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Julian Cossmann Cooke

Pine resin spirit varnish

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I cooked in alcohol some locally collected pine resin and then created a roughly 50/50 pine resin/Siam seedlac varnish.  I say roughly because I did not measure out the dry ingredients but rather the resin-alcohol mixtures in each case.  I added the seedlac to cut down on the elasticity of the pine resin -- encourage it to harden.

I have found that the brush -- oxen hair -- starts to catch about a third of the way down the plate, leaving the application splotchy -- particularly on the top.  See pictures below.

I tried heating the varnish on a coffee warmer but that did not seem to make a difference.  Likewise with adding alcohol.  I have now added a few drops of lavender oil since that finds its way into spirit varnishes such as 1704 when it is used in mulling pigments.

I never have had problems applying 1704 made of Siam and Kusmi seedlac and elemi.

Any thoughts/suggestions greatly appreciated.

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Hiya, Julian. 

I noticed the date of your post as January 15. But only after I’d written my reply did I recognize  that 2019 is gone.... oh, well. Here’s a belated reply; maybe it’s useful anyway?

 

I have a fair bit of experience using alcohol-spirit varnishes with a high ratio of colophony/rosin.

When applying the second coat, the first coat feels “tacky” and grabs at the brush partway through a long stroke. I think it’s a combination of two things: the first coat is easily soluble in the second coat, and the colophony is drying too quickly on the brush.

What I’ve done to mitigate the effect: reduce the relative quantity of colophony/rosin by adding seedlac; add lavender oil; keep the brush heavily loaded with varnish; dilute the alcohol with water.

I’ve also found that high-ratio colophony/rosin varnishes are not terribly durable to abrasion and can be chippy, but also have a nice sparkle a shine.

I’ve used 1:1 seedlac:colophony varnish a bit; for a while it was my go-to alcohol varnish. With practice and technique it goes on pretty alright. 
 

An interesting demonstration is to soak a big piece of colophony in alcohol for a few minutes then pick it out and see how tacky/sticky it feels, and how long it continues to feel that way.

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On 2/4/2020 at 5:37 PM, ScotPiper said:

Hiya, Julian. 

I noticed the date of your post as January 15. But only after I’d written my reply did I recognize  that 2019 is gone.... oh, well. Here’s a belated reply; maybe it’s useful anyway?

 

I have a fair bit of experience using alcohol-spirit varnishes with a high ratio of colophony/rosin.

When applying the second coat, the first coat feels “tacky” and grabs at the brush partway through a long stroke. I think it’s a combination of two things: the first coat is easily soluble in the second coat, and the colophony is drying too quickly on the brush.

What I’ve done to mitigate the effect: reduce the relative quantity of colophony/rosin by adding seedlac; add lavender oil; keep the brush heavily loaded with varnish; dilute the alcohol with water.

I’ve also found that high-ratio colophony/rosin varnishes are not terribly durable to abrasion and can be chippy, but also have a nice sparkle a shine.

I’ve used 1:1 seedlac:colophony varnish a bit; for a while it was my go-to alcohol varnish. With practice and technique it goes on pretty alright. 
 

An interesting demonstration is to soak a big piece of colophony in alcohol for a few minutes then pick it out and see how tacky/sticky it feels, and how long it continues to feel that way.

Dear ScotPiper,

thanks for those rather interesting informations. Did you have to colour your varnish somehow? 

Thanks

Dominik

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Hiya, Dominik. 
 

I colored the varnish using pigments (usually) or dyes (less frequently). I make my own pigments using madder and walnut, and other stuff  

I used Siam seedlac and WW-grade colophony, which is quite colorless. I experimented with cooked colophony, and if it wasn’t over-cooked it was soluble in ethanol. Cooking didn’t add much color to the final varnish, and it still required pigment. 

Edited by ScotPiper

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