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Clarity Vs Ronsonal

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Posted 08/12/2015   07:20 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add jkelley01938 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Historical DNA Collector and Family,

As promised, I have scanned a stamp using Clarity, and then again with Ronsonal. It is Scott 340. I'll be mum for now but I have decided opinions that I will share as this thread progresses. Also, can you find the watermark?

Jack Kelley









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Posted 08/12/2015   07:32 am  Show Profile Check orstampman's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add orstampman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The first (top) backside scan shows a clear "S". I don't see a clear watermark on the lower backside scan.
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Posted 08/12/2015   09:29 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add kollectorkurt to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The DL watermark is clearer on the first "wet" picture, but obvious to me in both. Without being able to observe the entire process live, I suspect the second back picture is the Clarity - the stamp looks dry to me. In my experience, Ronsonol has the advantage over Clarity in slower evaporation and a better initial flash.
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Posted 08/12/2015   11:39 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add srailkb to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As an aside, this series of images shows the importance of watching the stamp dry (i.e. look for "flashes.") On the "front" picture, you can see two "obvious" faults that don't really show while immersed in EITHER of the fluids: a corner crease in the lower left corner and a light crease at top that runs from the margin just to the left of the "G" in "POSTAGE."

IMO, small faults like these rarely showed when I was trialing Clarity, no matter how hard I looked.

On another related note, this is a bad stamp to compare watermark fluids on (not a difficult ink, not a difficult watermark.) IMO, you'd be able to see this WM without fluid at all by holding it up to a light. A better choice for this test would be a 10c (yellow), or 6c (orange,) or even 8c (olive) with a light (partial) single line watermark. Those inks tend to make seeing watermarks pretty tough. Clarity may outperform there in showing the watermarks, but Ronsonol will be more than adequate and will likely outperform everywhere else (often by a LOT, IMO.) For me, the deal-breaker was not being able to detect a tiny fault with Clarity that I knew was there... It went back in the cabinet after a couple dozen of those.
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Posted 08/12/2015   12:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampalotapus to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here's something a chemist friend of mine tossed into my brain - Though not advertised, the active ingredient in Clarity is Heptane (possibly their MSDS indicates this as a Trade Secret) but you can smell the similarity easily.

For the cost of one 3.4oz bottle of Clarity for $20.00 or so, you can get N-heptane High Purity 1000ml (32oz) for $25.00 plus shipping and handling.

I have used this for more than a year now with no adverse effects to my stamps.

Ronsonal I find smells too much, and takes a tad longer to dry vs Heptane.

Regards,
Stampalotapus

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Posted 08/12/2015   12:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Jkjblue to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ronsonal....


Quote:
Its main faults are slow stamp drying, noxious fumes and flammability.


....From an evaluation of Clarity by the United States Stamp Society....

http://www.usstamps.org/clarity.html

There are always two sides to the coin.


Clarity Watermarking

If one wishes to use a non flammable, non toxic aliphatic mixture, Clarity works well in my opinion.

I've used it for literally thousands of watermarking evaluations.

Who's afraid of watermarking the Brazil 1918-41 series?

http://bigblue1840-1940.blogspot.co...1Stamps.html

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Classical era collecting with the Blues
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Posted 08/12/2015   3:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Crouse27 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Very good to know. I am uninterested in watermarks and more so with detection of paper faults. I use Ronsonal despite its disadvantage of flammability and toxicity. Use in a well ventilated area. The slow drying and longer flash are useful for fault detection.
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Posted 08/12/2015   6:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
orstampman and kollectorkurt.

You are both correct. The "wet" scan is Ronsonal and the "dry" scan is Clarity. It was wet but dried up before the scan was complete.

railkb,

I agree with you that watermark detection is not difficult. But I selected this stamp for a reason - to highlight the difference between Ronsonal and Clarity. In this instance, the Ronsonal is superior. This is not necessarily true with all stamps. In some cases, I think we'll find Clarity to be superior. Perhaps we could try another stamp such as 336 and 338 (staying with DL watermarks for now).

Jack Kelley
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Posted 08/12/2015   7:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
jkjblue,

You are dead-on. That article, which I never saw before, confirms my suspicions as to the superiority of the Clarity/Ronsonal controversy. It depends upon color! You and railkb actually anticipated where I was going with this thread. It seems to me that there is room for both in our stamp supply inventories. I am next going to solicit opinions on the usage of modifying scans using software. Modifying in the sense of color/tint/brightness, etc. I believe that this too (software) belongs in our tool chests.

Jack Kelley
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Posted 02/24/2019   12:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm a mid-level collector. To me it seems that the main advantage of Ronsonol is price. The disadvantages are the noxious fumes and their toxicity. To use it, you need "adequate ventilation." But what exactly is that? How do you know when you have it? So, I use Clarity, despite the cost. In more difficult cases, I simply soak the stamp in water and place it wet on a smooth black plastic tray. After all, these are called watermarks for a reason. (NB: Of course I don't soak stamps with chalky paper or fugitive inks.)
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Posted 02/24/2019   9:06 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
When I worked in an auction house ~30 years ago, I had used both lighter fluid and watermark fluid in the past. I used whatever was handy, and gave no thought to one being better than the other - I thought, as far as seeing watermarks or faults, that they were interchangeable. I was taught by a well-experienced co-worker that there ARE differences between them. We all know one dries faster than the other, and that they smell differently. He said something like, "You don't think the difference in properties of them ends there, do you?" Anyway, yes, each has their place in the hobby. It's like being a machinist - you wouldn't just have one type of screwdriver in your toolbox. More collectors should think of these two fluids in the same way as a machinist thinks of two different screwdrivers. I actually do work in a machine-shop, and we have a phrase - Use the right tool for the right job. That applies here, too.

In a pinch, of course, you can substitute one for the other as long as you understand the limitations.

FYI: I've never heard the term 'flash' before!! As soon as I read it, I knew exactly what you meant! I didn't know there was a word for that, but 'flash' fits it very well. I have learned that the flash (at either end of the 'wetting' process) probably provides more info than any other part of the process. I learned something today! Thanks!!!
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Edited by mootermutt987 - 02/24/2019 9:07 pm
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Posted 02/27/2019   1:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gabi1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For me is the price important, but I'm a begginer. Ventilation? Yes, I use it. I will consider in the future if I'm going to use Clarity.
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Posted 02/27/2019   1:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add txstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My understanding is that Ronsonol leaves a residue, more so than Clarity.

I've certainly used a lot of Ronsonol, and it works well. I'd like to understand a bit more about the chemical nature of whatever residue it leaves.
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Posted 02/27/2019   5:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ronsonol is also basically heptane nowadays. It is less refined than Clarity (I did not know that was heptane but it makes sense), meaning it contains varying impurities in small quantities. Any residue may be from those, or may be oily crud from the stamp.

Some people will say those mpurities are to be avoided, but heptane in any form is not good for you anyway:
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pel88/142-82.html
if you want to avoid the technical stuff, skip to the last 2 paragraphs.

Long ago, I was given some trichlorotrifluoroethane (aka CFC-113 or 113a) by a chemist for use as watermark fluid. For you chemists, I think it was 1,1,1-Trichloro-2,2,2-trifluoroethane. This was at a time when if I remember right, watermark fluid was dichloro-, also a CFC. Tri- was not safe for photogravure stamps but otherwise worked great. Less odor than the Ronsonol of the time. But it's not good for the ozone layer, and the stuff would instantly melt stamp mounts besides. Great solvent, overall truly bad for humans.
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Posted 02/28/2019   2:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add txstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting post, thanks.
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Posted 03/01/2019   10:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Crouse27 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am a chemist and as a kid about age 10 I remember going into a small pharmacy to ask if they had any carbon tetrachloride. The pharmacist, raising an eyebrow, asked what do you need it for? I said to detect watermarks on my stamps. He said you'll have to try a chemical supply store. Needless to say it was another decade before I got my first bottle of fluid.
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