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Re: [MedievalSawdust] Painting and staining

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  • Stephanie S Smith, Ph.D.
    I am building a 15th century jewelry box from Ireland. It would have English influence, since they occupied Ireland then. The wood is Spanish Cedar. Would
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 27, 2005
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      I am building a 15th century jewelry box from Ireland.  It would have English influence, since they occupied Ireland then.  The wood is Spanish Cedar.  Would dovetails be used then?  Or should I use box end joints (just glue and brad the two pieces together).  I have bone black for pigment but don't know which type of base (egg whites or yolks) would be best for the wood.  I understand white lead paint was often used as a primer.  I am not willing to play with lead, but will make an effort to get as close to period paint for the area as possible.  To me, that is part of the fun.  Thank you for any help you can offer.
       
      Stephanie Lilburn
      aka Stephanie Smith, Ph.D.
      lambdakennels1@...
      Wolfe City, Texas 75496
      K5AMK
      Owned by a Standard Poodle and an Australian Cattle Dog
       
      On Sun, 26 Jun 2005 21:51:30 -0700 "Chuck Phillips" <chuck@...> writes:
      Well, that depends on what result you want.  "Proper" varies by time, region, and intended purpose.  Also, please consider if you are going total A-R and using period correct pigments & binder, or are modern equivalents acceptable.
       
      A couple more details, if you please.
       
      Charles Joiner
      mka Chuck Phillips
      Caid
      -----Original Message-----
      From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com [mailto:medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Stephanie S Smith, Ph.D.
      Sent: Sunday, June 26, 2005 5:56 PM
      To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Painting and staining

      So assuming you are painting a wooden box to enter into an A&S competition, what is the proper way to prepare the wood and what is the proper type of paint to apply?
       
      Stephanie Lilburn
      aka Stephanie Smith, Ph.D.
      lambdakennels1@...
      Wolfe City, Texas 75496
      K5AMK
      Owned by a Standard Poodle and an Australian Cattle Dog
       
       
      REPLY
      Gentle Demoiselle,
      within the last 3 years I have made several chests after the "take-down" design shown on Master Terafan's excellent "House Greydragon" website, - and have painted them all, as would have been common for "gentles' " furniture in the short time-Period - 1450 to 1509 - that our Companie re-enacts.
      Given that the most of the MoP who see our Companie displays, at Gorey Castle and elsewhere, are not going to be "savvy-enough" to distinguish modern painting techniques and finishes from the mediæval ones; - and given that I generally find myself working under the kind of time-pressure created by such  requests as - "Julian, can you make me a couple of chests for our next event in a month's time" - I tend to use modern finishes this-wise.......
       
      Sand-down all the parts of your joinery before you assemble them, - with the finest abrasive paper that the timber you have chosen to use requires, for "keying" a painted finish to the timber substrate. Assemble the parts of your chest, carefully removing any over-runs of glue in the process before it starts to dry.
      If your chest has ironwork, then "fit" the ironwork, but then remove it - trying to paint around it is a waste of your time.
      Coat the assembled with some kind of "grain-sealer", and leave to cure.
      Paint the chest with matt white vinyl emulsion in place of the mediæval "gesso", and let that dry thoroughly.
      Apply your background colours and art-work (see * & **), using matt-vinyl emulsion, and leave to thoroughly dry. [ * Using modern Decorators' matt emulsions, you can paint "darker-over-lighter colours" with one coat; - but it doesn't work the other way round. ** - If you have used the correct mediæval-pattern "rosehead cut nails", then don't forget to give the exposed nail-heads a coat of matt black paint, as well].
      Over-coat with as many coats of "Diamond-Glaze", - matt "clear varnish* - [*test it first on a test-piece to be sure it is a really transparent finish] - as you feel will protect the artwork from the use you intend to give the chest, and leave to thoroughly cure.
      Working very carefully so as not to damage your paint finish, now fit and fix the ironwork..
      Finally, rub on several coats of beeswax furniture polish to give the chest that delightful scent, and sheen.
       
      This procedure works for us, and even the local Museum Service  - in particular their "Living-History" Manager, - the Staff-member who attends our Displays most often -  - have been complimentary about the results.
      Mind you, no-one on their Staff has ever asked me exactly "how" I get those results. So, either my results are good enough to "fool the eye" of those "Jersey Heritage Trust" Staff who ought to know better; - or they don't know enough to spot any differences; - or, they do spot the differences to mediæval finishes, but assume that none of the MoP will be educated enough to know the difference between a finish achieved with mediæval materials and techniques, and mine methods done with the most easily-available, and considerably-cheaper modern equivalents.
       
      That having been said, if ever the local Museum Service - or another Client - commission me to create a museum-quality replica, painted mediæval chest - I do  have the skills and knowledge to do so properly; but I'm not going to waste my time and skills on doing  that  unless I get paid at a " Master Craftsman's full commercial rate" for doing so!
       
      Good luck with your project - and "God bless the Work"


       


      Yours in service,
      Julian Wilson,
      [aka. Messire Matthew Baker/Matthieu Besquer, Governor & Castellan of Jersey, 1486-1497: - "Si vis pacem, para bellum"]
      late-medieval Re-enactor; & Historian and Master Artisan to
      "The Companie of the Duke's Leopards",
      [the only medieval living-history Group
      in "olde" Jersey]




      <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
           http://groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalsawdust/




      <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
           http://groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalsawdust/


       

      Stephanie Smith, Ph.D.
      lambdakennels1@...
      Wolfe City, Texas 75496
      K5AMK
      Owned by a Standard Poodle and an Australian Cattle Dog
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