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By ZippityNZ
ED65 wrote:Oh P.S. your existing mixtures? Don't give up on them!

If you can put them aside for a while and just forget about them they might come good after some time. There are accounts of people coming across previous japanning experiments that were junk when put away but lo and behold a year or whatever later they were transformed and worked brilliantly.

Too late :(

They both went down the plug hole last night. The first batch was made June last year.
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By ED65
ZippityNZ wrote:They both went down the plug hole last night.

I hope not literally, aquatic toxicity and all that.

Thought I'd mention that straight xylene is available down there, Diggers do it for one. Bunnings list that if they're an option locally although it's a bit spendy. They also do an enamel thinners which is pretty much 50:50 white spirit and toluene in case you'd like to try that; it's much cheaper.
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By ED65
How do you prevent clumps/grittiness with this formula Derek?
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By Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz)
Mix well. The asphaltum I used was a fine, brown powder (purchased on eBay - a little goes a long way). It dissolved well in the spar varnish.

Paint on very thin, and keep the surface horizontal to allow it to level until it dries. At first it is a dark brown, and then it gets darker, ending as black.

Here is a plane I did ...




This is a recipe that was given to me by the late Stephen Shepherd. This is what he wrote:

"I use roofing tar, but first let the volitiles evaporate, then mix it up with the McCloskey's Marine Spar Varnish (Gloss).

I put the stuff on both wood and metal and it seems to be very durable. It is important to prepare the surfaces, I use alcohol on metal to clean the surface of any grease or oil. I may wash them with soap and water first, surface prep is important. As far as baking the stuff, I of course don't bake the wood, but I will set the piece in direct sunlight, it helps cure the finish. On metal I do occasionally bake it but not at a very high temperature, 220 degrees F. I have done this for Ferro-type or tintype plates for a friend that does historic photography. If you don't bake it it is a bit soft for a while but in a few weeks it hardens up. I am sure Stanley and the other makers of metal planes used Japan Driers in their recipes, which I believe mine is close. As for the look, it is spot on, deep black with tinges of brown showing through on edges, this is the real look, which can not be achieved with any kind of modern paint or powder coating. It also works well for inpainting missing japanning on metal objects. I restore a lot of tin ware, which is where my experience is, as I do not own any modern metal planes."

Stephen confirmed: “Here in the US roofing tar is asphaltum. Asphaltum is available from a variety of sources and can be spendy, roofing tar is cheap, I have actually never bought any as when you tell someone that is tarring a roof, they will usually give you some.”

Regards from Perth

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By ED65
Thanks Derek. The reason I asked is that all recent examples I've seen being demonstrated which involved simple mixing, and without a settling period or sieving/filtering stage, have been very obviously gritty (not that the people demoing seemed bothered!) and as one source puts it:
The next japanning mixture is referred to as “Cold-cure” japanning. Consisting of spar varnish and asphaltum, this mixture is simple to prepare and provides a very deep black, glossy finish closely matching original japanning.

It is not a quick process, requiring days or weeks to mix and settle.