Monday, 10 June 2013

DIY Vintage Machine Japanning 2

About to get hot
I decided that the Japan job I'd done wasn't up to scratch. Put it in the oven for the requisite three hours. The smell in the kitchen (the machine wouldn't fit into the BBQ) and the subsequent attempt to rub it down was unsuccessful.
After the oven, not very smooth

  So I stripped it all again and painted it with enamel. Well, I have to say that the enamel's biggest downfall is that it's so damned thin! The Japan from the methylated 78 was very thick and was indeed quite suitable for the job but it was a bit lumpy. In retrospect, I should have just filtered it through a stocking.
I think I'll probably have to make a mixture out of shellac and asphaltum and re-Japan the machine.

Damn, the "asphaltum" I ordered from Jacksons turned out to be lump rosin. I'll be sending it back of course (I assume they'll want back, since it costs twice as much as asphaltum), but it meant when I decided to redo the Japan, I used the dissolved record mix again. This time I practically poured it over the base of the machine. I'll leave it four or so days to dry (or longer if necessary), sand it back then fire it in the BBQ (after making a bit of room there, or turning it sideways) since I'll probably die if I use the kitchen again (from either fumes or being subsequently murdered). Haven't taken any photos of the new Japanned surface - it looks pretty much the same as the last time, only a bit smoother. This time I also mixed some Shellac into the mixture and filtered before pouring. Brushes must be used only within a few seconds of the pour or else you'll get definite brush strokes appearing and staying on the surface. Yes these can be removed later, but it's not easy, particularly after firing the machine, when the Japan is really quite hard. I'll also attempt to remove more of the mechanical components beforehand - it scared me when after it was last fired the machine was completely siezed. I've bought some tri-flow oil now in anticipation of this happening again.
OK, more later, but I'm convinced that the dissolved record will give the most accurate surface now. Alternative is to proceed with enamel, giving it about three or four cans worth, or about 30 or so coats to build up enough paint to exceed the depth of the casting marks. If the surface remains dull as it did the first time, I will shine it using more shellac, dissolved in metho and applied using a cotton cloth.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, really interesting on the japanning. Do you have pictures of the final product? I have been experimenting with cold cure japanning. One site stated a 50/50 mix but that did not work. What I found was mixing some with spar varnish (more flexible and breathes compared to regular) works but first coat is a brownish and requires many coats to turn black. I used a giant chunk of asphalt that looked like obsidium for making arrow heads. Melted with a hair dryer into the spar varnish but only a little. Every day is a new coat same as applying spar varnish procedures. Takes a full 4 weeks for a full cure harden. I'm still working it but will use a spray on gloss krylon paint over the japanning when done. This is for a bed of a circa 1914 Singer 16-88 (wider bed than the 16-188) that was worn off almost completely. Will likely also do this to a 1926 Pfaff 34. Best regards, Mike