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Japan Drier


bkwood
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I'm using a commercial violin varnish that takes forever to dry, even enough for the next coat. I've never used anything like Japan Dryer. In truth finishing is my weakest link in making violins. I just want something that works. Woodworking is what interests me. I used Heidersine oil varnish a few times and did like that a lot. But it seems unavailable from any outlet now. Does anyone have good advice for using, or avoiding, a drying agent like Japan Drier?

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13 minutes ago, bkwood said:

I'm using a commercial violin varnish that takes forever to dry, even enough for the next coat. 

I'm using my own formula oil varnish and having the same problems.  I'm at coat one.  Ironically, I was thinking about japan drier too.  Sometimes, when it ain't happening, it just ain't happening.

Reade/Heron-Allens advice sounds good to me this time around - just one coat per week. 

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2 hours ago, joerobson said:

Japan ...cobalt drier...is a top down drier.  Fairly useful in thin coats.  Care should be taken on thicker coats.

on we go,

Joe

 

 

 

 

Is there any danger of crazing or islands or pinholes with Japan Dryer? I have a whole bunch and I've been hesitant to use it because I haven't really experimented with it. 

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I've used Hidersine oil varnish for few builds and it was good but indistinguishable from many better phenolic/alkyd spar varnishes (like Epifanes).

When I experimented with cooking my own oil varnishes I used lead oxide/acetate (home made) cooked into linseed oil. That worked great. I still have 20 years old jar of the oil (still liquid) and it alone dries overnight into varnish-like layer.

I tried some cobalt siccative but don't remember how it worked for me. My memory says that in this case I was advised less is more. If you add too much the finish may skin on the surface. Should be applied in thin layers.

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I've had umber make the varnish hard and brittle and ending up with, that nice dry lake bed effect, without the scorpions. But mind you I was being obsessive about it,,,,,,

alas,, if a little is better.

I've had japan drier turn varnish red on a couple of occasions, beautiful dark purple red, very transparent, very permanent,,, don't ask how, I blow like the wind,, I just go wow!

So after that serendipitous moment I come back to earth, and realize that it'll probably never happen again.

Cobalt just seems to speed things up a bit,,,,one drop per coat.

In fact just a rational amount of many things will help, I just have to know,,,, what if it's a whole bunch,,, what WILL it do?

I haven't tried to cobalt anything to death.

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The video's use of mastic as a sealer is an interesting choice.

Mastic has high leveling ability which means it dries smooth and glossy which increases color saturation of the underlying surface. This can be a downside if you are striving for a finish which preserves grain texture, but works well if you are going for a polished finish.

Its refractive index is very compatible with common oil varnishes so will not affect the clarity of added varnish.

Unfortunately, it also is sensitive to UV light. This type of varnish can yellow and crack with extended UV exposure. The video makes use of the yellowing property by deliberately placing the violin in a tanning box to darken the seal coat.

I am speculating that with such a thin coat, the development of defects in the seal surface due to light exposure might not be an issue. But something to think about if you want to try this sealing method. Mastic failure typically takes years to manifest itself and can be observed in very old fine art that was varnished with it.

 

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10 hours ago, Nick Allen said:

Is there any danger of crazing or islands or pinholes with Japan Dryer? I have a whole bunch and I've been hesitant to use it because I haven't really experimented with it. 

The issues associated with top down driers are  related a lot to the varnish and the application.

High oil content varnishes are vulnerable.  Varnishes which have been diluted with petroleum based sovents or brushing aids like spike oil or raw linseed oil are vulnerable also.

A varnish film which is dry to the touch may not be dry through the thickness of the varnish layer.  It is then tempting to apply another coat...and then another...etc.  When set up time comes the evidence of this will be the bridge scooting or sinking into the varnish.

Safer to use a varnish which dries on its own.

on we go,

Joe

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I looked into siccatives a few months ago before the pandemic. I have files of publications on this subject. When I find them, I will share. One was a list of properties such as top-down drying.

Yes. Iron is a dryer, but I found that it was never readily available in a siccative solution for varnish making. I concluded that Fe was not a desirable dryer although some industrial outfits claim to use it.  If anyone knows a commercial source, please share with us.
 

Whenever I found an explanation of umber’s drying power it was given to Mn, not Fe. Mn turns out to be a much favored metal. The only place I heard of Fe being attributed to umber’s power is in this thread. So, please share with me if there is a research source correcting my chemistry sources. 
 

Thanks.
 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 9/22/2020 at 10:16 PM, Nick Allen said:

Is there any danger of crazing or islands or pinholes with Japan Dryer? I have a whole bunch and I've been hesitant to use it because I haven't really experimented with it. 

i had the crazing reaction.  looks like a micro version of the linseed oil davide has been drying out in the pan for the last thirty years. 

i think the reaction was from the linseed oil from the windsor newton tube.   i used the coloring from the tube for the antiquing around the ribs and the bridge area.  thing is, i can't figure out why there was no reaction on the scroll area.  i used the same stuff. 

sanded the bad areas mostly flat with 400 gr. and recoated again - have to wait and see what happens during drying.

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  • 1 month later...
On 9/22/2020 at 5:31 PM, uncle duke said:

I'm using my own formula oil varnish and having the same problems.  I'm at coat one.  Ironically, I was thinking about japan drier too.  Sometimes, when it ain't happening, it just ain't happening.

Reade/Heron-Allens advice sounds good to me this time around - just one coat per week. 

I started the varnish for two pieces of my work back then - today is 12/25/20.  One has finally cured enough to touch without being sticky/tacky, the other should be following suite in a few days.   I checked on them every few days. 

I've never varnished in the fall/winter months before - that was a long wait. 

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2 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Amen.

I agree. But I am not interested in making my own varnish. I found Hidersine varnish worked very well for me in the past. I only need a few ounces at a time. Hidersine is unavailable anymore. Other varnishes I can find on the internet are largely from Europe, not the US so shipping cost is greater, and it's hard to know how they will work for my purposes. But regardless, I welcome recommendations for good quality small batch oil varnish that dries on its own.

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33 minutes ago, bkwood said:

I agree. But I am not interested in making my own varnish. I found Hidersine varnish worked very well for me in the past. I only need a few ounces at a time. Hidersine is unavailable anymore. Other varnishes I can find on the internet are largely from Europe, not the US so shipping cost is greater, and it's hard to know how they will work for my purposes. But regardless, I welcome recommendations for good quality small batch oil varnish that dries on its own.

Joe Robson makes such varnishes right here in the US. Hundreds of professional makers across the globe use his products. I also make varnishes that dry on their own, but my products are very different from Joe's. You have options.

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1 hour ago, bkwood said:

I agree. But I am not interested in making my own varnish. I found Hidersine varnish worked very well for me in the past. I only need a few ounces at a time. Hidersine is unavailable anymore. Other varnishes I can find on the internet are largely from Europe, not the US so shipping cost is greater, and it's hard to know how they will work for my purposes. But regardless, I welcome recommendations for good quality small batch oil varnish that dries on its own.

Most drying-oil varnishes will dry somewhat adequately on their own, given enough time. My preference is to blast them with UV or sunlight to bring them up to the "plateau" state, where they will pretty much stay when the UV radiation is removed, unlike what happens with some chemical driers.

I don't think it's an ethical marketing strategy to sell someone a violin which sounds one way when it is purchased, which will sound quite different a few years down the road when the varnish finally dries.

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