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Subject: Consolidation of wood

Consolidation of wood

From: Marc A. Williams <artcons>
Date: Saturday, August 4, 2001
Michelle C. Messinger <mcmes [at] parks__ca__gov> writes

>I like to know what kind of experience any one has had with linseed
>oil in turpentine and paint thinner as a wood consolidant. How does
>it effect the wood? Is this an older method of wood consolidation
>coming out of the field of furniture conservation? Does it
>effectively strengthen deteriorated wood, or on the contrary, have
>an adverse effect on wood?

The linseed oil / turpentine or mineral spirits concept is ancient.
The same mixture has been used for thousands of years as the binding
agent for oil paints.  In a different formulation, it has been used
as a coating or polish for furniture, woodwork and even paintings.

All of this was prior to the development of the conservation
profession.  It became immediately apparent to conservators that
linseed oil formulations cross-linked and became insoluble with
time, darkened severely, and were excellent food sources for mold
and mildew growth.  Unfortunately, its use is still listed in
publications, even very recent ones, and a few restorers and other
practitioners still use and recommend it.  The current "crop" of
synthetic resins are much more stable, do a significantly better job
of strengthening, are far more reversible, and do not darken.

In a related issue, shellac also has been used historically as a
consolidant, but its properties fall well short of the modern resins

Marc Williams, President
American Conservation Consortium, Ltd.
85 North Road
Fremont, NH 03044 USA

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:15
                 Distributed: Wednesday, August 8, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-15-004
Received on Saturday, 4 August, 2001

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