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MITRA Forum Question Details

Image Picker for Section 0


  • Best material for fixing graphite drawingsApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-02-16 16:36:53 ... Most recent comment 2017-02-16 17:47:00
    Drawing Materials Varnishes
    What's the best brand/material to fix a pencil on Canson drawing paper? I've used sprays before, just interested in what others are using. Thanks.  

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ‚ÄčThere are always issues with fixatives, especially when used excessively. Too much will greatly darken the media you are spraying it on. Way too much will even make the paper more transparent. You have used them successfully so that does not appear to be an issue. The main issue I would worry about is potential yellowing. Yellowing is probably not a major concern with a very thin application but I would still prefer using a fixative that is composed of a non-yellowing resin. B-72 is a very stable acrylic resin that is not inordinately glossy making it a really good choice for a spray fixative. The problem here is that most manufacturers do not disclose which resin they use. I do know that the product Lascaux Fixative Spray is B-72 in a spray can. I am sure that there are others as well but it is difficult to know for sure. I hope to have a number of the common materials used in art making analyzed in a lab when we secure the funding to enlarge MITRA. I am sure that there are other perfectly serviceable fixatives, but as a conservator this is what I would recommend. I hope that others will respond here with their experiences and favorites.

    Baade, Brian
    2017-02-16 18:06:37
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentHi Brian, This is very interesting; the Lascaux fixative might be a good way to apply an isolating layer to egg tempera, yes? I don't suppose there is any way to know the resin to solvent ratio, but I presume it's a fairly thin mix to be sprayable. The MSDS says it contains xylene, so I would be sure to wear a respirator and ventilate well. Would it be appreciably better to make B-72 from scratch, as needed, versus buying it in a spray can (and not knowing how old it is)? How affected by age is B-72? Any other considerations I should keep in mind? I've been making B-72 myself and brushing it on as an isolator, but I like the idea of it being sprayable and ready made. Thanks, Koo
    2017-02-16 20:38:42
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerHi Koo, we see nothing wrong with any of the options you mention. Tests have shown B-72 to be one of the more stable synthetic resins which is why it is a popular material in conservation...but no there is no way at this point to know the ratio of resin to solvent in many of these proprietary sprays at this point but we will double check on that.
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-02-16 20:43:45
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerUpdate: Brian Baade has located a pdf online (their "Synthetic Resins and Varnishes Sheet") from Lascaux that states that their pre-made "Lascaux Fixativ" is 2% B-72 in solution. Whether or not that percentage has changed since the time that this information was put up online is unknown but if it has it probably has not changed drastically.
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-02-16 21:20:48
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentThanks, Kristen - that sounds perfect. I'll give it a try. Koo
    2017-02-17 19:38:55

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