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Thread: darkening varnish?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,825

    darkening varnish?

    I probably just haven't been paying attention. But, does varnish darken with time?
    Today, I watched a recorded Roy Underhill show about making Adirondack type furniture. They showed some original 1850 furniture that was almost black. The owner explained that it took that color over time because the varnish finish naturally darkens with time.
    Is this still true with modern varnishes?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Orem, Utah
    Posts
    935
    I can't answer your question Frank, but I saw the same show this morning and was pretty impressed by the shiny "black" coating too.

    When 1850's folks say "varnish" ... "I wonder if they are using the same [word] we are using?" (Apologies to Iņigo Montoya. )

  3. #3
    Both the finish and the wood oxidize but, most likely the reason for turning black was the linseed oil(either part of the varnish or maybe applied to the piece).Linseed oil has turned a lot of very old furniture black and shellack was usually(wrongfully) blamed.

    Jerry

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