We would probably be unhappy to see them restored to their original state, preferring to appreciate what in many respects are semi-derelict surfaces! So we try not to sand surfaces smooth or make unnecessary repairs, preferring simply to clean superficial grime, dirt and damaged wax off before polishing again. I have made sealing wax on numerous occasions, but usually in my kitchen (be warned that some of the ingredients are flammable or toxic!) and with appropriately medieval disregard for precise measurements, so I was particularly keen to have a clearer idea of exactly what was going on. Sealing wax can be applied to the face of a document but adheres poorly, and in medieval Britain the principal means of attachment was via a cord or strip of parchment hanging from the document. The sealing wax was used to “seal” the letters or envelopes. The principal ingredient of medieval sealing wax is… It would be interesting to know what types of ‘grease’ were used, and what effect this might have on the consistency and stability of sealing wax. I usually warm the cakes in water since beeswax is water-repellent (but they need to be dried carefully to avoid water damaging the parchment, and it is easy to scald your fingers dunking them!), and know from experience how soft the wax needs to be, but ‘this feels about right’ is hardly a scientific benchmark so we used a probe-thermometer for a more precise reading: 43.9°C in the case of our second batch of green wax.
This appeared to work, for although the pigment often sank, leaving the top of the cake pale, the colour generally evened-out when the wax was re-warmed. A fresh batch of wax mixture later and with grease (well, cheap vegetable oil) applied, the rolling was underway, and the resulting cakes were a consistent and bright colour throughout – so don’t try the shortcut! The Trinity College recipe specifies that, when the wax mixture has solidified but is still warm, it should be ‘tossed’ between well-greased hands, rolled into a sausage, and sliced to form cakes. Although the cakes need to be quite warm when forming the disk, and despite the manipulation of the wax at this stage, there were very few, very faint, prints visible. Pink Strings and Sealing Wax is pretty remarkable… M. Herbin was a sailor, and from his many journeys to India he brought back to Paris formulas for manufacturing sealing wax. Beeswax would work best, but we used the leftover candle wax we had on hand. This mixture is of firm consistency at ordinary temperatures, but if a piece of it is held in the hand for some time, it becomes so soft that impressions can be taken with it, and it adheres also with some tenacity to paper, wood, and glass.
Melt the lac in a copper pan, suspended over a clear charcoal fire, then pour the turpentine slowly into it, and soon afterwards add the vermilion, stirring briskly all the time of the mixture with a rod in either hand. Melt the 3 first ingredients together, then add the others in succession, sealing wax for sale stirring constantly till cold. Mix whole together and melt over a very slow fire. 4 lb.; mix with heat. Large seals for deeds and public documents are not imprinted in ordinary sealing-wax, but a mass which is half soft, even at normal temperatures, is used for the purpose, and to protect the seal from injury, it is enclosed in a special case fastened to the document by cords or ribbons. If it contains important paper or documents it should receive three or more, according to the size of envelope. We used three different sources of beeswax and noticed that this affected the finished product, perhaps explaining why some medieval recipes specify ‘white’, ‘yellow’ or ‘polen’ (particularly high-grade) wax.
Gary Shinn of Hokuahi Lawns shares details about three fantastic palm trees for different price points. The Dwarf Sugar Palm is frost-tolerant and appreciates full sun to partial shade. This palm and its cousin the Australian Fan Palm (Licuala ramsayi) are both beautiful palms with large tropical green fans. Much 19th century furniture, often made from mahogany or walnut, was French polished, and when deciding how best to restore such a piece, we need to decide if we are going to simply ‘conserve’ what is there, or ‘restore’ it to its former state. But the name that has stuck; – thus French Polishing is actually the method of application, rather than the substance. Although an initial sealing coat of shellac can be applied prior to waxing, true French Polishing does not use wax at all, relying entirely on the skilled application of the shellac to achieve the required surface. 1. Make sure the surface to be waxed is clean and dry. Pour it on a thick smooth glass, or any other smooth surface and make it into 3, 6 or 10 cent sticks. Before the wax is attached it needs to be warm enough to be malleable and take an impression, but not so soft that they it is difficult to handle or sticks to the matrix.