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(another?) thread about linseed oil


Deo Lawson
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I've spent literal hours poring through the web looking for information on what linseed oil to get for oil varnish, but there's so much vague and conflicting info out there it makes my head spin. What's worse is that up here in Canada, it's next to impossible to find a lot of the materials that are easily available in the states; the only linseed oil available is "BLO", or oil with metallic driers. Everything else online comes in the "sample size" at an insultingly high price <_<

I'm thinking of a simple amber varnish—just cooked amber and linseed oil, as used by Edgar Russ. Is there any reason why the BLO with driers in won't work for this kind of varnish?

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From here? That's surprising. What companies distribute these things in Canada? Everywhere I look it ships from the US.

 

Your site looks good, although I'm unclear on the different varieties. Is heat-bodied oil not essentially what I would end up with after cooking all my ingredients? Why is the varnish maker's oil more expensive?

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45 minutes ago, Deo Lawson said:

From here? That's surprising. What companies distribute these things in Canada? Everywhere I look it ships from the US.

 

Your site looks good, although I'm unclear on the different varieties. Is heat-bodied oil not essentially what I would end up with after cooking all my ingredients? Why is the varnish maker's oil more expensive?

I too made amber varnish using ER method using woodfinishing enterprises varnish makers oil and amber chips.  It was pretty simple to make and I suppose it's decent, but I don't have experience with anything else. It really does need to sit about 8 months before you use it, it was kind of runny and hard to apply the first time I used it.

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I've had pretty consistent results with Demco's "purified" linseed oil. It's reasonably priced (~$30/L) , made in Canada, and available from many independent art supply shops around here (ie: not Michaels). Don't be fooled by the "purified" like I was, at first; You'll still want to wash it, as there's a fairly high glycerin content (much like most "raw" linseed oils) which can inhibit polymerisation.


Actually, the "CIRCA 1850 Raw Linseed Oil" from Home Depot isn't BAD, either, though it's a little...gummy after cooking, and doesn't QUITE preserve the chatoyancy of the wood like I'd expect it to. It says it's pure, so I suspect it's a matter of quality/grade rather than composition.

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1 hour ago, Deo Lawson said:

From here? That's surprising. What companies distribute these things in Canada? Everywhere I look it ships from the US.

 

Your site looks good, although I'm unclear on the different varieties. Is heat-bodied oil not essentially what I would end up with after cooking all my ingredients? Why is the varnish maker's oil more expensive?

I just use cold pressed LO. Varnish maker’s LO has been “washed”, I believe with the use of some chemical to precipitate out all the junk you normally do by washing the oil. I’ve purchased their varnish maker’s LO before and washed it just to see. Except for satisfying my curiosity it was a waste of time because it was already as clean as it could get. 

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I'm not an expert, but I've made a few batches of oil varnish that turned out really nice.  I used Sunnyside pure raw linseed oil from my local hardware store.  Straight from the tin, it's too contaminated for use in instruments, but I wash it and it's worked fine for me.  Unfortunately, I recently bought a new tin of Sunnyside, and the quality does not seem to be as good as the last tin I had.  

I've recently bought some Hammerl linseed oil that seems to be good quality, but I haven't done much with it yet.  It is clear, not yellow like the Sunnyside. Most legit makers would probably avoid the yellow stuff, but since I use it as a ground, I quite like the color.  

I've never personally used BLO, but my teacher told me to stay well away from it.  

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How I wish I could pick up unadulterated linseed oil from a local hardware store... they don't stock it. Here in Ontario, there are many odd things that are hard to find. Turpentine might be in stock in one Home Depot in the middle of the woods somewhere, and VM&P naphtha, for example, is simply not available.

Looking up Demco brought me to a paint store in Alberta, which offers a whole litre for little more than Amazon does a 75mL sampler. Thanks for the suggestion, Taylor, I think I'll go with that.

Though I'm still curious: what's so bad about the typical BLO from the hardware store? Has anyone bitten the bullet and tried making a varnish out of it? I'm hesitant to put it on an instrument too, but admittedly that's all just prejudice against it picked up from webforums.

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45 minutes ago, Deo Lawson said:

 Has anyone bitten the bullet and tried making a varnish out of it? 

Be forewarned - this is a trick reply from me.

  My notes say I used a half full soup can of blo.  Now what the trick part is about is that my varnish wasn't based on using boiled linseed oil as the main base of the cooking.  It was just another ingredient that was needed for a varnish making session/calamity - depending on how one looks at it.

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5 hours ago, Deo Lawson said:

I've spent literal hours poring through the web looking for information on what linseed oil to get for oil varnish, but there's so much vague and conflicting info out there it makes my head spin. What's worse is that up here in Canada, it's next to impossible to find a lot of the materials that are easily available in the states; the only linseed oil available is "BLO", or oil with metallic driers. Everything else online comes in the "sample size" at an insultingly high price <_<

I'm thinking of a simple amber varnish—just cooked amber and linseed oil, as used by Edgar Russ. Is there any reason why the BLO with driers in won't work for this kind of varnish?

I only used washed linseed oil.  But I put it directly on the wood and hang the violin in the sun for months because it takes a lot of patience and time to get the wood to change to the color you want it to be.  If the weather turns bad, it goes in the UV box.  But it does take a lot of patience, which some people just don't have.

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