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Subject: Consolidation of wood

Consolidation of wood

From: Lori Arnold <larnold>
Date: Monday, August 6, 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?

There are a few problems associated with linseed oil. Yes, it is
somewhat reversible, but difficult to remove--especially with
turpentine as a carrier. If not removed completely, it can
compromise future treatments that may be applied to the wood.

The major drawback to linseed oil is it's tendency to oxidize by
turning yellow and crazing over time. While certain beetles are
quite fond of it, it is also notorious for attracting dirt. It will
not form a hard film as it does in the context of paint, but will
give you a temporary look of "freshened" wood.

If you would like to avoid using a synthetic product, you may
explore other oils used in traditional wood restoration--such as
boiled tung or walnut oil. Once dried, both are very elastic and
produce a flat finish.

There are some questions you need to ask before implementing such a
treatment, though. Is there an existing finish and what is it? Why
does the wood need to be "consolidated"? Will there be a need to
further treat the wood in the future? Please feel free to contact me
if you have any further questions.

Lori Arnold
Architectural Conservator
John Milner Associates, Inc.
1216 Arch Street, 5th Floor
Philadelphia, PA  19107
Fax: 215-977-7360

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:15
                 Distributed: Wednesday, August 8, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-15-005
Received on Monday, 6 August, 2001

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