I have an old (1910) bungalow, slowly going through and stripping paint
off of pretty much everything. My question is NOT what COULD I use for
finishing the old Douglas fir trim, but what do you think they really
did use, back in 1910?
:> I have an old (1910) bungalow, slowly going through and stripping paint:> off of pretty much everything. My question is NOT what COULD I use for:> finishing the old Douglas fir trim, but what do you think they really:> did use, back in 1910?
: If you look in reprinted bungalow house plan books, they often mention
: that the interior woodwork is finished with varnish.
But shellac was known back then as spirit varnish, so it might be shellac.
-- Andy Barss
Seems that anything with a "spirit" - alcohol, spirit of turpentine -
solvent, and a resin - e.g. sandarac,copal - is often referred to as a
"spirit varnish," at least of late. This to distinguish them from
curing-oil types which may contain the same resin.
Thanks for the ideas.
I'm inclined to think that shellac was used in my house. In the main
rooms, the paint strips off pretty easily, making me think that the
wood was coated first. The bedrooms seem to have been painted from day
one, just very poorly painted from day two (and so on, with about
fifteen more coats.)
If it is shellac, it should still dissolve easily with alcohol even
after all these years. You could try under the paint in an
inconspicuous spot if you really want to know.
For what it's worth, lacquer was not yet in use in 1910 before WWI, and
the only non-natural-resin varnish that might have been available was
phenolic-resin varnish. Alkyd-resin (polyester) and urethane-resin
varnishes did not become available until the 20's and 30's.
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