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Old 02-28-2011, 02:20 PM   #11
princefritzfirst
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Adrian,

Thank you so much for the advice!
A couple of quick questions in regards to your suggestions. I really love the way this looks right now and in no way would want to alter the existing finish.

- By using shellac and the wax what exactly will happen with the current finish?, will the crocodile effect disappear?
- What would you recommend on doing to the copper(?) tips. I don't want to polish them to shine.

As I said above, I really would like to keep this the way I found it except to give a some life, protection. I feel like this thing is bone dry and I realize that it needs something.

Thank you,
David
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:19 PM   #12
oinkitt
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Hi David,

Thank you for your email.

First I would like to touch on your statement - I feel like this thing is bone dry and I realize that it needs something.

If you like the item the way it is, leave it alone. It doesnít need anything unless the finish is flaking off.

What I have advised you to do will not change the texture or look of the finish. The coat of shellac is only to seal any areas that have lost their original finish. Your prop has "lost its finish" where the finish is cracked. Applying oil or wax to unsealed timber is a no go in the conservation game. To apply good oil or wax finish on unsealed timber takes many, many hours of work to achieve a deep lustier. The main reason itís not done is that once you apply oil or wax to an unsealed surface you canít get it out, and you should never do something that canít be reversed. If you wanted to colour match an area you would seal the area and apply the colour on top of the sealant, you generally donít stain directly onto the timber, if you do make sure the stain is lighter than what you want. Colouring is applied on top of sealant so if you donít get it right or it needs to be changed it is possible to do so.

To recreate the finish you have is pretty near impossible; I donít know anyone who has been able to do it. I would NEVER suggest removing it or trying to change it!!! If I had something with that finish for sale and I thought the purchaser would remove it, I wouldnít sell it to them.

In short what I have advised you to do will seal the timber (thinish coat of shellac) and the dark oak wax paste will even out the dark and light spots to be more consistent. Donít do anything to the copper, donít put shellac on it, wax will be ok. I strongly suggest LIBERON coloured wax pastes, they are really the best.

If you have a look at the restore your prop post you will see what I did to my prop.


Regards,


Adrian.
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:42 PM   #13
Dave
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Adrian,

I'm learning a lot from your post about this and was unaware of the use of shellac as a sealant, but I may give it a try.

I'm wondering if we can just create a sticky thread containing this post and titled something to the extent of "Protecting an Existing Finish" or something to that extent?

Let me know if that's OK and if you prefer to edit it in any way.

Dave
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:07 PM   #14
oinkitt
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Hi David,

Shellac is a great sealant, its cheap, easy to use, dries quickly, and can be removed if necessary.

I am happy for you to do whatever you like re this post. I am happy to have people contact me re their conservation issues or you might be able to set up a link for them to contact me with all correspondence being attached to the post. Letís face it the main thing is that people donít destroy their props and I want to do whatever I can to avoid that happening.

Thanks again for this great site.


Regards,


Adrian.

Last edited by oinkitt; 02-28-2011 at 07:09 PM. Reason: Prop conservation
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:34 PM   #15
princefritzfirst
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Adrian,

Thank you very much for your help!
I've applied the shellac in one thin coat and this huge chunk of wood looks magnificent now! I will send you photos soon. I'm not so sure about putting on the wax anymore....? It looks so good right now and most of the uneven spots, water marks, etc. are pretty much blended.

The one coat brought this thing back to life!

Thanks much!
David
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:05 PM   #16
pmdec
 
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Hi Adrian,

Preserve old props is very difficult. In the field of aviation, people tend to put everything constantly new. The result is old props sandpapered (even "Kšrcherized") and bright from epoxy varnish... Even in museums. What a pity!

So, what to do?
First, I agree with you not to use oil: it is too risky it will unstick a decaying varnish.

From some times, I thank to use shellac to preserve props. I have bought some different kinds (see below) of flakes. I tried different recipes on old piece of wood and it seems perfect, but using it on prop which have their decals makes me dubious... ... So, for now, I have do nothing as I am afraid to make some mistake.

I have some questions about shellac, and the first one is what are you talking about: is it this very one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shellac ?
Or synthetic ?

The first (the true) one seems to be sold in France as "gomme laque", which comes with many kinds and colors. The two main kinds are:
- natural (contains wax): the flakes are a little flexible,
- wax free: flakes are brittle (I'm not sure of the word).
And both are coming in many colors from light yellow to dark brown. Which one are you using?

Second question: which solvent? Alcohol? Ethylic? Isopropylic? Pure? 95į? 90į? Less? And how much flakes?

Third question: how to use it? With a brush, or by using traditional French Polish method?

And the last question, which should to be the number zero: before shellac, what do to for not sealing the dust inside the small cracks of the old varnish? Soft dry brush? Water seems "forbidden' as it will impregnate and discolor the wood? Alcohol?

So ... I understand I am asking for a complete (and free) preservation course! But i'ts all for the sake of old props!

Regards,
PM
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:02 PM   #17
oinkitt
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Default Finish Conservation

Hi PM,

Thanks for the email, I will try and answer all your questions.

An original finish should never be removed from any item. The problem is that most people donít understand this and proceed to remove it either chemically or mechanically. I have to be honest, when I got my first antique set of drawers 30 years ago I took it home, got my belt sander out, well you know the result. Half way through I learnt about patina, and sold the drawers unfinished. When I look back I think, sure I wrecked those drawers, but it was nothing of importance and learning that lesson saved all the real important furniture I got from that point.

As it says in the link in your post Ė wax and oil finishes went out when shellac finishes were devised in the 1700s. These finishes are extremely labour intensive to do, and chances are you will never come across one. I never have.

Thank you for bringing up the point re the decals. One should generally never coat decals or paper items with any lacquer product. I would carefully go around the decal with a small artists brush. Remember the thin shellac will bleed from your edge so donít load the brush too much. If you donít know what to do Ė DO NOTHING!!!!Think about it for a while, experiment on a similar scrap piece of wood. There is plenty of time to do something in the future. I have just finished a model boat I left for 4 years because I wasnít sure what to do with it.

I use the products that are in your link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shellac

I generally use red button shellac or brown flakes. Choose the colour depending on the finish you are trying to create or recreate. All of the flake or button shellac is dewaxed and easy to use. I NEVER USE POLYURATHANE UNLESS DOING MODERN WORK.
Shellac can also be coloured with natural pigments to match any finish. These pigments are in powder form and come in an amazing colour range however browns and black are the main ones most people use. Remember when using pigments Ė a little goes a long way. Is better to slowly build up the colour coat by coat, you generally canít mix in lots of pigment and build the colour up quick. My prop was the exception to that rule. Remember each finish is unique.

The best solvent to use is denatured alcohol as it has no water in it so it evaporates quickly, itís a little hard to get so most people use methalated spirits which is nearly as good.

Itís hard to tell you how much flake to add to the liquid. I make 5 litres at a time. I make a pretty thick mix, when I use it I add liquid to thin it if necessary. A thin mix is little thicker than water, say 25% shellac, 75% metho/alcohol.

To apply the finish over an existing finish I generally use a very soft brush. I use depurfumed skunk hair brushes.

To remove dust us a soft brush or low pressure compressed air. Donít use alcohol or metho it will remove the existing finish. A damp cloth can be used if the finish is reasonably smooth.

I hope this has answered you questions.


Regards,


Adrian.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:07 PM   #18
oinkitt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by princefritzfirst View Post
Adrian,

Thank you very much for your help!
I've applied the shellac in one thin coat and this huge chunk of wood looks magnificent now! I will send you photos soon. I'm not so sure about putting on the wax anymore....? It looks so good right now and most of the uneven spots, water marks, etc. are pretty much blended.

The one coat brought this thing back to life!

Thanks much!
David
Hi David,

Good to hear you are happy with the results.

I generally find a shellac finish is too shiny. By adding a wax finish on top of the shellac you get a low sheen shine.

Regards,

Adrian.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:24 PM   #19
oinkitt
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Default Finishes

Here are some pictures of the boat I talk about in my reply to PM

As you can see it was in very poor condition when I got it, just a painted hull, no deck and all the fittings missing.

Most people dont believe me when I tell them it is not the original finish.

You can make a new finish look old it just takes allot of time and experience.



Regards,



Adrian.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Large Cedar boat 001.jpg (62.7 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Large Cedar Boat 007.jpg (90.1 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg Big Cedar Hull 003.jpg (97.5 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Big Cedar Hull 005.jpg (87.4 KB, 9 views)

Last edited by oinkitt; 03-03-2011 at 05:35 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:29 PM   #20
pmdec
 
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Hi Adrian,

Thanks a lot for all these details. Your boat looks very very fine!

Regards,
PM
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