When we left off, the first coat of Japanning had been applied and allowed to cure. The next day, here is what I had.
Even given 24 hours in a very hot and dry Kansas summer, the finish was still a bit tacky. The few internet posts I had found said that you needed to either bake the finish or allow it to cure 30 days or so. A couple also mentioned applying two coats before doing either of those, so I pressed on with another light coat and let it set overnight.
In order to try and help the curing process, I decided to leave the plane outside in the sun the next day for several hours on a 100 degree afternoon. The hope was that I could cut the 30 day cure time down quite a bit. While the resulting finish was more cured than just air drying inside the shop, I ran into a new issue—brush marks!
If you look at the above picture, you can see the slight brush marks from the first coat. Instead of the second coat filling and leveling those out, as I had hoped it would, it amplified them. No photo of those. I was so disgusted that it didn’t even cross my mind to take a picture.
This poor experience led to several attempts to redo the process that the only thing they accomplished was to allow Murphy’s law to intervene. Using another plane, I tried thinning the mix to get better flow. That was accomplished, but it also resulted in sag and bubbling around any vertical surface. I tried allowing the plane to cure in the sun after every coat, but still ended up with brush marks and a finish that, while not tacky any longer, also wasn’t as hard as necessary. A couple other ideas also backfired, so finally it was time to for:
I stripped the two planes I had been using, put everything on the workbench and just had to walk away for a few days before starting over.
-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835