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Older Materials vs.Improved?

Toff

Well-Known Member
I am starting this thread as a place to assemble our information about the differences between "The New Improved" and previously effective products. And, I would hope, a place to find workarounds for the sadly lacking qualities of the newer products.
As a starter I submit the following:

I have found that an engineered product is not the same as a natural product, especially in the qualities needed for artists' paints. I have used natural walnut oil and found it a good varnish and natural extender/brightener of oil paints. I have also used it for finishing oily woods. I have purchased a supposedly good grade of artists' walnut oil and found it, with the driers and such added, is nowhere near the effectiveness of the natural product, refined by boiling at a temperature to drive out impurities and water.

Nor, is the modern boiled linseed oil containing chemical drying agents as good as the formerly available natural "Boiled Linseed Oil" which was processed by long hours boiling at 240ºF.

Both the above materials were formerly processed to allow them to serve as a varnish through their being able to polymerize, eg. harden when exposed to air and light. That is to say they would harden on the surface they were applied to. As such they were used as a varnish and weather seal on many surfaces; home, nautical, and marshal.

The new petrochemical terps as it is sometimes called is according to the seller's site is not to be used with some other artists' preparations. That being different than common usage of the real product; turpentine.

Another product that has been improved beyond its former usefulness is shellac. Driers have been added to replace the former alcohol which was used to dissolve the shellac resin. These driers cause the product to be almost unusable in older processes which call for shellac, such as "French Finishing" and furniture and gun-stock finishing.

And, some Neetsfoot/ Neatsfoot oils are not natural products but are hydrocarbon based oils. According to one source, True Neetsfoot oils are made from rendering shin and ankle bones of cattle. Neet being an old English word for cattle.

Some of the real materials are still available but at higher prices and reduced local availability.

White lead as a cutting compound has barely been replaced by "Anchorlube®" and Sulpherated lard cutting oil is almost unavailable. Red lead and Chromium Oxide green have been replaced by newer, and if I may say so, less effective long term, primers.

Now for your findings!
Respectfully
~Richard
 

Emmanuel

Well-Known Member
Richard, we can discuss months around these materials.My experience concerns varnishes for musical instruments.It is no coincidence that the expensive classical guitar is lacquered with
french polishing varnish and the concert violins are dressed with old recipe oil varnish.As you know the oils that are capable be polymerized by ultra violet rays is the linen oil and the
walnut oil.These oils found only in the stores equipped with resins ,natural solvents,making old style varnishes for musical instruments .I don't know if natural varnishes are resistant for out door, but iam sure that if you dress a musical instrument with a current nitre varnish will become dumb.However i love the smell that pops up from my varnishes cooking .
Best regards
Emmanuel
 

BlacknTan

Well-Known Member
"Better Living through Chemistry" as the chemical giant DuPont used to call it..

Whether better living or not, I honestly don't know, but I'm old enough to have seen many products that performed their function very well disappear, only to be replaced by much less capable alternatives. Sometimes with good reason, as in the case of whale oil, where even if a replacement was not up to snuff, it was still preferable to slaughter.
Others, like chemical solvents are being replaced by "greener" alternatives, such as citrus based cleaners. There is no question that the performance is sub par, but it is still preferable to the problems for the environment that the disposal of these hazardous compounds entails.

Nuclear fuels produce very clean energy, until we get to the waste disposal aspect. So, there's good with the bad. as usual the scales of balance have to fall one way or the other.

So, while I'm the first to bemoan the loss of products that did their job well, albeit at a price, I can also understand and appreciate the fact that this world has to be passed on to future generations, and we had better take as good care of it as possible.
 
G

Guest

BlacknTan said:
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We use "traditional" cleaners almost exclusively, and they work just as well as the "chemical" ones. The term chemical is misleading, because both use chemical reactions to perform their cleaning tasks ;)

Nuclear fuels are stupid for the reasons you mentioned, and the next big industrial battle will be fought over clean sources of energy. I am watching the developments in the car industry with bated breath, there is a lot going on. For the better, I think.
 

Toff

Well-Known Member
Emmanuel said:
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Emmanuel,
In the 1950s during my youth, for extra money I often re-finished gunstocks with a finish I was taught to call "French." It was almost indestructible in the field and any dents could be quickly steamed out of the wood without damaging the finish more than a quick rub of linseed oil would require. The finish was into the wood surface rather than onto it.

The finishing method was accomplished by having small amounts of boiled linseed oil,orange shellac (real 1st cut by alcohol,) and rottenstone (pumice)in separate small cover-able dishes like petri dishes I used the petri dishes as I could cover them after use.
It was applied with a small, 25mm/1" diameter,hard felt puck contained in a many layered washed soft cotton sheath. The coating application was to dip the puck into the pumice, the oil, and then the shellac. Each time polishing a small area about 30-40 mm², about 1.5"² of the wood by rubbing until the area shown brightly and was dry to the touch. Each time the process was repeated, it was onto half the preceding area and half a new area. And.. yes, a gunstock for a rifle was 10 to 30 hour job.
I found that if I warmed the wood to about 100ºF/38C the process went better. The applicator puck was stored in the oil and darkness. I still use the warm before coating method when I finish projects as it drives the volatiles outward from the surface rather than the surface skinning and trapping the volatiles..

And, all these products have been improved to the point that it is no longer possible to use that method.. and, who would pay the kind of money it would cost. I still use a boiled walnut oil on some oily wood products like Cocobolo.
Very respectfully
~Richard
 

Emmanuel

Well-Known Member
Excellent Richard. I'll sent you a PM because i am interesting for the exact recipe. I know the
shellac recipe of course (23% shellac in pure alcohol) ,i know the rottenstone that refills pores also the boiled linseed oil or walnut oil ,but not how works all together.
Best regards
Emmanuel
 

BlacknTan

Well-Known Member
Toff said:
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Richard,

I used to work with a similar formula, but we used to call it "English Red Root Oil." Many coats, and rubbing in with the heel of the hand, Very time consuming, but really a "labor of love" for a superb and classic finish.
 

deighaingeal

Well-Known Member
Actually, I think it would be beneficial for all of us to learn a little more about the shellac finish. I have always been a great fan of shellac and get quite perturbed when I hear someone spouting it as being highly susceptible to moisture. They are a great finish, but like anything worth its muster lac takes time, skill and knowledge.
 

yohannrjm

Well-Known Member
Also, Shellac solutions that sit around unused (in the stores) tends to get worse over time.

I buy the flakes themselves and make up the solutions in alcohol, as needed. I've never had an issue with drying or moisture damage.

I generally use it on the handlebars of my bikes (I like vintage bikes), and I ride them in all weather without the shellac being damaged by the rain or snow.

It looks great too.
 

Matt

Well-Known Member
I'd love to make a rescale in shellac finished wood; I'm actually planning to do so one day, but given my lack of proper workshop it will take some time. Even though I've more than enough blanks thanks to our Ray and Torben.

Yohann, please share the Wapi pictures once you do your rescale. :thumbup:

regards,
Matt
 

yohannrjm

Well-Known Member
Matt,

I will certainly post pics of the rescaled Wapi when I'm done with it.

It will take some time, though. We moved to a new house last weekend, so there are other things that need to be done. Anyway, with two kids (one 10 months old), I have almost no time for the various projects I have lined up. I will get around to the 'restorations' on the Wapi and the 7-day set I have yet to work on..........sometime (hopefully soon).
 

Emmanuel

Well-Known Member
Yohan,Mat .To work with shellac on a wood surface is very very difficult .Believe me is more difficult than a good edge creation. That's an art.I learned many years ago to varnish my musical instrument . The flakes are not a good quality material because contain wax which is negative factor for french varnishing.Additionally give a yellow coloring to the wood.The best quality according my opinion is the <<ASTRA>> or <<LUNA>> Please be advised according follow link for more analytical informations:
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Best regards
Emmanuel
 

Matt

Well-Known Member
What a superb link with plethora of information, thank you very much, Emmanuel. So much knowledge on grain filling - which has always been baking my noodles... Absolutely terrific. :thumbup:

regards,
Matt
 

Toff

Well-Known Member
Emmanuel,
Thank you for the link! I have bookmarked it. That is very similar to the method I learned. The good material source is appreciated.
Respectfully
~Richard
 

yohannrjm

Well-Known Member
Emmanuel - thanks a lot for that link. There's a lot of information in there that I had never considered.

The Shellac flakes I have are supposed to be dewaxed (as far as I recall - I bought them a long time ago). Anyway, I wasn't planning on using it on scales. I have no tools with which to make scales, so I cannibalize damaged razors for scales. :)
 
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