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Problems with microcrystalline wax


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19 replies to this topic

#1 antoniosz

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 20:48

I had this bottle of microcrystalline wax for few months and I tried to applied in some BHR pens and I got heavy discoloration. I tried on both pens and it messed things up in both. Thanks god I did not apply to a good BHR pen.
Come to think of it, I smell the presence of a strong solvant in this product, so no doubt it caused problems. In principle is supposed to protect not to accelerate discoloration :( .... Anyone else with similar problems?


PS> My source was e-bay. I can not recall if it is the same seller but the bottle looks like the one here

Edited by antoniosz, 25 February 2006 - 21:03.


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#2 Carrie

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 21:14

I use Renaissance Wax at work, I have found that it hardens and goes off if it's left in a cold place and if you use too much it leaves a white residue. Other than cold, I haven't found that it goes off quickly and some of our tins are a couple of years old and still in fine condition. In terms of our usage of Renaissance Wax on metalwork etc, it can be removed using white spirit, but I don't think I'd want to try that on a fountain pen!

#3 antoniosz

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 21:30

I noticed the residue but it is not an issue. My problem is that the discoloration got worse. In one case it was a RRHR that was very mildly discolored and the wax really made it almost yellow :(

#4 tryphon

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 23:30

Antonios, thanks for the warning. This is very serious indeed.
Just to reassure my customers (and I apologise if I use your post), the Tryphon Museum Wax is NOT the same product used by Antonios and it has been tested on BHR pens and caused NO discoloration at all. In fact, I use as a protectant on BHR pens with great results. I only sell products that I use myself and that I find of outstanding value and performance.

#5 antoniosz

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 04:46

The product I used is called:
Renaissance micro-crstalline wax and is made by
Picreator Enterprises Ltd. 44 Park View Gardens, London NW4-2PN.

DEFENITELY KEEP IT AWAY FROM YOU HARD RUBBER

It was not advertised specifically for HR pens but it has been mentioned several times in the FP boards. Anyway - Gio, I will be ordering from you soon....

#6 Ann Finley

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 05:50

I like Giovanni's wax and use it on most of my pens, even though they're not hard rubber.

I was surprised to hear about the negative results with the microcrystalline wax--I guess because we used it (hot with a roller) at the library to mount items for our archives and I've always thought of it as a "safe" product.

#7 Stylo

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 01:05

Antonios, who knows what actually this ebayer sold you.

But having said that, I notice that Renaissance wax includes things refined from crude oil. I have been warned that petroleum derived products are not kind to rubber :P Perhaps that is the case here too.

#8 antoniosz

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 02:08

Well, till now from back channel discussions we have the following.
First there is a solvent in the microcrystalline wax.
Second a very small quantity needs to be applied quickly in order to allow the evaporation to occur very quickly.
I believe that I have been applying too much. I am going to play with it again.

#9 tryphon

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 13:44

Well, till now from back channel discussions we have the following.
First there is a solvent in the microcrystalline wax.
Second a very small quantity needs to be applied quickly in order to allow the evaporation to occur very quickly.
I believe that I have been applying too much. I am going to play with it again.

It seems to me that there should be a warning about the wax given to the pen collecting community.
And I am not sure if limiting the exposure time is sufficient to prevent any interaction with the hard rubber.

#10 Stylo

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 19:03

Well, till now from back channel discussions we have the following.
First there is a solvent in the microcrystalline wax. 
Second a very small quantity needs to be applied quickly in order to allow the evaporation to occur very quickly. 
I believe that I have been applying too much. I am going to play with it again.

Every site I have been to recommends using a "minimal amount" or applying a "light coat." Some actually emphasis it to the extent of saying "very, very, little amount" :) You should probably also not let the wax sit on any material for longer than 15 to 30 seconds before wiping/buffing. I think almost all waxes must use some type of a solvent as a "carrier" of the stuff that gets left behind after the buffing. It could also be that the can you bought off ebay has gone bad or was not stored in a proper environment.

It seems like this particular wax is used for just about everything. So perhaps it is your using too much of it, or you have a deteriorated can of it, or your pen was in such shape that this was going to happen no matter what was you used.

There is also the possibility that the pens you have had been shabilly blackened and the wax/ploish took off the bad paint job, exposing the true extent of the discoloration.

Edited by Stylo, 28 February 2006 - 19:15.


#11 antoniosz

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 19:21

Some actually emphasis it to the extent of saying "very, very, little amount"  :)  You should probably also not let the wax sit on any material for longer than 15 to 30 seconds before wiping/buffing.

Yes, I think this was my mistake.

There is also the possibility that the pens you have had been shabilly blackened and the wax/ploish took off the bad paint job, exposing the true extent of the discoloration.

No, there were not blackened. I have a single blackened pen (courtesy of Giovanni). But I have not touched that.

I will report new data, soon :)

#12 Stylo

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 19:39

I will report new data, soon :)

Good luck! :) You may want to try it again on only a tiny area, just in case....

#13 Goudy

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 09:57

The product I used is called:
Renaissance micro-crstalline wax and is made by
Picreator Enterprises Ltd. 44 Park View Gardens, London NW4-2PN.

DEFENITELY KEEP IT AWAY FROM YOU HARD RUBBER
 

 

It's a very old thread, but I'm posting to report the same problem with Renaissance wax. It definitely worsened the discolouration on one of my BHR pens. The pen already had some discolouration and dulling and I was hoping the wax would protect it. It had the opposite effect, turning it a light brown. It wasn't removing any paint/blackening, since there was no trace of colour coming off onto the white cloth I was using. It seemed to be a chemical reaction. The wax has a definite petroleum smell, which should have warned me.

 

Having said that, I'd previously used the wax on another BHR pen which had very minimal fading. The wax seemed to cause no further discolouration and gave the BHR a nice shine.

 

I'm going to keep it away from my hard rubber pens in future.

 

Here's a picture of the affected pen. On the right is the part I treated with the wax, on the left is the untreated part of the pen:

 

q4laQxT.jpg


Edited by Goudy, 25 May 2016 - 10:10.

utQ9Ep9.jpg


#14 antoniosz

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 20:32

Goudy thanks for showing that I was not crazy.   Still trying to find why it works for some and does not for others...



#15 Vintagepens

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 21:34

Likely for the same reason that water exposure will sometimes instantly fade hard rubber, and in other cases will have no effect at all. Light exposure does latent damage to the molecular structure of hard rubber, breaking the crosslinks that normally make it so tough and impervious to chemical action. A light-exposed pen may show no signs of damage, but if water touches its surface its color will immediately be washed away. The same would apply equally to other solvents -- as appears to be the case with the solvents in Renaissance Wax.

 

Goudy thanks for showing that I was not crazy.   Still trying to find why it works for some and does not for others...



#16 Chrissy

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 22:15

I have some Renaissance wax, but I only ever used it for ceramic restoration, not pens.



#17 Brianm-14-FRMS

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 00:12

Renaissance wax is good when used discerningly. Quality stuff. Good for woods, some metals, ceramics, many leathers in already GOOD condition (depends on the tanning method used), great if pricey stuff. Conservation techniques have changed over time, and waxes in general are not used as widely as they once were, and are now proving difficult to remove safely from artifacts.

But use on rubber, plastic, composites of unknown materials? I'd be wary of most solvents, cleaners, preservatives, etc. This is a place for wiping with a soft, dry cotton cloth and the use of very specialized, proven products.

I mainly have used Ren. Wax on brass parts of pre-WWI long arms. Works fine to keep them bright. If verdigris does develop, just wipe away thorougly and reapply the wax. No worry about chemical additives (Flitz can be used first for cleaning, but I don't like it on brass coming in later contact with leather unless I fully remove the Flitz in an ultrasonc cleaner). Also, the wax is decent when applied on unblued steel and iron to retard rust in normal short-term, dry storage, but only when kept intact as a thin barrier.

Leather book bindings were once treated this way, with waxes or other "conditioers" but no longer when it was discovered this actually increased aging damage over time.

You might contact the manufacturer for advice on this wax, as they have a rep in good standing.
Brian

#18 Old Salt

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 01:07

Very timely thread. Thank you guys.

#19 Vintagepens

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 04:26

Note the discussion here, including alternatives to Renaissance Wax: 

Wax on pens



#20 PaulS

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Posted 14 December 2016 - 15:24

I forget where now, but we've discussed this Renaissance wax on FPN insofar as it leaves a hard and fairly durable coating on the pen, and it's this hard coating that is responsible for the shine  -  and as far as I was aware the main downside, as mentioned above,  appeared to be that the coating was difficult to remove and required something like white spirit to do so  -  although why you'd want to remove it I'm not sure.          Have to say I wasn't aware of the dangers when used on BHR pens.            

I notice that my small tin (65 ml.) of Ren. Micro-Crystalline Wax, from Picreator Enterprises in London, still carries the blurb about it being .......

"Refined waxes blended to a formula used by the British Museum.........".  -  although exactly what the B.M. use it for the tin doesn't say.   I suspect ceramics, leather and other materials that have sensitive surfaces or coatings etc.             There is no mention on the tin of a solvent being present in the product, but that doesn't guarantee there isn't one in there somewhere, and whilst the wax can be seen to darken leather immediately, and they dry almost as quickly, it does seem to suggest a solvent it present to carry the wax into the leather.

 

I've put this wax on bookbinding leathers for some time now and they haven't yet fallen apart or developed red rot, which is the scourge mainly of C19 leathers, where quite literally the leather turns to dust and crumbles away  -  mostly it seems on red leather.          Prior to mid C20 and especially in the C19, leathers were treated very harshly with chemicals, by the tanners and others in the trade, and we now know this created a built in destruction that made itself apparent some decades down the line, plus leathers were pared too thin to stand up to hard use  -  all done in the name of profit margins, since commercial bookbinding was big business 100 years or more ago.           Also, part of this cheapness route was to use sheepskin rather that the more expensive and heavily grained goatskin, so another reason for the leather to decay quicker.     

The problem was the sulphuric acid used to treat the leather prior to using aniline dyes, which looked good at the time, giving a greater depth of colour penetration, and with good preservative properties on wet leather.            Now I believe the leathers are vegetable tanned, and much of the naturally occurring properties of leather are no longer destroyed by the acid, and so these skins remain durable for far longer. 

This problem with leather didn't happen with vellum, and most of the early monastic books, although somewhat crinkly in appearance remain strong and good for another few centuries.

One very well know exception to an historic book suffering leather deterioration is The St. Cuthbert Gospel of St. John, which in very recent times cost the British Library the thick end of $12M.      This smallish tome owes it survival to the fact that initially it was buried with the man himself around 698 A.D., and only much later removed around 1104 A.D. - it survives today looking very much as it probably did many centuries back, with the vellum folios in very good condition and the goat or pigskin cover looking very healthy.          So moral of the story is if you want to look after you books, have them buried with you :D      

 

People want a shine/sheen on the precious items, and any product that gives that sort of result quickly is going to be popular - despite hidden dangers that may lurk someway down the line.

As far as leather goes, it's a natural product that for longevity needs to both breath and remain supple.       If you block the pores with a impermeable coating, that's fine if it rains, but no good for applying moisture via creams or waxes, which will stop the leather drying out, cracking and breaking down over time.

 

Not a problem for pens of course, and I've applied Ren. Wax to many f.ps. with terrific results of enhanced depth of colour and a shine to die for, but when I read about the possible solvent issue, plus the fact that removal is difficult, I stopped using it.

I've gone over to using MICRO-MESH ® liquid abrasive products, which are water based, and contain ultra fine grits in grades around the size 12,000 plus to give a shine - alternatively, coarser grit papers and liquids can be used prior to that depending on the extent of surface defects on the pen, which need to be removed.              Since this product leaves absolutely no coating on the pen, it's effectiveness to shine the plastic is only as good as the surface of the pen, and some preliminary smoothing is probably essential, at least on a knackered pen.

 

P.S.   re the problems of putting water on some types of pen plastics, it might be wise to seek an expert opinion before applying the MICRO-MESH product since the carrier is of course water.


Edited by PaulS, 14 December 2016 - 15:28.







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