LumberJocks

Roof tar for hand plane japanning?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by ozdude posted 06-14-2018 07:50 AM 810 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ozdude's profile

ozdude

38 posts in 523 days


06-14-2018 07:50 AM

Thanks to all for their info re my last topic regarding two tone wood in a Stanley hand plane knob.

And thanks to DonW for the great pics.

I want to restore this plane to as original as possible, in particular the japanning. Like many restorers I have used the Dupli-Color DE 1635 Ford semi-gloss engine enamel on one of my Australian Stanleys with some success and though it looks very close to original this time I would like to pursue the asphaltum path as per the great piece submitted to lumberjocks by Jay T in 2012 called “Adventures in Japanning”

Jay T used liquid asphaltum mixed with spar varnish in various proportions. The resultant “look” was what I am hoping to achieve on my US No 5 but asphaltum, or Gilsonite as it is also known, is not readily available in Australia and shipping is a no,no due to its flammable nature.

I have read a few articles where some folk have used roof bitumen/tar. This is asphalt derived from petroleum and not the natural stuff that Jay T refers to. I have access to roof bitumen but while some articles are saying it does a good job others say don’t use it.

So to lumberjocks I go again to see if I can find out who is right. Have any lumberjocks out there used roof tar to achieve a good japanning or or is it, as some say, just not the “right stuff”?


20 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18868 posts in 2647 days


#1 posted 06-14-2018 01:46 PM

I was a roofer a lot ng time ago. So that may be the reason I want to screem “don’t even think about it”.

But being more realistic I can say using the term “roof bitumen/tar can mean a lot of things. It’s like saying I’m going to use “glue”. Well… What kind of glue.

Roof tar can come in a can or as a truckload.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View JayT's profile

JayT

5755 posts in 2291 days


#2 posted 06-14-2018 02:03 PM

I saw some of those articles when I was researching for that blog series, too. Since I was able to find asphaltum as was used originally, I never tried any alternative materials. If you can get a small amount of bitumen and try it on some scrap metal, go for it.

There’s not a lot of information out there on replicating japanning, and probably almost none on how to do it with materials not available in the US. You are probably going to end up doing some trial and error if you want to go the japanning route instead of paint.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View ozdude's profile

ozdude

38 posts in 523 days


#3 posted 06-14-2018 10:03 PM

This is the stuff. 60% bitumen. Bitumen is also defined as asphalt so I’m presuming that petroleum derived asphalt is a synthetic asphaltum. Will mess around with a few test pieces and see what happens when I cook it. Might wait till she who must be obeyed goes shopping before I try that in our kitchen oven however!

View Mario's profile

Mario

181 posts in 3476 days


#4 posted 06-14-2018 10:22 PM

I used to buy roofing tar by weight in chunks to be melted on a camp stove, mixed it with naphta, paint thinner or stove fuel, it will make a nice stain for wax or varnish and it has endured through the years. Not bad considering it has been used for the past 2000 years.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

381 posts in 1574 days


#5 posted 06-15-2018 12:06 AM

Have used asphaltum aka Gilsonite for several different uses, including a few japanning repairs on planes.
There is one key piece of information I think is missing in JayT posts, and a few other sites on WWW discussing japanning:

Pure Gilsonite/Asphaltum is considered a mineral. It is not a liquid, it is a solid mined from the earth; typically sold as a powder.

Gilsonite is the highest melting point version of aslphaltum or petroleum solids that can found in nature. The commercial powder has very dark grey/brown color.

It should not be confused with any liquid, especially the emulsions labeled as containing bitumen.
IMHO – Marketing labels for ashpaltum in commercial products and direct comparison to bitumen as very misleading. At retail level, Bitumen is ‘typically’ sold as a thick liquid that contains asphaltum in an emulsion with solvents/oils to make it a liquid (for roofing and road tar). Challenge with bitumen emulsions is very hard to learn which solvents/oils are used in the blend. Many ‘tar’ emulsions often include lower melting point hydrocarbons (or worse oils) that will never solidify; that could be disaster if used as a paint or surface coating in high temperature environment.

Sourcing Gilsonite powder is relatively easy. Since it is solid with high melting point (and very high flash point), it is typically not considered flammable by shipping regulations (unlike asphalt/bitumen emulsions). It is mined from ground in many countries. One of it’s many uses is making black smoke in fireworks. Hence, massive amounts are generally found in countries that produce commercial fireworks. It is found on Ebay and Alibaba.com listings all the time. In USA, there are several small fireworks chemical dealers that also sell it (such as here)

Powder color is misleading as it turns black after remelting on to a surface. Used in a Japanning recipe, film thickness is important. Very thin films of Gilsonite lean towards a brown black (or black with red/green tendencies). If applied thick enough, then a darker black film appears; that seems to match what was found on antique Stanley planes.

Trivia:
=> ‘japanning’ was used as a ‘paint’ for steel castings for special reason. It would be applied after casting, and before annealing process. The annealing ovens would serve double duty, and be used to melt/fuse the coating to surface during anneal process. Post machining operations would remove any stray coating and avoided need for any masking.
=> When Asphaltum/Gilsonite is used as paint pigment in high temperature paints, additional coloring agents were often added. Commonly find carbon black added to Asphaltum to help darken color and reduce required film builds.
=> You can still buy Japan Black or bitumen based paints today, but they generally only sold in 55 gallon drum quantities for commercial manufacturing.

Japan black or japanning has been used commercially since 1800’s for protecting metal, there are massive number of WWW references if you really search for information about it.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Johnny7's profile

Johnny7

380 posts in 1170 days


#6 posted 06-15-2018 01:03 AM

Good stuff, CaptainKlutz!

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

471 posts in 1056 days


#7 posted 06-15-2018 01:04 AM

View JayT's profile

JayT

5755 posts in 2291 days


#8 posted 06-15-2018 02:10 AM

Good info, CaptainKlutz. In the blog series, I do reference powdered gilsonite in several of the installments and the second installment starts with:

Well, the reason I went with the liquid asphaltum was that it takes care of the intial step of dissolving the powder by having it in the xylol solution. You could just as easily purchase powdered gilsonite and dissolve it yourself over the course of a couple of days.

Was not aware it was used in fireworks manufacture. The only place I ran across smaller quantities was from art supply stores.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View ozdude's profile

ozdude

38 posts in 523 days


#9 posted 06-15-2018 07:01 AM

Great info CaptainKlutz and really good to know the powder can be shipped from the US okay. I found a supplier in Colorado on ebay.

I have attached the ad in the hope that you might confirm it’s definitely the stuff that I should be chasing and if so what is the best solvent for this material before mixing with spar varnish as JayT suggests.

Also, post costs to Australia are up there. I don’t mind that too much if I can get some mileage out of it. Do you reckon a pound of powder would do quite a few planes?

PS. Tried the roofing putty. DonW is right. Don’t even think about it!

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

896 posts in 654 days


#10 posted 06-15-2018 08:26 AM

A question for you? Are you looking to make the piece more authentic? Or just redo the metal to keep it from rusting, and provide a uniform covering of black?

A few years ago the use of automotive engine paints, the ones that can allow the engine to preform at super high heat ranges was used by many to do #2 in a manner some even called easy, because #1 is some work, and unless your wife is understanding, baking that crap in the house can lead to a divorce.

Quite a bit has been written about it I’m just throwing out options for you.

-- Think safe, be safe

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

381 posts in 1574 days


#11 posted 06-15-2018 01:00 PM

Divorce? HaHa, Better idea is getting a new home, or least major remodel to remove the smell if try using kitchen oven.

ozdude -

#1: IMHO hassle of making authentic asphaltum japanning for hand plane is a complete waste of time. If I did not have the materials laying around from another hobby, I would have never done it. It was interesting to do once, but no fun a second time. I permanently ruined a BBQ grill with tar stink after doing only 3 planes. I would never attempt to dry/cure Japan black coating inside a home, NEVER!

If you are still going to attempt japan black process:

1) I have no experience with supplier you posted from ebay, so can not help. It does look like Gilsonite I used in past is about all I say.

2) Finding chemical raw materials requires significant research.
=> I would be shocked if you were not able to buy Gilsonite powder locally in Australia.
If I wanted Gilsonite in your area; would make a couple calls to local fireworks mfg and ask them where you might buy some Gilsonite to use a paint pigment. If the professional mfg are not willing to offer advice on raw material sourcing, contact the Pyrotechnics Industry Association of Australia.
To be blunt: Pyrotechnics is somewhat a closed society. With all bad press generated by anything that makes noise, and potential for misuse; it can be difficult to find pyro materials (even something as innocuous as Asphaltum). Many times a face to face visit, or registering with a local club is the only way to get information.

=> As JayT stated, another source for Gilsonite is art supply stores. Using Gilsonite as pigment is not very common, but should be available. Note art supply will charge 10x what it might cost from other bulk sources.

=> China is one of the largest exporters of Gilsonite in world, and it is cheap. Premium grade USA milled Gilsonite costs used to cost ~50 cents a pound in bulk, 20KG bag cost me <$100 a few years ago. Stuff from China usually cost less. Hard to believe it would be cheaper for you to get pound shipped from US, then to get it from south east Asian source? Might have to think big to obtain small amount of it for same/less cost. :)

JayT –
I saw you mention powered Gilsonite. Your blog is most helpful. Nothing negative was intended.
My primary point is that pure powdered Asphaltum comes from mining Gilsonite mineral, and is NOT same as cheaper bitumen derived from refining petroleum (found in tar).
While chemically similar, Bitumen derived from petroleum has significant higher impurity levels, including carbon black and minerals. These impurities are hard to quantify without refining data and can impact performance. So if you use bitumen product, need to test it before committing anything valuable to process.

With any chemical, please use proper protective equipment at all times!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View ozdude's profile

ozdude

38 posts in 523 days


#12 posted 06-15-2018 10:45 PM

Thanks guys. Wanna stay happily married for the time being so back to my trusty Ford engine enamel it is.

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

471 posts in 1056 days


#13 posted 06-15-2018 11:19 PM

You could also use a bbq grill but would have to pay close attention to the heat.

View JayT's profile

JayT

5755 posts in 2291 days


#14 posted 06-15-2018 11:29 PM

No negative taken. I read your earlier post to mean that you weren’t sure if I mentioned gilsonite being available as a powder and I wanted to point out that it is mentioned, in case someone else reading this thread is as unfamiliar with the products and process and I was starting out.

ozdude, I didn’t find the amount of odor when baking outside to be obnoxious, but definitely would not do it in the house. If you don’t have a good, safe way to heat the japanning up enough to get a good set, then sticking with paint for the time being is a good idea.

BTW, if you do find powdered asphaltum/gilsonite, either xylol or turpentine should work for a solvent. Don’t know if either of those are readily available in Australia or not.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View ozdude's profile

ozdude

38 posts in 523 days


#15 posted 06-16-2018 08:30 AM

Thanks JayT. Yes xylol is readily available here. I’m still sort of keen on the idea. The cost of US gilsonite on ebay is okay but the post is a bit cruel.

Obtaining asphaltum powder from fireworks manufacturers as CaptainKlutz suggests is no longer an option here as every manufacturer has gone out of business. All of Australia used to celebrate Guy Fawkes night, which was a celebration of the “gunpowder plot” whereby in 1605 a Mr Guy Fawkes planted a huge quantity of explosives under the House of Lords in England in an attempt to assassinate King James the First. The authorities received a tip off and the plot came undone. Mr Fawkes was tortured until he finally confessed. As luck would have it he fell from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck.

But I digress. Fireworks for the domestic market, and consequently Guy Fawkes night, were banned in OZ many years ago due to too many kids being blinded. Notwithstanding houses burning down left right and center and huge forest fires starting up all over the place due to wayward rockets. Ahh! The memories!

Sadly, the multi-million dollar displays on New Year’s Eve etc. are now the only fireworks we get to see.

Anyway, although there will be difficulties, if I can bear the pain of the post cost from the US I think I’d still like to have a go at replicating the original some time in the future. Cheers!

showing 1 through 15 of 20 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com