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I will let Brian Baade answer more specifically regarding copal gels as he is far more knowledgable than I about these mediums. However, I can address the general pros and cons of fossilized resins to a certain extent:
Soft and Hard Copal Resins – This class encompasses a wide range of natural resins that are typically defined by their place of origin (e.g. Manila Copal). Soft copals, usually dissolved in alcohols, are simply collected directly from a range of living trees. Soft copals can differ in quality from one grade to the next and are not recommended as final varnishes. These resins not only suffer from the same degradation process as mastic and dammar but can also become more difficult to remove over time. Furthermore, they can render a paint film more sensitive to solvents should your painting need to be restored in the future. On the other hand, hard copals are fossilized and semi-fossilized resins collected from the ground where they were deposited from ancient and even extinct trees. Hard copals need to be cooked at high temperature to incorporate them into oils or solvents. They are not reversible and should never be used as final surface coatings for fine art; however, small additions of these resins to one's primary paint medium can yield intriguing and beautiful effects. While there is some concern about potential darkening and cracking associated with these particular types of resins, there has yet to be a scientific study on this subject. Certainly adding too much of these resins can create a more brittle paint layer, one that will in turn be more prone to cracking. But if used in reserved amounts (in conjunction with a solid support) this may be less of an issue. Further study is still needed to look into potential yellowing/darkening associated with small to large additions of hard copal resin.
I've used several of Groves' mediums, for a short time. Never could get them to gel, tho they did get kinda puffy. None of them actually produced magic or romance. I keep it simple now, with better results. Richard Murdock