There is an alternative to the gum sandarac for doing your varnish - Talas sells a clear acrylic varnish material that you can use and it takes a LOT less work to make than the gum sandarac version, because you don't have to filter it (unlike the gum, which you have to filter, and filter, and filter, and filter.... and get all over your hands... ). Google "Talas" to find their website - they're an archival supplies vendor for first and foremost the hand-made book trade (book restorers, etc).