Types of Varnishes

Based on the different solvents used, varnishes are classified under the following categories:

Water Varnish

They consists of lac dissolved in hot water with borax, ammonia, potash or soda just enough to dissolve the lac. Varnish so made withstands washing. It is used for painting wall paper and for delicate work.

They are used for varnishing wall paper, maps, pictures, book jackets for delicate work.

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Polyurethane Varnish 

These varnishes are typically hard, Absorption resistant and durable coating.

They are popular for hardwood floors but are considered by some wood finishers to be difficult or unsuitable for finishing furniture or other detailed pieces.

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Oil Varnish

These are made by dissolving hard resins like amber or copal in oil. They are slow to dry but are hardest and most durable of all varnishes. There are suited for being used on exposed surfaces requiring polishing or frequent cleaning and for superior works.

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Turpentine Varnish

These are made from soft resins like mastic, common resin is dissolved in turpentine oil. 

  • These varnishes used as solvent in which soft resign such as Gun dammar, mastic and Rosin are dissolved.
  • They dry quickly but not so durable.
  • These are cheaper than oil varnishes .

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Spirit Varnish

Varnishes in which spirit is used as a solvent as known as spirited varnish or French Polish. Shellac is dissolved in spirit and the product is applied in a thin layer. This varnish gives a transparent finish thus showing the grains of the timber. These however, do not weather well and as such are used for polishing wood work not exposed to weather.

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Acrylic varnish or Gloss Varnish

Acrylic Varnishes, made from 100% acrylic polymer emulsions, form durable films when dry. They have excellent flexibility and resistance to chemicals, water, abrasion and ultraviolet radiation. Use them to provide lasting protection for artwork.

Image result for gloss varnish for acrylic paintings

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Also read:- 

  1. Varnish properties & It’s components
  2. Process Of Varnishing & characteristics of an ideal varnish
  3. General Uses of Varnish


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