Through the microscope

Posts tagged ‘restoration’

A restored brass microscope

This is the piece I have practiced and learned lacquering on. I hope you agree it is a dramatic improvement!

It is a Dunscombe microscope. Dunscombe was the son-in-law of Braham and took over his father-in-law’s optical business. In fact, there is still a Dunscombe Optician’s in Bristol UK where they lived and worked.

This microscope has been stripped, cleaned, polished, straight grained and lacquered about 20 times over the last couple of years while I have practiced the art. I have to admit that I intend to strip it again because there are a couple of pieces that are not quite up to my exacting standards. For now it will stay as it is. I have other microscopes to work on and I have had enough of this particular microscope for a while.

 

A new screw was made for the top to replace the nasty steel wood screw that had been shoved in there and two new screws were made to hold the microscope onto the foot. A new rack was cut on the milling machine and a new pinion was also made as the original rack and pinion were badly damaged and unusable. The stage was chemically blackened using a commercially available selenious acid based product. Not too shoddy I think.

dunscombe new pinion

New pinion (right) to replace original worn pinion

aab_1624

Dunscombe of Bristol

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I came, I saw, I conquered

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By George I think she’s got it!  I have conquered the paint work. I ended up using plasti-kote spray enamel from a rattle can.

It’s not absolutely perfect – there are a couple of runs in the paint but considering I’ve never spray painted anything before I’m quite pleased. I will have to leave it to cure for a few weeks before I consider sanding the runs but I shall probably leave it as it is. The runs are quite small and I think I can live with them.

At least it’s an improvement and all the paint it the same colour and sheen. I rather suspect that getting new paint to blend with old paint is impossible unless you are an experienced coach builder.

This evening I shall do some sewing.

Live long and prosper earthlings!

Bloody paint!

Bloody paint is driving me mad!

I mixed my black hammerite paint in a 1:1 ratio satin:gloss, I thinned it a bit (15% ish) and used a gloss roller to apply it to the Cooke Troughton and Simms microscope.

The paint is full of little bubbles.

ARGHHH! I’ve used gloss rollers on doors with no problems at all, but it seems they dislike metal. If I’d known i’d have layed off the paint a brush or used a brush to start with. I’m going to have to wait for it to dry and sand it for the umpteenth time.

On the plus side I think the 50/50 ratio of satin:gloss might be correct. I think. I’ll have to wait until it’s completely dry before I can say for sure.

I have just noticed that Hammerite say that satin and smooth paints should not be mixed. I can’t imagine why. They’re all the same solvent base. I’m wondering if there’s some problem with mixing them or whether it’s just a matter of them not wanting to recommend an untested combination in the same way some clothes manufacturers put “dry clean only” labels on washable items to save the cost of testing them.  It may be that mixing the two kinds of paints makes them less than perfect for their intended use outdoors in all weathers. If so then it is of no importance to me. I shan’t be leaving my microscope exposed to the elements.

Grrr, arrghh, grumble, moan, whinge.

I will win the battle of the paint. I shall not be beaten by a bit of black pigment in solvent.

Paint it black

I see a microscope and I want to paint it black…

Forgive me Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, I was trying to think of a witty title and that was the best I could come up with.

The story so far: Japlac is too shiny for my Cooke Troughton and Simms microscope so I tried Hammerite satin. Hammerite satin is not shiny enough. It’s a lot better than the high gloss Japlac but it’s not quite right. I have a new cunning plan; I shall mix a little gloss Hammerite in with the satin paint. I shall start with a 2:1 ratio and go from there.

I’m also going to thin it a little and use a gloss roller. I tried an ultra fine gloss roller previously and it was rubbish. I still can’t figure out why they chose a fuzzy material for the ultra fine gloss roller. I had fuzz in my paint. I’m sticking with the normal foam gloss roller in future.

I’ve buggered my hand up again. The hurtiness seems to be travelling down the tendon from my index finger towards my wrist. Maybe it will travel down my wrist, up my arm,  into my shoulder, up my neck and into my head from where I can sneeze it out?

On the other hand (pun not intended) I may have to go to the doctor.

 

Getting the paint finish right

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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.

Microscope paint work

According to Merv (who knows everything there is to know about microscopes) restoring paintwork is easy but tedious. I haven’t found it to be easy although I’d agree with the tedious part.

I have been attempting to perfect the paintwork on my Cooke Troughton and Simms polarizing microscope. I sanded the bits where the paint needed re-doing, I primed, I put on Japlac, I let it dry, sanded with a very fine grade sandpaper and repeated. Japlac is supposed to brilliant in that it doesn’t leave brush marks – all lies. I have brush marks, I sand them down and I’m back to the bare metal in places and still have brush marks. I’ve tried thinning the paint. No use.

I’m off to buy a gloss roller because as Merv says  “Continue until the new paint is slightly proud of the surface, or old age has carried you off…”

I’ve got things to do. I’m not spending the next 30 years on the paintwork.

I SHALL CONQUER IT!

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