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  1. #51
    RobertP's Avatar
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    http://www.apug.org/forums/attachment.php attachmentid=8789&stc=1&d=1192399539....Scott, this is what I use. It is a wickless dual element alcohol lamp. It came with the little short wind shield that you see in the pic. I added the stainless pipe chimney and it keeps the heat more centered. I have 4 of these that I use simultaneously for 12x20 plates. It provides a huge heating area.
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  2. #52
    RobertP's Avatar
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    Varnish provides a protective surface regardless if it is an ambrotype or a negative. The collodion surface is very fragile. But I'm sure there are people who leave them bright. But why risk damaging it when you already have put so much work into it already. I'm not sure what atmospheric contaminants would do to the collodion surface also.

  3. #53

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    Of course varnish protects both ambros and negs. But originally, ambros were matted and cased. Ray Morgenweck sums it up neatly:

    "Sulfur compounds in the air eventually tarnish and darken the silver. The surface highlight areas buff down to a sheen. Gradually the whole plate looks greyer. Tintypes develop rust blooms.

    If you seal the plate from the air, by using a cover glass and a mat spacer, the image will last essentially unchanged for years. Some of your best plates can be the bright and white ones, prior to varnish. So, theres no reason not to seal them and keep them that way. An 'underexposed' ambrotype on black glass, left white and bright and sealed up, has a wide tonal range and can be stunning under good lighting. I use bulldog clamps to hold it together, and Scotch 3M photographic tape (black, available through Pearl Art) to seal the edges.

    Id say, if you dont want to varnish, get a good method of sealing. If you do, dont bother with other varnishes, learn to use the sandarac well."


    Regards,
    Neil

  4. #54
    RobertP's Avatar
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    There goes to show you two different schools of thought. The Morganwreck and the Coffer. Why not varnish first and then have the best of both worlds. Yes the sandarac lavender varnish is the only way to go. I have noticed at a certain angle my tintypes have a flare or metalic look that I don't find very appealing. But I find varnishing even easier than flowing the plate and it adds even more to the aesthetic. At Coffer's we would shoot all day long and then after dinner varnish plates by oil lamp way into the night. Again I guess it is just a matter of taste, but I do know some people who just can't get the hang of varnishing or hate that step for some reason.

  5. #55
    RobertP's Avatar
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    The old 1860"s literature goes into great detail about varnishing. So even though they may have been matted and cased they were probably varnished first. I had the pleasure of holding Gardner's plate of Lincoln and a few of Brady's plates when I toured the National Archives in College Park, Md. All were varnished and they looked gorgeous some 150 years later. These were bare plates no matting, or framing.That sold me on lavendar varnish.
    Last edited by RobertP; 10-14-2007 at 06:36 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #56

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    There's a very simple reason not to varnish - the plate was incorrectly exposed but looks pretty good as-is, whilst varnishing it would detract from its look, i.e.: kill the brights.

    The old literature also mentions that tintypists and others at big events didn't have time varnish (for some odd reason - I would have thought it was quite a quick process, but maybe some sandarac formulations took too long to set - I've seen some that have impressions/marks/defects in the surface that were obviously caused by them not having been dried sufficiently before being put into purse or pocket). Rob Kendrick cites this somewhere.

    Sandarac isn't the only way to go either - the CWR forum has a piece about the civil war where tintypists were gathered around the soldiers and taking pictures, it mentions their "amber beads" and chloroform - it's a varnish as old as sandarac: not as tough, but it hardens fully almost immediately. And there were others - plenty of others, using lac, dammar, copal and other gums/resins.

    BTW, another thing about sandarac varnish is the fact that nowadays it is used on a warm plate, sometimes it is even warmed itself. Towler (author of the pretty definitive text "The Siver Sunbeam") quotes it as being applied cold. A cold varnish on a cold plate. Maybe the plate was only warmed in the first place to dry it? Who knows. I suppose it would have taken even longer to set-up used like that.

    I guess that JC and the rest of us were not around in the latter part of the 1800s, or we wouldn't have to reinvent a process that was so well documented back then.

    Regards,
    Neil.

  7. #57
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    Robert and Neil thanks for the back and forth.
    There were some interesting tidbits in there.

    Scott

  8. #58
    RobertP's Avatar
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    Neil, So what you are citing here is the only ones who didn't varnish back then were probably the ones who didn't have the time to. Yes chloroform is still used today in some varnish formulas. But a lot of people have come to the conclusion that it is a solvent and it adds no significant value when compared the the voliatility of the chemical. But some will argue otherwise. But the bottom line is if you want to do wet plate then learn to varnish. The plate is warmed, then flowed with vanrish with the pour off end dabbed to take off the excess then warmed again to set the varnish. The formulas we use now are just like the formulas used back then. It doesn't take that long unless they were shooting for a penny a pic back then and were in a hurry to produce as many plates that were equal to the people that were standing in line. So they were in a hurry. There were a lot of very small plates being produced in 1/9 plate and 1/16 ( postage stamp size) For these they may have figured, why bother. When there was a line of 20 people waiting to get their picture taken and varnishing just held things up. And at a penny a pic?
    Last edited by RobertP; 10-14-2007 at 08:03 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #59
    RobertP's Avatar
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    I want to try the chloroform formula. There is a guy on the CWR site that uses it and they say his varnish is the best around. Although it is just a small amount in his formula.
    Last edited by RobertP; 10-14-2007 at 08:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #60
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    Okay, I have another question that had my curiosity from the beginning. I'm sure most of you don't do the tests and I realize it's a range, but I was wondering what the approximate ISO is for this process. I know it's slow....



 

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