The Final Step


The weekend, what can you say about it other than it passes by too fast.  I spent my weekend being lazy, and applying great smelling gum sandarac based varnish to about 20 dry-plate ferrotypes.  This is a task that I had been putting off because when I was first learning to work the varnishing step, I had ruined a few nice plates.  Of course since then I have learned better technique and had plenty of practice, but it still gets to me sometimes, knowing that after all of the work for each plate, that very last step could kill it. 

All of the plates came out very nice, and they always look better with the varnish applied.  In this latest batch there were a few 8×10’s with is a new size for me.  I have now varnished six 8x10s total, and although they require an adjustment in technique from the smaller 4x5s, they came out well.  Larger plates are an area that I plan to work in more.

Need to make your own 1800’s photographic varnish for wet/dry plates?  Here is what you need:

220ml Ethyl Alcohol

32gm Gum Sandarac

28ml Oil of Lavender

3ml Chloroform (Some use this, and some omit it from the formula)

To see a short exchange on sandarac varnish and the topic of chloroform read this.


~ by Phil Nesmith on July 23, 2007.

One Response to “The Final Step”

  1. […] New Video Wet Plate photographer Quinn Jacobson has posted a new video on YouTube showing you how to varnish a plate. I have linked to the video below. A formula for varnish can be found here. […]

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