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The use of red ochre

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t8hants

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When I was a lad in the boat-yard, the painters who specialized in varnish work would often enhance the colour of mahogany ply by powdering and rubbing in red ochre powder before they started the layers of varnish. The powder was applied through a rag, as I remember, although it might have been part of the rubbing off process. Being only an apprentice I was not to disturb such exalted beings, and as I was plater-shipwright I wasn't supposed to be in the varnish shop anyway, but sometimes messages had to be delivered and I could linger.

I was just wondered if this was a well known method of darkening and enhancing the colour of poorer quality mahog' type timbers?

Gareth
 

MIGNAL

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Probably. I've added earth pigments to French Polish and let the fad filter the mixture. It works in the sense that it will give you colour. It also swings it more towards paint, especially if it gets too thick. Thinking about it they could also be using the stuff to tint or as an actual pore filler.
 

Digit

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Strangely enough it was much used in the Stone Age with Pine resin as a glue.

Roy.
 

Digit

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Now you know what killed the Dinosaurs!

Roy.
 

Jacob

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Very common on pine with dark varnish on top to make it look like mahogany, especially where pine is a secondary timber in a piece with mahogany as primary. I know this because I've got several bits n bobs (of very variable quality) with this feature, though I wouldn't know for sure that it actually was "red ochre" or something else. Often painted on like thin water based emulsion paint with varnish on top.
 

jimi43

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All of the "earth pigments" were used for mixing paint and tinting varnishes back to the stone age.

Yellow and red ochre are still used although only in fine artist paints...most other cheaper paints and tints are synthetic.

Traditional paint composition was taught by master to apprentice because most artists and artisans only had this source of tinting...

It is a wonderful subject...well worth investigating.

Jim
 

Max Power

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Sounds like they were using it to fill the grain Gareth, you would normally use a grainfiller of that colour when finishing mahogany.
The same process was carried out on carriages (horse drawn)
 

t8hants

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You may well be right Alan, the powder was applied directly to the timber not mixed into the finish. The colour achieved was always much richer then non-treated pieces though.

G
 

Eric The Viking

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I haven't done much caving recently, but some years back I helped with a survey of a Mendip red ochre mine.

Never, ever, ever have I been that filthy dirty after a trip and found the kit so hard to clean. Red ochre makes one heck of a mess and is really difficult to get off. And it gets on *everything*. Goodness knows how the original miners coped with the stuff.

Stupidly I brought a lump home as a souvenir. I ought to chuck it out really - it's in a clear plastic bag and occasionally some fool picks it up and says, "what's this?" Shortly after that, the cloakroom sink usually goes bright red, the soap does too, there's 'blood' on the floor, the towels get it, and I get it, big time, from the Domestic Controller.

So I'd guess it'll work on wood.

Cheers,

E.

PS: I'm still occasionally finding brown-red marks on the camera gear, now. I nearly wrote off the camera bag itself.
 

Digit

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There are Red ochre mines in North America that have been in use for thousands of years, it would seem that more Red Ochre was mined during the stone Age than any other mineral. In North America there is even evidence that it was traded over considerable distances.
It's only recently that its use with Pine resin has been realised, when added to the resin it hardens it and stops it melting, it was also used in burials.

Roy.
 

Digit

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Yep! Only 'she' turned out to be a 'he' didn't he? :lol:

Roy.
 

Max Power

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"Only 'she' turned out to be a 'he' didn't he? "

Theres a few of them around these days Digit :mrgreen:
 

houtslager

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RO was and is still used to bolster the colour of many timbers, used mainly with the cheaper cuts of mahogany, and often applied in diluted french polish garnet usually, and by a fad. Then a clear coat of polish to seal the colouring.

hth,

k
 

Jacob

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Alan Jones":d3zueecu said:
"Only 'she' turned out to be a 'he' didn't he? "

Theres a few of them around these days Digit :mrgreen:
You are not trying to tell us something are you, you two? Don't be shy!
 

polisher

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Used to see it a lot when we had a paint stripping business. One old-boy restorer used to describe it as "Ox Blood" !
 
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