Flat Varnish for Interior Varnishing

Flat Varnish for Interior Varnishing

Flat varnish is used for interior wood varnishing.

Craftsman Style

Flat Varnish. An interior varnish which dries with a dull lustre, rather than high gloss as usual, resembling the appearance of a hand-rubbed gloss varnish. The effect is not exactly the same, but it is beautiful and for a great many jobs the flat varnish serves the purpose fully and at less cost, because the flat is gained without the labor cost of rubbing.

¶ Flatting varnishes are made on many formulas, most of which include the use of wax of one kind or another. China wood oil (tung oil) is also used. In the raw state this oil dries naturally flat, so its use in flatting varnish simply requires that it be not cooked to the point where it loses this flat-drying characteristic. There is also a flat-drying spirit varnish made usually with shellac? glycerine, etc. It is not much used.

¶ The best of flat varnishes are made without wax, because wax put on to a surface in varnish or otherwise makes a very poor foundation for future coats of varnish, paint or enamel when it comes time to refinish. To be safe every trace of wax on a surface to be re-finished must be removed with turpentine, benzole, sanding, etc. Wax never really dries, though it sets fairly hard when rubbed with weighted brushes. No varnish or paint will adhere to it for long. The flat varnish finishes are very effective over open-grain, unfilled oak and walnut.

¶ There are a number of formulas by which finishers mix flat varnish, but the wisdom of the practice is open to question, if labor is worth anything and if it is worthwhile to have products of known dependability, standard working properties and quality generally. In an emergency when a small amount of flat varnish is needed for a surface which is not likely to be refinished in the future the finisher can mix a flat-drying varnish in this manner:

¶ 4 ounces pure beeswax, dissolved in 1 quart of turpentine, 1 gallon of varnish.

¶ The more wax used the flatter the varnish will be. Place the pot of turpentine in a pail of hot water and shave the wax into it. When the wax is all dissolved take a gallon of hard drying varnish like floor, interior spar, coach, etc., and after heating it by placing the can in a pail of boiling hot water pour the wax solution into the varnish and stir it well into the varnish. Let the mixture stand a day or two if possible and then strain it through a double thickness of cheesecloth to remove any undissolved wax or grit which might disfigure the finished job.

¶ Another formula for flatting varnish which may be used in an emergency is mixed:

¶ 1 gallon of flatting oil (sold for making flat wall paint from white lead).

¶ 1 pint of good interior varnish, floor, spar, coach, etc.

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This is Flat Varnish for Interior Varnishing.


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