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reason for my question re: parkers. it's my understanding that parkers were finished with shellac but that doesn't mean they didn't use alkanet for coloring. J. Howe describes coloring with linseed, turps and alkanet on preparation for shellac finish. Any reason to believe Parker was doing something different in 1893? maybe just using a garnet shellac?


Jim
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I'm with you Woodreaux.


_________
...never pay Dave "one more dime"
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Originally Posted By: Woodreaux
[quote=damascus]Alkanet or not to alkanet that is the question?


Woodreaux,
Great pun!

As to what Parker Bros. used to finish their wood I do not know. I will ask over at the Parker Arms forum.

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what I've seen there and elsewhere gave me the idea that shellac was the typical finish on Parkers. That doesn't answer the question about whether they used alkanet or some other colorants though. Seems like the Americans used a variety of things, with alkanet still being the most common.

Addition:
If you're looking for a shellac finish, Ken61 shared his method on here some time ago. It starts with alkanet oil, followed by shellac, and french polish. It is very similar to the shellac finish published by James Howe in 1941. Donald Newell also described 'antique' shellac finishes in his 1949 book in gun finishes.

Last edited by Woodreaux; 11/30/20 06:08 PM.

Jim
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Jim,

Thanks for the formulas.

John

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I have just recently bought and used the SB McWilliams alkanet oil as well as the alkanet varnish. So far I am impressed with the product. The varnish is thin which is alot easier for me to work with allowing for a smooth self leveling finish. The alkanet oil finish is also a very subtle color and dries relatively fast considering it's a linseed oil base. Not an overpowering red color. Definitely going to be using more of this in my next refinishes.

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Woodreaux, I have tried to find the post by Ken61 on shellac using the search engine. Unfortunately I have not been able to do so with success. Any idea of the time period for this posting?

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searching can be tricky. I believe it was from some time ago, though I couldn't point you to an exact date.

I did include it in a summary of traditional finishes, which you can access by clicking on the link here and requesting access.

Ken61's finish is on page 13.

There are also several shellac finishes from early (c1940s) American gunsmiths, such as Howe and Newell, which you'll find in the second half of the document


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I have used the McWilliams Alkanet finish. My only complaint is the slow drying time. Al least two days air drying at 70 degrees. It applies beautifully using a hand rubbed method.

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Since I last posted I am halfway into a English walnut stock using the alkanet oil finish and am very impressed. I finished a stock using the alkanet varnish and also impressed with it. Finish looks great after I finished it off with a rottenstone polish. I am actually able to get a coat a day on the oil version but I am very conservative in my application. My bottle I am very judicious in getting the cap on quickly as I'm sure some of the drying agent could evaporate. As with any finish the key is application and preparation and not necessarily the product as I have made cheap furniture finishes look great when applied to a stock.

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