Through the microscope


I have been using Japlac on my Cooke Troughton and Simms microscopes but I have found it to have too high a sheen. No matter how much I polish the original paint work I cannot get it to a high sheen like the Japlac has. Where I have filled in cracks or chips the new paint is very obvious. I tried using emery paper to take the sheen down but then it looks too rough.

I have decided I need to abandon the Japlac. I have bought two hammerite paints: satin finish and smooth finish.

The amount of gloss a paint has can be expressed as a percentage of the light which is reflected back at an angle of 85 degrees. As no manufacturers bother to disclose this helpful information on the tin I have no option except to assess the two paints using an old fashioned method: eyesight.

I’ve painted the back of an old envelope and a dog food can to see what it looks like. As far as I can tell so far by eye, smooth means gloss finish (80% or more reflectance) and the satin is a lower sheen. Maybe 50% ?
It’s hard to guess how much light is being reflected but I think the satin paint will work out well.

Happy 2014 earthlings, I hope it’s a good one. May your microscope stands be shiny and your objectives clean and clear.

Comments on: "Getting the paint finish right" (3)

  1. Well, my objective is shiny, but the path to it not so clear. 🙂 Loved that wish, Penny!
    The same to you in 2014 and always.


  2. I just have to say, I’m always impressed by your efforts at cleaning up those stands; wish I was brave enough to make the effort on some in my own collection. I wonder though if you have considered trying a varnish of your own? In the past a microscopist suffering an injury on the finish of his stand had two options, return it to the dealer for correction or press one of the ringing varnishes into service. Gold size and lamp black produce an incredibly robust black finish… but that satin does indeed look lovely.


    • I am flattered by your admiration but I haven’t got it it to work yet – not to my satisfaction anyway. I keep sanding it and re-doing it. I haven’t been brave enough to try my own mix and to be honest I have no idea where to get lamp black. I considered blacking and I found some grate blacking today but it was a modern re-make of an old product and was far too metallic looking for the old microscope.

      I’ve just given the scope a coat with the satin and it doesn’t look too bad. Considerably better than the high gloss. There are a few brush marks but I think that with a little more sanding and perhaps thinning the paint for a final coat it will work. A bit of T-cut and wax and hopefully soon I will be able to post that I have perfected it.
      I won’t be happy until it’s perfect.


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