Steve, There are a few people experimenting with across-the-counter varnishes with mixed results. If you look at the old literature you'll find at least 5 or 6 formulas from back then that people were using other than the sandarac formula. So I wouldn't worry about getting flamed for asking a good question. I use the sandarac formula because it is cheap, easy to make, and produces beautiful results. A lot of questions arise about the long term effects of across-the-counter varnishes but I'm all for someone who can come up with a better mouse trap. If you go to the wet plate forum you'll find pages on this discussion with some recommendations for across-the-counter varnishes. Another perk of the sandarac varnish is that beautiful lavender smell it produces while varnishing. Plus when varnishing a plate for someone in the field it is ready to go after the final heating to set the varnish, where the across-the-counter varnish takes a day or so to set up. I'm far from being a reenactor/traditionalist so I say use what ever works best for you.
Last edited by RobertP; 01-06-2009 at 06:01 AM. Click to view previous post history.