Common Names & Confusion


Common Names & Confusion or Where Is Daniel Webster When He’s REALLY Needed?
I’ve heard that Daniel Webster is the person most responsible for the success of the United States. And he did it with a book - his dictionary. And when you think about it, that makes sense. Think of it, German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, Norwegian, French, Portuguese, British, Russian, Hebrew, Italian, Mohawk, Sioux, Iriquoise - and each with regional dialects that were almost a separate language within their nominal languge (ever tried to have a conversation with a cockney?). Primitve sign language and Pidgin (sp?) “english” will only take you so far. To really do anything complex you need a common language, with defined terms and some rules for pronunciation so verbal exchanges could be useful and meaningful. For most of us, lawyers, physicist and interior decorators being exceptions, the word “green” has pretty much the same meaning for everyone.
When there’s a dispute on the meaning of a word - good old Mr. Webster’s dictionary settles things, minimizing misunderstandings and confusion. Not so when it comes to finishes - in this case - wood finishes.
Wtih finishes, all bets are off. And there even seems to be an intentional confusion built into the names of finishes. What we have is Babyl - or more commonly - babble. Paint thinner, mineral spirits, mineral oil, naptha, alcohol, denatured alcohol, oils, boiled oils, driers, catalysts, alkyd, urethane, polyurethane, lacquer, varnish, water-based/water-born, oil-based/ oil born, cross linked, precatalyzed, catalyzed, varnish, conversion varnish, spar varnish .... We’ll leave dyes for another time.
One volice in the wilderness starts with how finishes work - dividing them into “evaporative” and “reactive” and describes liquid finishes as being made up of “binders” and “fillers”. With “evaporative” finishes, the “fillers” evaporate, leaving behind just the “binders”. With “reactive” finishes, some of the “fillers” also evaporate, but the binders “react” either due to exposure to oxygen, or sunlight or “catalysts” or some combination of them to form a new material/molecule. Both leave behind a transparent or translucent “film” - the “finish”.
Then there’s “hot” finishes and “not hot” finishes. For the former, each new application of the “finish” dissolves the top layer of the previous application of the finiish, forming a continous “film” on the finished piece. For the latter, the “not hot” finish, there is no dissolving of the surface layer of the previous application. You must sand between layers of “not hot” finishes in order to provide a mechanical connection between layers. “Hot” finishes are easy to repair while “not hot” finishes aren’t. Sand through layers of a “not hot” finish and you will get visible ”witness lines” at the interface between each layer you sanded through - and they can’t be removed.
Some finishes are gregrarious - they’ll get along with jst about anything, others are somewhat anti-social and don’t get along with anything, even each other and, in some cases, with themselves, sort of like the guy you may encounter in some parts of any urban center - you know, the guy argueing with himself , often quite loudly.
Then there’s the “tests” to identify what you found in that unlabeled can of finish. “If you put a drop of the mystery finish on a sheet of clean glass, leave it for a day or two and then examine what’s left on the glass, if it’s surface is wrinkled - then it’s an oil-born finish - or is it the other way around - if it’s surface is smooth it’s an oil-born, wrinkled it’s a ....” ( I have the same problem with spaghetti - if it sticks to the wall it’s done, or maybe that means it isn’t done, or ....)
I’ve got three or four books on finishing, - Flexner’s, Dresdner’s and some guy who loves chemical treatments of wood - and nojne of them or combinations of any of them provide clear, concise, mutually exclusive definitions of the common “names” of common finishes. In fact, I’ve found circular definitions with A and B are variations of the same thing, and C & D are variations of a different thing. But when I get through the terms and definitions I’m told that C and Q are variations of the same thing, as are B & Q. (In my college years I had a copy of the CRC Handbook of Mathematics and Physics. A quarter of that book was definitions. If you randomly picked a term, wrote down the definition then looked up the definition of the key words used to define it, and repeated that process for each of those words, eventually I’d find myself back at the word I started with. Try it yourself. Start with what’s a “dyne”? I was going to suggest a Newt or Slug but I thought they’d be too ambiguous. Same for the word “erg”.
But, as often is the case with me, I’ve digressed.
My question:
Is there an authoritative source for the definitions of wood “film forming” finishes? If so - WHAT IS IT?
this inquiring mind wants to know
charlie b
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Speaking of names and confusion, that dictionary guy is Noah Webster, not Daniel. But thanks for playing. <g>
Lee
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charlie b wrote:

Actually, that one's pretty easy. The following is mostly from wikipedia.
A "dyne" is the force required to accelerate a mass of one gram at a rate of one centimetre per second squared.
The gram is a thousandth of the mass of a chunk of platinum/iridium in France.
The metre is defined as equal to the length of the path travelled by light in absolute vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 of a second. A centimetre is one-hundredth this distance.
The second is the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom. This definition refers to a caesium atom at rest at a temperature of 0 K.

An "erg" is equal to a force of one dyne exerted for a distance of one centimetre. In the CGS base units, it is equal to one gram-square centimetre per second squared (g·cm2/s2).
Chris
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There's always one waiting 'round the corner Charlie........;-)
And - no. I don't have an answer for you either.
Bob S.

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