Spirit Varnish

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Pnw.hiker
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Spirit Varnish

Postby Pnw.hiker » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:19 pm

Varnish is really expensive and I don't like paying for it. So I decided to collect some tree sap on a hike to see if I could make my own, and to see how well it works. It's working really well.

    1 Lb. tree sap/pitch -- I used mostly Douglas Fir
    Boil gently on a hot plate to remove natural turpentine, otherwise it takes too long to dry
    strain through screen into jar while still warm
    cover with denatured alcohol
    wait 24 hrs for everything to dissolve, then filter through cheesecloth.

Works similar to shellack, but my mix ended up a little thicker -- drys fast, covers well and has a glossy clear finish. I added 10% mineral spirits to one jar to slow down the drying and that worked ok. Finishes up real well with some furniture wax. My test coatings look fine after 7 months, no deterioration.

SpiritVarnish.JPG

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zelph
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Re: Spirit Varnish

Postby zelph » Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:03 pm

Well I didn't know that could be done. cool!!!

How did you collect the sap?
http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/

Pnw.hiker
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Re: Spirit Varnish

Postby Pnw.hiker » Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:11 pm

zelph wrote:Well I didn't know that could be done. cool!!!

I learned about it from the traditional bow-making crowd.

zelph wrote:How did you collect the sap?

Looked for accumulations on tree trunks and scraped it into a ziplock bag with a knife.

Pnw.hiker
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Re: Spirit Varnish

Postby Pnw.hiker » Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:51 pm

Here's a closeup of a test piece. The end has two coats and the inner section has one coat. It covers better than shellac, but not as hard I think. Dries quickly and tack-free. Second coat takes a little longer.
SpiritVarnish_2.JPG


Nearly all the resin dissolved in the denatured alcohol, but it took overnight.

Furniture paste wax has air drying solvents, so it dissolves right into the surface of the spirit varnish to some extent. I tested this by scuffing up a part and using paste wax to repair the scratches -- it worked. Anyway, the two seem to like each other.

Certainly not as tough as high-tech synthetics, but inexpensive and natural. A good choice for some things-- bows, handles, shop tools ...

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zelph
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Re: Spirit Varnish

Postby zelph » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:24 pm

DIY products are always appreciated more than store bought. I appreciate your insight into the utilization of sap as a useful product of many uses. Firestarters :mrgreen:

Shellac is one of the products originally used to finish bar surfaces in taverns/pubs. It's resistant to alcohol. Now it's synthetics like polyurethane.

Does your varnish get tacky in very warm weather...ever notice? Is it affected by anything?

A couple of years ago I was at a local campground that had mostly pine trees. Teeny tiny droplets of sap were being emitted from the entire tree. The places where limbs were trimmed the previous year were oozing profusely of nice clear amber sap. I felt sorry for the trees :lol:

I have about 1 pound of tree sap gathered in a special place in Guatemala. It's used as an incense when mixed with fine ground pieces of bark of the same tree that it came from and then baked. Very aromatic stuff. I'll see if I can find the thread where I show a link to the area it came from.

Here is a link to the Maya Incense:
http://www.wide-format-printers.org/FLA ... ncense.pdf

Here is a link to the bplite thread:

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=4932&p=37610&hilit=maya#p37610

.
http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/

sudden
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Re: Spirit Varnish

Postby sudden » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:48 pm

nice work
"People are not persuaded by what we say, but rather by what they understand."

Pnw.hiker
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Re: Spirit Varnish

Postby Pnw.hiker » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:52 pm

zelph wrote:DIY products are always appreciated more than store bought. I appreciate your insight into the utilization of sap as a useful product of many uses. Firestarters :mrgreen:

Shellac is one of the products originally used to finish bar surfaces in taverns/pubs. It's resistant to alcohol. Now it's synthetics like polyurethane.

Does your varnish get tacky in very warm weather...ever notice? Is it affected by anything?

No, haven't noticed it getting tacky in warm weather. But I also boiled it pretty well, having been told that reduces tackyness.

zelph wrote:A couple of years ago I was at a local campground that had mostly pine trees. Teeny tiny droplets of sap were being emitted from the entire tree. The places where limbs were trimmed the previous year were oozing profusely of nice clear amber sap. I felt sorry for the trees :lol:

I have about 1 pound of tree sap gathered in a special place in Guatemala. It's used as an incense when mixed with fine ground pieces of bark of the same tree that it came from and then baked. Very aromatic stuff. I'll see if I can find the thread where I show a link to the area it came from.

Here is a link to the Maya Incense:
http://www.wide-format-printers.org/FLA ... ncense.pdf

Here is a link to the bplite thread:

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=4932&p=37610&hilit=maya#p37610

.

Neat!

This varnish has very little odor after boiling off the volatiles. During boiling, though, the pine scent was so strong it stung my eyes. I believe it's mostly Douglas Fir sap, dry and a little soft when collected.

sudden wrote:nice work

thanks!

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RonM
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Re: Spirit Varnish

Postby RonM » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:49 pm

That is very interesting. I wonder if one boiled it longer if it would make a harder finish. Like heating sugar - the higher the temperature you take it to the harder the final product. Might be an interesting experiment. I'll have keep my eyes peeled for tree sap.
"And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire"

sudden
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Re: Spirit Varnish

Postby sudden » Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:32 pm

I found this video. It's not the same thing but gives an idea of how it's done.
"People are not persuaded by what we say, but rather by what they understand."

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zelph
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Re: Spirit Varnish

Postby zelph » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:36 pm

Gee, I googled 1704 varnish and got lost reading all the info on formulas and the history of it. :D

This spring I'll be looking with increased interest in pine sap oozings :mrgreen: I might give a simple try at making a simple varnish. A one sap recipe. ;) I've got a lot of denatured alcohol :lol:

Hmmm, do we want a candy "crack" finish or something less?

My last memories of finishing wood was with jojoba oil. Western variety of plant....... I'll have to look it up :?
http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/


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