Finishing techniques

Share secrets, compare techniques, discuss the merits of materials--eg. veg vs. chrome--and above all, seek knowledge.
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Re: Finishing techniques

#126 Post by elfn » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:45 am

For the old recipes, make sure you follow the stirring instructions EXACTLY. If it says 7 clockwise and 1 counter-clockwise, make sure that's what you do.

<grin>

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Re: Finishing techniques

#127 Post by kemosabi » Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:12 am

Right; and be sure to stir gently.
Never splash or you have to step on a crack, walk under a ladder, chase a black cat, sleep with a dead salmon under your pillow and start over.
Image

Most varnish recipes follow the same basic principle. I probably won't use the proper terms here, so bear with me:

- Liquid suspension such as a drying oil or spirit.
- Pitch, rosin, lac or some such substance to be left on the surface once the suspension has catalyzed or evaporated.
- Optional: pigment for desired color.

I believe one of the oldest known is simply rock rosin dissolved in alcohol. This works good for wood, etc. but not good for leather since it will crack if flexed. Therefore, bitumen or similar is preferred for leather since it is somewhat elastic.

Geraldine,
Thanks. Perhaps art supply stores are a source for asphaltum as I've seen etching resist mentioned while researching.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#128 Post by kemosabi » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:03 pm

Once again, Wikipedia to the rescue:

Camphor is a waxy, white or transparent solid with a strong, aromatic odor. It is a terpenoid with the chemical formula C10H16O. It is found in wood of the camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora), a large evergreen tree found in Asia (particularly in Sumatra, Borneo and Taiwan) and also of Dryobalanops aromatica, a giant of the Bornean forests. It also occurs in some other related trees in the laurel family, notably Ocotea usambarensis. Dried rosemary leaves (Rosmarinus officinalis), in the mint family, contain up to 20% camphor. It can also be synthetically produced from oil of turpentine. It is used for its scent, as an ingredient in cooking (mainly in India), as an embalming fluid, for medicinal purposes, and in religious ceremonies. A major source of camphor in Asia is camphor basil.

Camphor

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Re: Finishing techniques

#129 Post by corvin » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:50 am

In the recipe, the camphor acts as a plasticizer for the shellac, making the finish more flexible.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#130 Post by farmerfalconer » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:21 am

Hmmm. Need to find camphor then. Ill try an asian grocery. Found solid shellac at klingspor woodworking.

Cody

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Re: Finishing techniques

#131 Post by farmerfalconer » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:06 pm

I found camphor at walgrees. Its actually an ointment or something thats 11% camphor and the rest is polyecene( i think) glycol. Ill keep looking...

Cody

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Re: Finishing techniques

#132 Post by kemosabi » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:39 am

Would be nice to try camphor, but don't get too worried about finding some since there are alternatives. One recipe called for using frankinsense! Also; I've been seeing some warnings about camphor being toxic in larger quantities and it's readily absorbed into the skin, so some handling precautions are advised when using the concentrated stuff.

Tried an experiment over the weekend, brushing shellac in thin coats over black dyed veg calf. Still waiting to see if the shellac will get brittle and crack as it dries, but so far the results are promising. It's so shiny you can see your reflection in it.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#133 Post by gshoes » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:28 pm

Nate, i have used neat lac on my hats and found out the hard way that it cracks and flakes horribly with any bending of the leather. I believe that it is very similair to shellac. My best hat was ruined.
Geri

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Re: Finishing techniques

#134 Post by trefor_owen » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:58 pm

Shellac: the casings from the Lac beetle, which is then dissolved in turpentine/alcohol/meths to make French Polish.
Many artificial versions exist too.
Various forms of French polish exist, from sanding sealer through rubbing polish to button polish.
All forms set hard and will crack under flexing - after all it was designed to give furniture a high glaze!!

Exceptions: this works best if wetting the leather before lasting... many clog makers in the UK have painted Button polish (french polish with a meths base plus a colourant in it) on the inside of the toe to create a toe puff.. you have to last up pretty quickly before it dries which is why wet leather helps, and essentially dust your last with french chalk before lasting.. it sets stiff, does not telegraph (penetrate through the leather to the outer surface).
Camphor is available in the UK as Camphorated oil which will mix with shellac as,long as the shellac is in a liquid form.
I would guess all the elements except Bitumen should be available from a Woodworkers suppliers in the US - they are in the UK.
If you have traditional WOODEN casks for Beer.. their joints were often sealed with a pure bitumen.. so try and find a micro brewery which does things the old way!
Often called Brewers Pitch, it is the material used to line Leather Blackjacks (Beer mugs) so re-enactors mays may be a source.
Such pitch can be melted to a very runny state at which I think the other ingredients would be easy to mix in with it....

but BEWARE its a highly inflammable mix and is much like napalm ie if it gets on your clothes or yourself, it sticks and burns... it was used by UK forces in the 2nd War and they made "Sticky bombs" out of it.. my father was shot down over France and ended up with the french Marqee and they used it against German tanks....

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Re: Finishing techniques

#135 Post by romango » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:01 pm

Camphor appears to be available at Mountain Rose Herbs, right here in sunny Eugene, Oregon. Image

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/search/search.php?refine=y&keywords=Camphor&x=0 &y=0

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Re: Finishing techniques

#136 Post by kemosabi » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:01 pm

Camphorated oil is the most common form available (vs. the resin variety) and even though it mixes with shellac I'm not sure what effect oil will have on the finish especially if it's too high concentration oil/camphor or a non catalyzing type(?). Doesn't sound like so far that anyone has ever tried this.

We have many micro-brewery outfits in N.CO but unfortunately none of them are old-school. Cask beer hasn't caught on around here like the East coast and especially Europe.

Warnings about the dangers of these mixtures are well taken and respected!


Thx, -Nat

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Re: Finishing techniques

#137 Post by farmerfalconer » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:31 pm

Nat,
i think I found it (bitumen)
www.jas-townsend.com and search for pitch. its not black though... They say its pine tar.

Also try www.tarsmell.com

They have Camphor on ebay. I think Ill try this some day.

Good Luck,
Cody

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Re: Finishing techniques

#138 Post by kemosabi » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:00 pm

Thanks Cody, but unfortunately pine tar is not bitumen (=petroleum pitch).

Need to pick up some of this for making hand wax!

-Nat

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Re: Finishing techniques

#139 Post by farmerfalconer » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:13 pm

Oh well. It looked rather brittle too.
I keep you updated if I find something.

Cody

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Re: Finishing techniques

#140 Post by farmerfalconer » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:41 pm

Hi Nat,
found this in the closing section of the forum by Mr. Saguto:

PINE-PITCH NEWS FLASH!--This is the wrong thread, and nobody'll find this gem unless they search, but we finally got our Ausen's "Navy Pitch" from Sweden through Noxidol Co. and it's 90% bitumen coal-tar pitch. It's just makes black slime as far as shoemakers' wax goes, slippery and not at all tacky like decent wax ought to be. I did talk with a chap on the phone yesterday who knows his pine-pitch, during what I have dubbed "The Great Pitch-hunt" (like "Witch-hunt" ). He knew and dealt with Mr. Rausch at Rausch Naval Stores in New Orleans (destroyed during Hurricane Katrina), and said that he mixed-up his pitch, the stuff we used to buy. His suggestion was to use Stockholm tar (aromatic viscous liquid) and pine rosin chunks to make the dark brown solid "pitch", and then mix those chunks again with rosin and beeswax to the consistency we need for wax.

I'll LYK how our experiments in that direction turn out. Meanwhile we're still awaiting samples of solid chunk Swedish and Norway pitch.

I dont have time to look it up right now but maybe that will help.

Cody

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Re: Finishing techniques

#141 Post by kemosabi » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:06 am

Nice find Cody. Figures Mr. Saguto would know about this stuff, but if I recall it was like pulling teeth to get any of it here in the US.

Maybe I don't remember correctly, so it's worth a 2nd look.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#142 Post by dw » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:04 pm

First go-round on a neat little crow wheel I picked up recently.

Need to refine the technique but I kind of like it.
15182.jpg
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Tight Stitches
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Re: Finishing techniques

#143 Post by paul » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:09 pm

I have one of these. So it's called a crow wheel? I'll have to look it up in Salaman.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#144 Post by dw » Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:36 am

Paul,

Salaman is a good source and probably the reason I didn't hesitate to call it a "crow" wheel.

Crow wheels were originally a herringbone pattern (like crow's feet) and generally associated with waist ornamentation. However Salaman cites 12(?) patterns from the turn of the 19th century and among them is a "key" pattern. The one above is commonly known as a "greek key."

Salaman also suggests that the wheel was used to camouflage channel edges.

Alfords sells a huge assortment of these but I don't recall seeing another greek key...ever.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#145 Post by athan_chilton » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:52 am

Who is Alfords? I've been hoping to find some crow wheels & didn't know where to start looking.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#146 Post by dw » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:18 am

My apologies..it's:

Arford Enterprises
31 Cunliffe Drive
Kettering
Northants
NN16 8LD
England

email: info@arfordenterprises.co.uk

And they do have a greek key crow wheel along with 27 other patterns and many, many bunking and chop wheel patterns. And numerous hand tools.

And don't ask me what a bunking or chopping wheel is used for. It's another one of those things that we seem to have lost except in Salaman, perhaps (and my copy is not handy).

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Re: Finishing techniques

#147 Post by farmerfalconer » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:23 am

Nat,
I may have found asphaltum (same as bitumen?)

http://www.carolina.com/dissecting-pans-pads/dissecting-pan-wax-1-lb/629100.pr?c atId=&mCat=&sCat=&ssCat=&question=dissecting+pan+wax%2C+1+lb

when I serched asphalt thats what I got. Might try givin em a call and asking about its composition.

Cody

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Re: Finishing techniques

#148 Post by kemosabi » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:26 pm

I'm afraid this mixture would be unsuitable because of the wax it contains, but you're thinkin' outside the box and I appreciate that. thank you.

I found a source recently for the real deal, so here it is for those who may be interested:

http://www.naturalpigments.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=462-10B

Cheers,
-Nat

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Re: Finishing techniques

#149 Post by farmerfalconer » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:26 am

I recently bought a quart of Fiebings Neolite edge ink. It was on sale at panhandle for $5 so I couldnt resist :) Unfortunately it has no instructions other that dire warnings.

Has anyone ever used this before and is it a good product?. How do you all usually apply it?

Thanks,
Cody

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Re: Finishing techniques

#150 Post by dw » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:57 am

I'm not all that familiar with the product. I think it was formulated for use on rubber. If it is the stuff I'm thinking about it is self-polishing and doesn't take well to further brushing. If it is the stuff I'm thinking about, I didn't care for it or think it had much use in bespoke work.

Take the above with a grain of salt. :)
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