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About FatFingers

  • Birthday 01/12/1971

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    Dunblane, Scotland

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  1. Strictly speaking 'french polishing' is a technique for applying shellac based finish to wood which involved a pad of cloth saturated in the shellac solution. A great deal of antique furniture was finished with shellac rather than varnish, originally varnishes being made from turpentine and amber. Shellac is a naturally occurring plastic that dissolves in methanol - the solvent used is methylated spirits, so use in a well ventilated area - and because it is solvent based when a new layer is added it partially dissolves the previous coat and flows into it - so that there is not really one layer upon another, if you see what I mean. I can attest to its finish being superb, I've used it on a mahogany guitar and a number of other things. The guitar was finished with grain filler to stop the finish sinking into the end grain, then sanding sealer (which was another shellac solution with ground up pumice as a very fine filler) That was flatted of with 1000 grade wet and dry and then a couple layers of final shellac/french polish. The result was like glass. I have always applied the finish with a brush, never actually the proper french polishing technique. Also, shellac is know to be neutral with most other finishes, it doesn't react with them and craze for example, hence why it is used for sanding sealers.
  2. What have you received today?

    Picked up some nice books, bound in tooled navy blue leather. Algebra, Plane Trigonometry, Analytical Statics, Integral Calculus and Differential Calculus, all by Isaac Todhunter, along with Natural Philosophy by Dionysius Lardner. The (tenuous) relevance to ships are the dedications: In the books by Isaac Todhunter it reads, "Portsmouth Yard Presented to Thomas J. Dodd Shipwright Apprentice, by the Lords of the Admiralty, for his excellent conduct, and progress in his studies, during the year 1866." While in the book by Dionysius Lardner it reads, "This book was presented to Thomas Dodd as a mark of their Lordships approbation of his uniform good conduct and progress in his studies during the year 1863" The Admiralty Superintendent signatures I can't read.

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