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Japan Black

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  • Japan Black

    There are a few items on the A that were protected by the process called Japan Black or Japanning. The Guidelines say the parts were dull but from what I have read and seen about the process, the results were far from dull.

    So here are the questions, has anyone used the process? How glossy did it come out? Did you have it judged and what was the point result?

    Here is a formula I have 50% turpentine, 30% Asphaltum, 20% boiled linseed oil.

  • #2
    The closest item you can use is AERO GLOSS Flat Black, It is available at any good hobby store and is almost a perfect match for Japan black...Hope that help you Mike.


    • Mike V. Florida
      Mike V. Florida commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, but the real process produces a gloss finish, not a dull finish. Were carbs really coated in Japan Black? Is the dull black due to that age of the finish so it is assumed to be dull when originals were looked at?

  • #3
    I have an article on japan black on my site.
    It is an odd finish. its water thin, can't be scratched, impervious to gasoline.
    When viewed straight on it has a gloss but at an angle its flat. turn the part and what was gloss is now flat and vica versa. there should be an article up coming in one of the national magazines.
    Last edited by Jim Mason; 02-17-2019, 02:34 PM.


    • #4
      Mike here is a related thread, with pretty much the same info
      A link to Jim's article is there
      3 ~ Tudor's
      Henry Ford said
      "It's all nuts and bolts"

      Mitch's Auto Service ctr


      • #5
        Mike the aero gloss will leave a flat appearance not gloss.


        • #6
          Here's the japan black that i came up with.
          As i say in my article Areogloss fuel proof flat black is the easiest way to go. it is hard to find, ive not tried other fuel proof brands.


          • #7
            I give up.


            • Jim Mason
              Jim Mason commented
              Editing a comment
              Japan black originally refered to a multi coat high gloss black high gloss varnish applied to Japanese woodworking. It later refered to any black varnish finish of high gloss like what was used on bicycle frames. (Henely's recipes and formulas). The process was refered to as japaning.

              The formula i used came from the M(aterial) sheets from Ford. The basic formula was used on fenders etc and contains more amber. Its essentially a long oil varnish with asphaltum(Gilsonite) coloring. The asphaltum also adds flexibility to prevent chipping.

              Add wax and less amber you have the black waterproof coating for the floorboards.

              Add rosin and less amber you have the gas proofing used on carbs and iron sediment bulbs. The rosin flattens the finish also.
              Last edited by Jim Mason; 02-18-2019, 09:29 AM.

            • Mark Maron
              Mark Maron commented
              Editing a comment
              Give up what do you mean ??? What’s up. Aerogloss flat black is what you want to find at hobby stores.

          • #8
            I think Mike's question, that not answered, is: The judging standards say flat black, but the process, Japan Black, comes out glossy. What has the experience been with the judges when Japan Black is used?


            • Mark Maron
              Mark Maron commented
              Editing a comment
              If you use DP 90 we will give full points. Just don’t make the carb glossy and full points will be given on finish. Does that help?

            • Gary Karr
              Gary Karr commented
              Editing a comment
              DP 90 is not impervious to gasoline.

          • #9
            Japan black does not come out glossy. At certain angles it has some gloss, but it is a flat finish. aerogloss flat black

            From the standards:

            Attached Files
            Last edited by Jim Mason; 02-19-2019, 08:55 AM.


            • #10
              I know the guidelines, I know the Model Airplane paint. I know that if you can't find flat you can add talcum power to gloss. I know companies like Aircraft Spruce sells the dope that can be used.
              What I don't know is the actual Japan Black. Were all the automobiles that used japan black in the teens and 20's flat black? Singer sewing machines, fans, and other metal items were flat? Were there two different kinds of japan black? Am I missing something? I'm trying to learn.
              Last edited by Mike V. Florida; 02-19-2019, 05:28 PM.


              • Mark Maron
                Mark Maron commented
                Editing a comment
                i believe japan black was strictly automotive use and gasoline will not effect it.. this is my opinion based on what i have read

            • #11
              Japan black had become a generic term.
              Here is the recipe i used for the basic 'japan black' from henely's recipes and formula.

              i then modified it to be in line with the 'japan black' from Fords M sheets. singer sewing machines use a glossy formulation. ford used a flat formulation. Old wood planes used a similar formula with a gloss somewhere inbetween.

              All were called 'japan black'


              Glossy Black For Bicycles, Etc.— Amber 8 ounces, Linseed oil 4 ounces, Asphaltum 1 1/ 2 ounces Rosin 1 1/ 2 ounces, Oil turpentine 8 ounces. Heat the linseed oil to boiling point, add the amber, asphaltum, and rosin, and when all melted remove from the fire and gradually add the turpentine.

              Japan Black. —The following is a good japan black for metal surfaces: Take 12 ounces of amber and 2 ounces of asphaltum. Fuse by heat, and add 1 / 2 pint boiled oil and 2 ounces of rosin. When cooling add 16 ounces of oil of turpentine.
              Last edited by Jim Mason; 02-19-2019, 09:09 PM.


              • Mike V. Florida
                Mike V. Florida commented
                Editing a comment
                There we go, that explains it!

              • Jim Mason
                Jim Mason commented
                Editing a comment
                Sorry. I misunderstood the question bad

            • #12
              Found this interesting on the tube.

              You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!


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