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MITRA Forum Question Details

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    Question asked 2019-09-12 20:51:48 ... Most recent comment 2019-09-12 21:37:10
    Drying Oils Paint Mediums Solvents and Thinners

    ​Dear Mitra Conservators,

    I would like to know the chemical formula of linseed oil, stand oil, distilled turpentine, spike oil, and dammar varnish but I have found it difficult to find this information.  Can someone provide this information for me or recommend a source ?

    Best regards and thank you for the service your provide to artists,

    Hector Hernandez

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    The question you posit is very slightly complicated by the fact that as these are natural products; for the most part, the “formula” will vary slightly. The Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects by Mills and White is a good reference for this info. On the other hand, much of this is in no way proprietary and is available on such egalitarian sources as WIKIPEDIA, where I copied much of the following:

    linseed oil

    Stand Oil

    Today this indicates linseed oil polymerized but not oxidized by heating in the absence of oxygen. (see our downloadable pdf’s for most of this info)

    from Wikipedia”

    Stand oil is generated by heating linseed oil near 300 °C for a few days in the complete absence of air. Under these conditions, the polyunsaturated fatty esters convert to conjugated dienes, which then undergo Diels-Alder reactions, leading to crosslinking. The product, which is highly viscous, gives highly uniform coatings that "dry" to more elastic coatings than linseed oil itself. Soybean oil can be treated similarly, but converts more slowly. On the other hand, tung oil converts very quickly, being complete in minutes at 260 °C. Coatings prepared from stand oils are less prone to yellowing than are coatings derived from the parent oils.[18]

    Do a search here on MITRA for earlier definitions of Stand Oil which differ greatly from this definition.

    Distilled turpentine

    Spike oil

    We do not have a specific chemical formula for Spike Oil on hand but I am sure that I can find one soon and will post it here when I do.


    Similarly, I will post this when I get a moment.

    Finally, each manufacturer, if they still offer the more archaic materials like dammar and spike oil, may have small additions of other materials that they will not list in their ingredients (eg, in the past some providers of dammar varnish would add small amounts of alcohol to their varnish to precipitate out the waxy component and yield a clearer solution).

    Brian Baade
    2019-09-12 21:37:10
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​This article mentions the mixtures in spike oil

    Brian Baade
    2019-09-12 22:03:02
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Dammar or Damar can refer to more than one resin although today it generally is used to describe a particular resin. See

    The following very complicated scientific paper describes the components of their sample of dammar

    Here is a far more succinct description of the chemical makeup of what is generally called dammar resin

    Brian Baade
    2019-09-12 22:11:25

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