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Molasses varnish


Deo Lawson
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No, not literally, although that would be interesting.

 

I've cooked my first oil varnish—a very simple amber varnish. Initially I cooked 112 grams of raw amber until it boiled up and returned to its original volume, after which I added about 120-140 mL of linseed oil and cooked them together for about 30 minutes. I decided this was much too thick and bumped the ratio to more or less 1:2 amber to oil and cooked it all again.

Even with the added oil, my varnish is still thick as molasses (or maybe a little more), but I don't want to add more oil as that may make it too soft when dry. I assume when it comes time to use the varnish I need simply add turpentine dropwise to a small amount of it until it becomes brushable / spreadable. Or should I have used a lot more oil? Please advise :)

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Oh, it would probably take half a can of turpentine to soften the entire jar. I meant separating a little cup of it for use and adding turp to that.

Edgar Russ uses this varnish. In a youtube video he recommends roughly 1:1 amber to oil, heavy on the oil... I have no idea how he can use it like that but the varnish is absolutely beautiful.

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Thinking of what others have done similar to what you did the first thing i think of is how long was the string of varnish was or did you do the string test.

I noticed the maker says he keeps his varnish in separate little jars for a period of time - maybe he didn't give all of the instruction needed?

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16 hours ago, Deo Lawson said:

Edgar Russ uses this varnish. In a youtube video he recommends roughly 1:1 amber to oil, heavy on the oil... I have no idea how he can use it like that but the varnish is absolutely beautiful.

If you like Edgar Russ's varnish why not ask him directly how he applies it.

If you pay the bill, he can't refuse to answer, his tips and advice are on sale here:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=34343314

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take your final product and put it in a container that can sit in a hot water bath and apply it to sealed wood using the "hand application"* method to see if it spreads and is usable. A thick varnish that has open time is not a bad thing as long as it can be spread out and as long as it dries. Sora's advice is good too.

* use a 1" pre dehaired non shedding artist brush and load varnish onto the brush, then dab "blobs" of varnish about 1 to 2 " apart from each other {you are using the brush to move the varnish from the container to the work, not for applying the varnish} then once blobs have been dabbed on, use the palm of the hand to smear the varnish onto the work {scrap in your case} and then use the meaty part of your palm {assuming you have one, I wouldn't want to offend any palmless people } to evenly pat/stipple the varnish out so it lays evenly thickness wise. All of this should be happening quickly, not whippy panicky fast, just fast.

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