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Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration


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  #1  
Old 03-14-2008, 08:27:51 AM
Reid
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Default Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration

Hello folks,

In the late 1990s I was intensely interested in Model T Ford technology,
and was a regular driver of a 22 Ford coupe for some years;
my sole transportation.

I wanted to learn how to recreate the baked black enamel that Henry so much favored.

This is the same "paint" that was used to finish millions of magnetos, desk fans, electric motors, fenders, running boards, etc, all in the era of roughly 1905 to 1925.

The paint in question is not truly a paint, but a color varnish based on a special type of asphaltum called gilsonite.

Gilsonite can be googled for more specific information.

To get to the point, the japan black that I made many years ago,
working from Ford factory recipes and modifying to suit my needs,
has sat on the shelf for these years since last I used the stuff.

The other day I thought to repaint the firebox of my favorite toy steam engine.

I would like to show you the results of two coats of nearly pure gilsonite resin, cooked into dipentene as solvent, with some lead drier and other driers,

how it looks, just two coats, applied by brush, then baked in a moderate oven

Images in the next form...
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  #2  
Old 03-14-2008, 08:41:09 AM
Reid
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Default Re: Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration





This is precisely how it looks when dried.
It has not been wet sanded nor rubbed nor polished nor touched at all.

Prep of the prior finish, a smooth, glossy red powdercoat,
consisted of scouring with Barkeeper' Friend scrub powder and running water for a rinse.

Then the "motor slush" as Ford called it (mine was made with a super-solvency dipentene plus the driers mentioned)
was brushed on.
That it self-leveled this well amazed me.
Eight years ago when this small batch was made, it did not self-level this well nor did it have this much gloss.

The old time varnish makers made their product and then, if it was to be quality varnish, they aged it for years if possible.

Now I never thought that made sense before.
But since two days ago, and seeing the results of eight years mellowing in the bottle,
they had a point: old tech varnishes do not get worse with age.

snapped in yesterday's late afternoon light


---
If embedded video works here, here is a video I made for the toy steam forum 24 hours ago telling what little I know about this stuff.

(made before the second coat and bake-out)


If the embed does not operate here's a direct link
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_ke9gwWvmU
Tells a lot of stuff you don't need to know
but does have some possibly useful tips;
you decide and please, offer corrections if you have 'em.
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  #3  
Old 03-14-2008, 11:04:13 AM
LCJudge LCJudge is offline
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Default Re: Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration

Wow, I love the video and info. Tell us more!
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:38:08 AM
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Elden DuRand Elden DuRand is offline
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Default Re: Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration

Reid:

VERY interesting!

Please go through the steps to make this Japan paint! It would be very handy for a number of purposes.

The only problem I can see is the fact that it contains some lead and Our Dear Government has probably made it nearly impossible to get in the proper form.

Take care - Elden
http://www.oldengine.org/members/durand/
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  #5  
Old 03-14-2008, 12:03:40 PM
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Default Re: Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration

Reid - Thanks for sharing the Video and Data on Japan Black. My Dad owned old Fords and talked about Japan Black too. Post more ! Merton
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  #6  
Old 03-14-2008, 03:40:51 PM
Reid
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Smile Re: Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration

I will send a link to this thread to Mike Caswell
http://www.caswellplating.com/

If this material is to become available for our needs
it has to come from some commercial outfit.

I was given, gratis, a fifty pound bag of raw, pulverized gilsonite, by a mining company in Utah.

From that I began experiments with solvents and found many ways to make failure.

At length I discovered dipentene, but in order to have even a gallon of the stuff,
I had to buy a 55 gallon drum for about four bills.
I had plenty of gilsonite and dipentene at one time.
No more. That bulk material is long gone, given away.

The reason I wanted dipentene, though Ford did not employ dipentene:

It is super-solvency, and very slow to evaporate.
It is also syrupy, almost. It gives body and flow to the varnish.

That bottle you see in the video was not shaken nor stirred before use,
in fact you do not shake or stir--that would only bring up dust and sediment contained in the raw gilsonite ore,
which contains dirt as a matter of course.

Let's say that Caswell or someone here perhaps, would go into the business of supplying you with gilsonite in half pound bags.

The best solvent to use to dissolve the gilsonite, which, in its dry state, as prepared by the mining companies, like cocoa powder,

the best solvent for varnish making, aside from dipentene
would be gum turpentine.

What about the driers? Lead drier is definitely out.
I doubt any such product can even be obtained today.
I used a free sample given me by a chemical company back then.
I also made my own lead drier from litharge, exothermically reacted in linseed oil at over 500F: a smoky, smelly, toxic process.

Lead driers add elasticity to any varnish by aiding polymerization (molecular cross linking).

Other driers can be used instead: the japan driers still sold over the counter.
They may not have lead's perfect virtues, but they do aid in drying the gummy components of the pine oil solvent or turpentine gums.

Baking is key too: baking speeds the true cure of the coating,
improves gloss and hardness.

In the genuine japan black enamel, linseed oil plays a part.
For that version, which is just like this, but with oil cooked into the compound,
baking at 400F to 450F for about one hour, is absolutely vital
in achieving a full, tough cure of the varnish.

The stuff is the blackest black in the world of coating systems.
It contains no pigment; nothing settles out so no stirring needed.
It is brushable, flowable, dip-able.
The unused varnish can go back into the can.
It does not deteriorate on the shelf.
In fact, when newly made, it's not so good in any of its handling properties;
it improves like wine, with age.

hth,

Reid Welch
Miami Florida
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Old 03-17-2008, 03:08:19 PM
Reid
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Red face Re: Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration

Update: Am sending Harry a small bottle from this small stock of varnish.

Harry will duplicate the results you see in the still images posted a few days ago.

Have written Mike Caswell with an invite to take on this project.

Have written a note to Prof. Trent Boggess, original source for me of the original recipes
for various versions of this material
used by Ford in the production years of the Model T.

The data that Trent originally posted to our Ford club forum in the late 90s seems to have become lost
when that forum's archive was inadvertently destroyed a few years later.

What I recall of the formulas is that the motor slush, of which mine is a variant of my own devising,
was a quick-protectant for all the rough and ready parts of the auto.

For the sheet metal it was the "elastic japan" linseed oil version, which definitely requires a high temperature bake to cure;
it won't cure at 250F, nor at 300F; no it won't.
It must be baked, each coat, at 400F minimum for one hour;

long enough and hot enough to "burn the cookie to the pan", as I humorously put it to Trent back then.

Now, that's a bit of a problem: high temperature baking is not always convenient.

This variant formula seen above does not need extreme baking,
nor truly any baking at all--but it is best to bake to polymerize the elements insofar as they may;
air curing won't quite do that so well.

More information soon!
I will try to get Harry's sample into the mail tomorrow.
I'll also include a bottle of the genuine full varnish version;
it can be used as a top coat, an "elastic" finish coat over this stuff, which provides the necessary hiding power.
The linseed oil version has very little hiding power of its own;
on glass, one coat looks no more black than a film of molasses,
and about the same color! But that's how this stuff makes true black:
light goes into the film and it cannot escape.
Black results.
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  #8  
Old 03-18-2008, 08:44:47 AM
Reid
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Thumbs up Re: Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration



Just put a first coat on the toy engine's cylinder shroud.

A video showing the process is in upload and will appear here soon.

Tip: to extend the flow-out time, before the mixture stiffens too much to self-level,
and also to protect from dust and bugs (bugs love the smell of this varnish),

cover the work with an inverted plastic bin of some sort fitting the size of the work
(purely an optional step I did not take here today).

That cover will slow the solvent evaporation during the critical first half hour.
And it will ensure perfect, dust-free results.

Working on parchment paper gotten from the grocery store also helps to attain clean work.


First coat after 20 minutes in the open air.
73F here today.




Final thought to offer for now: dipentene is a wonderfully slow evaporating solvent.
Dipentene seems to be key to this recipe's success as an oil-less Japan Black.
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:40:28 AM
Reid
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Default Re: Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration

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Old 03-18-2008, 08:23:57 PM
Reid
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Default Re: Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration

am not having any luck making post form #9's video play,

Plus I wanted to improve the video in re-edit
so that video was since taken down

temp. link to the new video with an embed player working as intended
http://modelsteam.myfreeforum.org/su...078.php#206078



Harry, if you see this
please activate the code below into this form and erase this text, and erase posting #9 as well?

code I can't make work even with [you tube ] tags:

<object width='425' height='366'><param name='movie' value='http://www.youtube.com/cp/vjVQa1PpcFN6tcdilrBWnbIU6m0tUZeA02wGM2UDKCQ='></param><param name='wmode' value='transparent'><embed src='http://www.youtube.com/cp/vjVQa1PpcFN6tcdilrBWnbIU6m0tUZeA02wGM2UDKCQ=' type='application/x-shockwave-flash' wmode='transparent' width='850' height='722'></embed></object>
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Old 03-23-2008, 07:40:48 AM
Reid
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Default Re: Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration

Updates on my learning progress here:
http://modelsteam.myfreeforum.org/su...791.php#207791

because I can edit existing posts at that forum,
and here--I've made so may formatting errors.

Harry: am gaining worthwhile experience.
Will be sending two small bottles off to you soon;
have delayed sending the material before now because
I want to be very sure that what I send and what I may advise
may work out for your own experiments and variations to come.

This is a learning process for myself.
The cited thread posting will contain the most germane information
until such time as self-education shows better ways and better recipes for the japan.

Thanks all, will keep you posted,

Reid
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:41:42 PM
plibou plibou is offline
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Default Re: Antique style japan black recreated: a demonstration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reid View Post
Updates on my learning progress here:
http://modelsteam.myfreeforum.org/su...791.php#207791

because I can edit existing posts at that forum,
and here--I've made so may formatting errors.

Harry: am gaining worthwhile experience.
Will be sending two small bottles off to you soon;
have delayed sending the material before now because
I want to be very sure that what I send and what I may advise
may work out for your own experiments and variations to come.

This is a learning process for myself.
The cited thread posting will contain the most germane information
until such time as self-education shows better ways and better recipes for the japan.

Thanks all, will keep you posted,

Reid
Hi All i am new to this forum and I am not too sure if i am posting this in the right place, but here goes anyway. I have studied the post on japan black formula with the greatest of interest. the finish looks fantastic. i have attempted many times to produce such a japan black, but with limited success. the problem lies in the quantities of the agents used. would anybody on this forum be prepared to giude me through the process and quantities The components of the japan black i have attempted are gilsonite,linseed oil, gum turpentine, pine rosin and litharge as a drier many thanks plibou
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