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Re: penwork box

Posted By: Michael L. Norton <Restora7@aol.com> (cache-mtc-ab02.proxy.aol.com)
Date: 7/6/4 02:38

In Response To: Re: penwork box (A.W.Martin)

A.W.Martin >>> You are lucky the previous owner was able to clean the finish off so meticulously. I too, am a restorer-conservator in business 12 years not including my apprenticeship and previous 15 years of woodwork and finishing. And unfortunately, as you know, a lot of 18th century furniture and boxes were refinished/French polished. Occasionally, authentic period pieces that have not been adulterated come thru and are a real joy to work on. On these, I also use oil and/or wax. Touch ups, well o.k., I use shellac, unless it is truly an important or historical piece. Finding those original formulas is a pursuit of every restorer I know. I have a few, but have never tried to make them, too busy making a living. Just for fun, I'll share one for a fellow restorer.

Colourless Copal-Varnish. To prepare this varnish the copal must be picked, each piece then broken, upon which a drop or two of rosemary-oil is to be poured; the pieces which become soft upon the application of the oil are those only to be used. Those pieces having been selected are to be ground to a fine powder, and then sifted. Place the powder in a glass vessel, and add it to a corresponding volume of rosemary-oil; stir for a few minutes, when you will have a thick liquid. Leave the liquid to rest for two or three hours, then add a few drops of pure alcohol, and mix slowly, after which reduce with alcohol until the required consistence is obtained. This is supposed to be a clear and beautiful varnish.

Well, there you go. I also have a recipe for spirit-varnish and colourless spirit-varnish. Using sandarac, mastic, venice-turpentine, lac, charcoal and other things. Also, a few oil-varnishes using amber, linseed oil and some of the above mentioned. If you would like to share, drop me a line or post something to share. I am continually looking to increase my knowledge of period furniture and restoration. Thanks and good luck.

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