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About Zest-it® 5lb Cut Damar Varnish

This is the Traditional Damar Varnish, use it diluted to make Retouching and Picture Varnish.


group of 5 lb Cut Damar Varnish

Zest-it 5lb Cut Varnish




zest-it 250 ml 5lb Cut Damar Varnish

250 ml 5lb Cut Damar Varnish




zest-it gum damar lumps
Zest-it® Damar Gum

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Product Safety Information for Zest-it 5lb Cut Damar Varnish PDF


We make the 5lb Cut Varnish in the Traditional way which is slow and gentle, the Gum Damar is not forced to dissolve by the use of heat or other methods. In its own time it will dissolve in the Zest-it.

The '5lb Cut' refers to the Varnish Makers traditional way of producing 'spirit' or 'cold cut' varnish using 5 lb of resin to 1 Gallon of solvent.
Many solution were called 'cuts'. 

Varnish makers carried traditions of the Cabinet and Woodworkers methods of 'cuts' for making the various strengths necessary for the different trades, according to T H Barry - Varnish Making.

Misinformation will tell you that Gum Damar only dissolves in Turpentine, historically that was the case - but solvents have evolved.
We have been making our Damar Varnish, the traditional way, for over twenty years using Zest-it Oil Paint Dilutant and Brush Cleaner.

Once dissolved we allow the solution to rest before filtering, this is necessary to remove any minute particles that remain in suspension in the solution, the filtered varnish is bright and crystal clear. Cold conditions can make the Varnish go cloudy, bringing it back to normal room temperature will restore the clarity.

The primary role of any varnish is to protect the surface of a painting or object. Varnishing a painting is an important factor in the archival life of an oil painting.
Damar Varnish (sometimes spelt Dammar) is the traditional varnish for oil painting, egg tempera and has stood the test of time. One of the first recorded use as a cold cut varnish was in the early 1800's, it replaced mastic varnish which was prone to blooming in damp conditions.

The 5lb Cut Varnish can be diluted with Zest-it Oil Paint Dilutant and Brush Cleaner to your choice for the application or used as is for making mediums for use with oils.

The painted surface needs to dry before a final varnish is applied, with an oil painting this is a slow process as the oils dry by oxidization and need air to do this. Depending on the thickness of the paint this can take between 3 to 12 months.

Varnishing needs to be carried out on a dry day with little air flow for best results. It is always better to apply varnish in thin coats allowing drying in-between. Apply with a soft brush and even strokes. Protect from dust whilst drying. Always test on a small area before applying to the painting.

Please make sure the varnish is applied in 'thin' coats!
When varnish is made with a flammable liquid it will have a faster drying speed.
Our products are non-flammable therefore they will take longer to dry. Applying in heavy coats encourages the varnish to 'sag' into the hollows of a surface, this can over spill and cause runs and drips.
Thin coats with drying in-between give best results.


Read more  - Zest-it Damar Retouching Varnish  and Zest-it Damar Picture Varnish and 5lb Cut Damar Varnish


Point to note:- Synthetic Gum Damar cannot be dissolved with either Zest-it Oil Paint Dilutant and Brush Cleaner, nor Zest-it Citrus Free Solvent!
As usual "Buyer Beware", make sure you buy genuine Gum Damar if you wish to make your own varnish using Zest-it products.


Copyright© Jacqui Blackman 2000

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Copyright 1999 - 2023 © J. & T. Blackman Ltd. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
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J. & T. Blackman Ltd., and is supplied without liability for errors or omissions.
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