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The Bitumen Experiment


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34 replies to this topic

#21
Landlubber Mike

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Chris, thanks very much for sharing your info on this post.  I agree 100% that what distinguishes the really amazing models out there from the very good is the finish and decorations (at least that's my relatively novice opinion).  I'm testing out some of these techniques on my Pegasus and Lyme using stains and oils for woods, and plan to test out undercoats/washes/dry-brushing highlights and lowlights onto the decorative pieces - eventually, I'll try carving.  I saw that folks in Europe were using bitumen, and I've always been curious as to what it is, how it is applied, etc.

 

Hope you're getting some sleep these days.  My twins are a year and a half now, and I feel like we've finally turned the corner.


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#22
wq3296

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Greetings Chris,

 

With all due respect, I think the finish process you described is a lot of work and, in my opinion, not worth the effort. Painting departments in a Home Depot, Lowe's, Ace, hobby shops, etc. would have any number of finishes that look exactly like yours which can be applied in one go. I just don't understand why builders go through such machinations to reinvent a finish that paint companies have already perfected for our use. Granted, in other countries availability of materials may not be as it is here in the USA. If that is the case, builders have no other choice than to mix up their own concoctions. Other than that, mixing up special stuff seems to be a waste of time.

 

wq3296 



#23
Gaetan Bordeleau

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wq3296,  experimentation with bitumen, let you see with your own eyes finishes that general products cannot even dream to come close to imitate.



#24
wq3296

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Doubtful.  

 

wq3296 



#25
ChrisLBren

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Why don't you post a photo of your finish here using your products - so we can have a look at the results rather than just simply being dismissive of others? We'd love to see some photos.
Chris
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#26
Gaetan Bordeleau

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W..

 

I did experiments with bitumen and i will try to explain what I observed. The main reason to use it is for properties  to make the wood look like older, to give more aging to the wood. This cannot be compare to paint because it does not cover completely. It would be more on the side of dyes. One of the advantage of this powder, is depending of the amount  you add, you will get different results. Asphalt can be mixed with many components depending of the look we want to produce.

 

Beeswax  Slows drying time, soften the color  and more transparent.  Mixing it with the

               bitumen    allows beewax molecules to bind  and make the asphalt more neutral

paraffin: help beewax or could be white wax candle

asphalt:   Was used by the egyptiens for embalming   Oil suluble

 

pine resin:  Gives plastic properties  and can form a varnish if mixed with alcool

natural soap:  probably for the oils in the soap

turpentine:  Fluidity  and solubility of the mix

siccative:   shorter drying time, max 10% of total mix.

 

 

My preference is to mix it with tung oil, that I prefer to other oils. When dry, this oil does not produce a shiny finish which is particuliary visible when you use a flash on the camera. At first, I used only tung oil which gives a look of 50 years in aging the wood. Later I did experiment by adding asphalt.

 

In small quantities, it will act as a dye but  clearer, not as dark as a dye can go. In the mixing, when you exceed his property of absorption by dilution, asphalt  powder will precipitate in the bottom  of the container and if you use this mix, it will produce on the wood a general finish plus different spots which can look like dirt caused by time.

 

I remember the first time I saw the utilisation of bitumen. It was on a 74 gun ship made by A French named Fichant. By using bitumen, he made his model look like 150 years older than it really was.


Edited by Gaetan Bordeleau, 17 October 2014 - 02:09 PM.

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#27
CaptainSteve

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As an extremely curious total novice, may I ask Gaetan and/or Chris what ratios you would recommend ??

For example, how much bitumen powder would you add to 100ml of Tung Oil ??


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#28
wq3296

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Greetings Chris,

 

Go to any store with a paint department and take a look at the stain samples. That's what I use. Don't be so defensive - I'm simply expressing an opinion.

 

wq3296



#29
ChrisLBren

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No pics of your finish/model wq3296?  

 

Great post Gaetan - thanks for the scientific info - I know the Fichant's model - its gorgeous and looks 200 years old.  

 

As to the mix Steve - there are different ways to apply it Gaeten mixes his with Tung Oil.  I'm sure he can help you with the ratios.

 

I learned from  Dimitry Shevelev  mix Bitumen patina 50/50 with mineral spirits and apply to finished and fully cured pure Tung Oil (at least two coats) - it sort of acts like a wash in oil painting - and wipe off the excess.  

 

Here's an example of his work (i think he learned this technique from Fichant.

 

http://www.shipmodel...te/74_gun_ship/

 

Hope this helps,

Chris


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#30
jud

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Be hard to beat the looks of that 74.

jud



#31
mtaylor

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AlexBeranov and Garward also use the bitumen so you might have a look that their logs.


Mark

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#32
Gaetan Bordeleau

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Captain Steve,

 

What is pleasant with these mixes, everyone can create a mix which suits his needs. I do not follow any ratios. I add bitumen till I am satisfied with the result on a test piece of wood.

 

In this case, 3 ingredients are involved; bitumen, tung oil and turpentine.

Bitumen and tung oil can be mixed together but it is easier if turpentine is used first to help to dissolve the bitumen.

 

Bitumen can be applied with or without the tung oil together or separately. Again,  testing is the answer.

 

When possible, I prefer 1 coat of tung oil. I have never tried by example 10 coats, but I suspect that there woul be a kind of brilliant finish with a certain thickness. Also I think that this finish could be  reflective to the camera flash. I prefer the look of 1 coat, because it has a more natural look without this plastic finish. This reflective surface was particuliary true with linseed oil teck oil which, I guess, are not as refine.

 

Chris,

 

when you say that it sort of acts like a wash in oil painting  this is true especially for the first coat but not so  true for the second coat depending of the drying tie between the 2 coats.


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#33
ChrisLBren

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Hey Gaetan 

 

For me the trick of applying pure tung is to cut the first coat 50/50 with mineral spirits and then apply a second coat at full strength 24 hours later.  I found that the thinned first coat insured even absorption of the second coat.  Also much less seepage which is a tendency of pure tung. 

 

I am using Bitumen patina (which is a liquid) sold by art stores in Europe.  It sounds like you are using the solid form of Bitumen.  As far as the bitumen mix I've only used one coat thinned 50/50 with spirits after the tung is fully cured (a few days later) and it did go on like a wash.  I haven't attempted a second bitumen coat - I'm sure the ageing effect would be more pronounced.  

 

I am curious to see how the effect would change if mixed it directly in the tung oil instead of used as a top coat.  Ill have to try that one !

Chris


Edited by ChrisLBren, 17 October 2014 - 08:27 PM.


#34
Gaetan Bordeleau

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Hi Chris,

 

there are definitely not only one way to apply it.

Yes I use it as a powder, I did not  know it was sold as a liquid also.



#35
Bill Hime

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To All;

I know this topic is a few years old, but what a great exchange of information! Thank you to ChrisLBren for starting it and maintaining the decorum that one should always expect at MSW!

 

 

Sincere Regards,

 

Bill


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