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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Spring Hill, FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanP View Post
    My comments are from an historic preservationists perspective and not as an expert in making CW equipment. The term Oil Cloth far predates the CW and was primarily a floor covering in the form of a small rug. They were extremely rigid and not intended to be pliable at all. I would eliminate the corn starch completely. What is available to us today as Turpentine is probably not what the recipe is referencing to. Mid 19th c. Turpentine was available in two grades. The Turpentine mentioned in the recipe would have been a highly distilled version with almost all of the gum removed. This is same material used in early lighting devices and marketed as Camphene, first emerging in 1832. Undistilled Turpentine was a problem for cotton lamp wicks for same reason it would be a problem in making a poncho. Too much gum which will dry hard when the spirits evaporate. Remember, paints didn't start as liquids. They were purchased as a dry pigment (powder) to be mixed with binders and aggregates when you received them. I haven't done a lot of research on the CW recipes but I know couldn't duplicate them by picking up ingredients at the local hardware store. That's a problem in architectural historic preservation too, but there's usually a way to recreate 19th c materials.
    Based on the amount of period painted goods I've been blessed to see, I would respectfully disagree about the advice of skipping the starch. Starch was used during the period to fill the pores and weave of the material as well as smooth the material for the proper application. Without the starch, you don't get a good, even distribution. A secondary reason for the starch was to protect the material from breaking down from the harsh properties of period paint. When the paint begin to crack and loosen in used goods, the paint will just flake off of the cloth and makes it easy to touch it up when needed. The proper use of starch is critical to getting the right look, feel, and application of painted cloth goods.
    Ross L. Lamoreaux
    Tampa Bay History Center
    www.tampabayhistorycenter.org
    On Facebook at: Tampa Bay History Center Living History Programs

    "The simplest things, done well, can carry a huge impact" - Karin Timour, 2012

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Tuskaloosa, Alabama
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    4,366

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    Another key to flexibility, in addition to proper sizing/starching of the proper weight and weave of fabric, is Thin Layers of Paint.


    For those who opt for modern latex paint, either out of ease of use, concerns of safety, or simple farbery, the resulting product will be much stiffer than a comparable oil based paint process.


    Use does make for a very flexible product--and eventually the item will break down. Over a decade ago, I made a number of civilian patterned floor cloths, some on heavy canvas, others on lightweight duck. Today they are all easily foldable, with the lightweight stuff now well worn from many events and begining to tear easily.

    Contributing to that problem is my own sense of 'overkill'--about three years ago, I decided to recoat some pieces where wear had made them less water resistant (I used them on the floor in my home as well as at events) . With my intent to make them really water resistant, I coated both sides with linseed oil. That was a mistake, and has contributed to the breakdown of the cloth.
    Mrs. Lawson
    Weaver, Spinster, Strong Fast Dyes
    Knitted Goods and yarns available thlawson@bellsouth.net



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  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Shenandoah Valley
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    11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ross L. Lamoreaux View Post
    Based on the amount of period painted goods I've been blessed to see, I would respectfully disagree about the advice of skipping the starch. Starch was used during the period to fill the pores and weave of the material as well as smooth the material for the proper application. Without the starch, you don't get a good, even distribution. A secondary reason for the starch was to protect the material from breaking down from the harsh properties of period paint. When the paint begin to crack and loosen in used goods, the paint will just flake off of the cloth and makes it easy to touch it up when needed. The proper use of starch is critical to getting the right look, feel, and application of painted cloth goods.
    Now, the right look, feel and application will have regional variances. I'm guessing starch is nothing more than a binder. So if it's not working, use another. Here in the Shenandoah Valley I might have used, milk, casein, lime putty, rabbit hide glue or boiled linseed oil to bind my pigment and make my poncho or ground cloth. Almost all of these are available today. Sure, some will be more weather resistant than others. Paints in the 19th c. were closer to a stain than a paint anyway so they lended themselves to great penetration. I'm fired up now and will start experimenting thanks to this thread.
    "Poverty is no disgrace, but it's a damnable inconvenience." --Mark Twain

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Spring Hill, FL
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    You are indeed correct. The term "starch" is a generic term for any substance used to fill the pores of the cloth prior to treatment. I've seen no fewer than a half dozen period receipts (recipes) for cloth treatment, but the word starch has been seen in the writings contemporary writings more often than not. What starch was made of is probably truly as you mention a regional thing. I've found no matter what you use to treat the cloth, it is a vital part of the process
    Ross L. Lamoreaux
    Tampa Bay History Center
    www.tampabayhistorycenter.org
    On Facebook at: Tampa Bay History Center Living History Programs

    "The simplest things, done well, can carry a huge impact" - Karin Timour, 2012

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Jefferson City, TN
    Posts
    151

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    Throw away that roller! Rolling the paint on pushes the paint into the fabric further making it stiffer. Also get some good cotton duck or drill and don't use the drop cloth. That stuff is loosly woven which is going to cause it to hold more paint and be more stiff. Brush on thin layers by thinning out your paint and making several coats. You'll be more pleased with the results.
    Sean Cooper
    Mossy Creek Mercantile
    Mossy Creek Mess
    SCAR

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