Author Topic: To fill or not to fill  (Read 7689 times)

Peter Storey Pentz

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2014, 08:52:49 PM »
Randy,

Jello and Oreos...it opens whole new worlds of possibilities.  PSP

millcrek

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2014, 08:44:42 AM »
I don't know about Oreos, but don't laugh about Jello. Knox gelatin mixed with earth pigments are still being used to restore oil paintings by some restorers for major museums.

Peter Storey Pentz

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2014, 12:12:50 PM »
Not laughing... I know better...smiling a little.  PSP

Jack Plane

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2014, 08:42:27 PM »
As Peter said, grain-filling (glue, brick dust, natural minerals, wax, resins etc.) was widespread in the eighteenth-century, as outlined in many period texts.

Randy is also correct: Not all furniture was filled prior to polishing, but much has since been filled – or partially filled – simply through prolonged use and waxing.
Regards, Jack.

bbrown

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2014, 11:16:24 AM »
In answer to Bruce's question,  "...... Regardless, if anyone knows of a good source for a (shellac) French polishing class somewhere in the Mid Atlantic area, I'd be interested in hearing from you......"



   Peter Gedrys has a course at the Annapolis Woodworking School.  It may have already occurred, not sure.  Peter would be  fantastic to learn from.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 11:18:36 AM by bbrown »
William Brown

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bbrown

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2014, 11:24:49 AM »
Jeff Headley said.....
"Walnut with its grain also needs to be filled. Back countries Mahogany above the fall line."

    How do you do the fill process Jeff?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 11:26:33 AM by bbrown »
William Brown

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Jeff L Headley

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2014, 05:34:23 PM »
We have used a grain filler from Lawrence-McFadden which is no longer in business. With that said I have noticed over the last few years a chalking of the grain fillers. Whitening grain pores over the years. Pumice or fine silica is pulverized stone which has a colored medium added. The medium has the color added. Stone will not hold color. Clay on the other hand has color. Fine pulverized brick dust and gelatin might be a alternative. I love my cows but might think about rabbits. Flea bitten varmints. All this depends upon your final finish. Water, alcohol, or mineral spirits.  Gelatin is dissolved by water. The final finish surface might emulsify your grain filler which will cause dips.
I think that French polish is a modern finish. Not period! Lets see what you think!

Jack Plane

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2014, 06:48:02 PM »
There is no such thing as 'French polish'. French polishing is a process in which shellac is the polish. It gained popularity in the nineteenth-century and was responsible for the Victorian 'toffee apple' look. A French polished surface is fragile and vulnerable and not the best finish for daily use.

Shellac has been used for polishing furniture since at least the thirteenth-century and was the primary resin used during the seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuries.

As Jeff says, use self-coloured fillers. Brick dust was one medium that was broadly used on eighteenth-century mahogany. Earth pigments (straight or blended) in various mediums are my preference for ease of use and longevity.
Regards, Jack.

Bruce Leonard

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2014, 05:10:08 PM »
William...thanks for the heads up on Peter G.'s class.....I'll keep an eye on Troy's website for Peter's return.

In the mean time, if I've read ten articles on French polishing, I've read ten variations on the same theme....very discouraging for a neophyte.  I decided to follow Peter Bohn's lead and seek out items written by George Frank.  Turns out he wrote a piece for FWW that appeared in their May/June 1986 issue, which is essentially the chapter on French polishing from Frank's book(s) on finishing.  I have used the technique he describes in the article with success. Interestingly, it not only incorporates pumice to fill the grain but continues its use throughout the bodying stage, albeit in decreasing amounts.  I would recommend it to anybody looking for an educational source on French polishing.

BTW, for those seeking Frank's books, note that "Classic Wood Finishing" and "Wood Finishing With George Frank" are essentially the same book/text.  In fact I'll sell you one for cheap. : )

Bruce

terry candee

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2014, 06:55:02 PM »
Let me add yet another query. I have built a very large kitchen table for my grandson out of red oak. I had not figured on filling the grain but after all of this discussion perhaps I should but how? Shellac makes no sense for such a table and I plan on finishing with varnish. Anyone have any strong opinions on filling red oak? It seems as though the varnish would be adequate.

Terry

bbrown

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2014, 08:46:59 PM »

  Thanks for the info Bruce.  There is a video of Peter Gedrys's polishing technique, on the FWW site, I believe.  He makes it look easy (but there's a learning curve, for sure). 

   Grain filling seems to involve a bit of medieval alchemy: pulverized brick dust, Knox gelatin mixed with earth pigments, bloodworms (in various media), and an eye of newt  thrown in (to get that special patina). Seems there should be a better way to do this    :)
William Brown

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Chuck Walker

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2014, 09:04:41 PM »
When I first heard about using pumice, curiosity got the best of me so I did a simple experiment by shaking a little pumice on a glass plate and dropping a bit of shellac on the whitish powder and let dry. The look of powder simply disappeared! My thinking and after checking it with some chemical references is that the refractive index of the pumice is very close to the same as shellac. So in effect it sort of disappears into the film. I understand that pumice has been a traditional filler in French polishing for some time.

Chuck

R Bohn

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2014, 11:17:37 AM »
Hi All
 Jack , some years ago the Briwax Co. did market a product labeled French Polish, it was/is shellac in a bottle, shame on them!
 Bottom line here is that if you intent to use a filler, find something that has a natural color that won't fade. It's been a long time since I pore filled but I understand the interest. I do use pumice and haven't noticed any problems in the last 30 + yrs. I also French Polish large oak tables with out fillers. In the polishing process there is a window in witch I turn the shellac in to a [ slurry ], It's like turning the shellac into a paste and moving it around to impact the pores quickly. Unfortunately, it's something you would have to see as my typing skills are not what I'm known for. Anyway, this is how a seasoned finisher is able to produce a  smooth finish on a porous surface fast. French Polishing can be a simple technique or a highly technical process depending where you are on the learning curve. There are many benefits that French Polishing can provide for placing color that other finishes can't come close to. And the ease of repair is like no other finish. Here is a video of Mitch K. polishing. He is a past instructor of mine and I'm a past assistant instructor of his. We were both taught by G. Frank but my process has changed quite a bit, mainly I cut back on the oil.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ParX4-dOf1s
Do good work
 Randy
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 06:25:05 PM by R Bohn »
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Jack Plane

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2014, 09:19:08 PM »
I stand corrected. Thank you.
Regards, Jack.

Jeff L Headley

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2014, 10:23:37 PM »
With pumice used as an abrasive to carry dust from the original piece as a filler which needs no color on flat surfaces, how would you treat curved or carved surfaces? Most modern fillers are trying to fill the surface with a rub over paste. I am not a condoning a modern filler which seems inferior just asking. I still stand by my comment that a French polish is a modern finish.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 10:32:48 PM by Jeff L Headley »