Several days away from the japanning project didn’t really help. There were too many times in those days that my mind returned to the problem and just wouldn’t leave it alone, but no solutions were forthcoming. Finally, it took walking out to the shop again, looking at everything on the bench and BAM . . . there it was!
The plane I used when testing the finish blends didn’t have any brush marks, and it was the same formula that I had first used that didn’t sag.
What was the difference? When testing the blends, I used a cheap flux/glue brush, not the artist’s brush. That resulted in more than a few bristles in the test finishes, but it didn’t matter for that purpose. Could it be that the flat brush was applying the finish too thin and it was setting up too fast to self level? A quick trip back to Hobby Lobby to see what else might be available and I purchased an inexpensive set that included two mop brushes,.
These had a thicker head than the flat brush I started with, thicker even than the glue brush, but with much finer bristles.
With a renewed sense of purpose, it was time to try again. This time I used a old Bailey No 5 (I believe it is a type 9) that was picked up at an auction in a lot with another 605 I actually wanted for the parts. It had been broken in the past, so one side was brazed and two corners were still chipped, but it had almost no original japanning. Using this plane would allow me to work on the japanning without fear of doing any additional damage to the Bedrocks.
After wire brushing off the little bit of remaining original japanning, the Bailey was wiped down with xylol to have a clean bed. By the time I had a paint brush out and the jar of japanning open, the solvent had dried and so a first coat was laid on—this time using a mop brush instead of the flat brush.
The result was a much thicker first coat than my original attempt, but within a short time of applying the japanning, there were no brush marks!
Encouraged by this, I left the plane overnight and mentally attacked the problem of getting a good cure on the finish.
-- Pay heed all who enter: Beware of "the Phog" Rock Chalk, Jayhawk