              have started to carry turned stools (overpriced, in my opinion), so maybe their
                                              popularity will rise. I'm particularly fond of the triangular pieces because
                                              they fell out of fashion in the 17th century, and thus clearly look different
                                              than modern furniture. Some of the period four-post stuff looks not much
                                              different than what you can find around many modern kitchen tables.

                                              Tom
                                              R.

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                                            • Joseph Hayes
                                              ... Feeling bad for not working on anything and trying to decide if I want to enter A&S after I ve sworn not to... For the
                                              Message 22 of 24 , Jan 10, 2003
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                                                > So what are the rest of you up to?

                                                Feeling bad for not working on anything and trying to decide if I want
                                                to enter A&S after I've sworn not to...

                                                <nasty apprentice mode on>

                                                For the Midrealmers, I know you can enter A&S and request commentary
                                                only. Can you enter and request scores only?

                                                <nasty apprentice mode off>

                                                Ulrich



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                                              • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
                                                ... yes... both ===== Baron Conal O hAirt / Jim Hart Aude Aliquid Dignum Dare Something Worthy __________________________________________________ Do you
                                                Message 23 of 24 , Jan 10, 2003
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                                                  >
                                                  > Oh. Conal. a single lucit. or a double lucit???
                                                  >

                                                  yes... both

                                                  =====
                                                  Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
                                                  Aude Aliquid Dignum
                                                  ' Dare Something Worthy '

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