Author Topic: To fill or not to fill  (Read 10103 times)

Jack Plane

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2014, 11:05:01 PM »
Carvings were often just waxed, but in the hey day of French polishing, it was common to treat carvings with a slurry made of drying oil containing either pumice or wood dust or both, and then well brushed out with a dry brush to remove the surplus. When that had all dried the carvings were given a single coat of shellac of, say, a 1/2lb or 1lb cut.

In my limited experience with them, modern fillers are well formulated and work admirably. However, filling the grain with shellac and pumice is a far cry from using fillers and from which a fair comparison cannot be drawn.
Regards, Jack.

Jeff L Headley

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2014, 08:10:00 PM »
I wood recommend a small hard fiber bristle hand brush to burnish carvings once carved and during the finish. Beeswax or a carnauba wax combination? What type of drying oil? Wood (would) you add Japan dryer? Grain filling is my least favorite part of building period reproductions. Again my father Mack Sr. always said you can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear with your finish!

Jack Plane

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2014, 08:31:05 PM »
Beeswax on its own is pretty useless for anything furniture related, but with the addition of harder waxes (carnauba, paraffin etc.) or resins, can develop a fantastic finish.

Linseed oil would really have been all that was (reliably) available to eighteenth-century polishers. Of course, we now have tung oil and walnut oil. I wouldn't recommend adding dryers to the oil (basically, a varnish) for polishing carvings as there would be the risk of it collecting and coagulating in areas, thus reducing the crispness. If plain oil is used, it will remain liquid and be easily brushed out. For all the oil that remains, it can reliably be shellacked over after a day or so.

I forgot to mention before; wax was also added to drying oil for polishing carvings. It doesn't clog up the finer details and can be reapplied until the desired effect is achieved.

Horses for courses and all that.
Regards, Jack.

Peter Storey Pentz

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2014, 10:51:20 PM »
Jeff,

Amen to your father.

The interesting thing about this discussion:  We all pretty much agree on design and woodworking and completely disagree on finishing.  PSP

Jeff L Headley

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2015, 10:02:11 PM »
A horse is a horse of course of coarse. And no one can ask the horse of course. Unless you're on a steady course talk to Mr. Ed. People go yackidy yack the streets and ask the time of day but Mr. Ed will never speak unless he has something to say. So go to the source and ask the horse. He'll give the answer that you'll endorse. He's always on a steady course. Talk to Mr. Ed

ttalma

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Re: To fill or not to fill
« Reply #35 on: January 14, 2015, 08:58:43 AM »
Finishing was probably pretty unique from area to area. My guess is having furniture built before cameras went about like so:

Potential customer: "I saw a chest that had 5 or 6 drawers, was about 4 or 5 feet tall and a little wider than my arm is long. The wood was a redish color curly maple, and it was really smooth. Can you make me one for 2 pence?"

Cabinet shop: "Yes I can but it will be 3 pounds."

Potential customer: "3 POUNDS! I thought you were a Christian! It's just a few boards knocked together. Don't you do this for fun anyway, so it's not really work. And the wood grows on trees after all"

Cabinet shop: "It's a little more than knocking a few boards together, and I have to pay for the wood, buy candles, pay for the nails, sharpen my tools..."

Potential Customer: "I saw this guy Norm build one in half an hour, If I had all his tools I could just build my own! Hrumph Good day sir!"

2 days later: Customer "I guess I'll take it."

Cabinet shop: "Redish Smooth finish you say?"

Customer: "Yes red and very smooth"

And I'm guessing that's about how it went. So the shops did whatever they needed to get the finish.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2015, 09:00:18 AM by ttalma »
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