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Ronsonol Lighter Fluid For Watermarks

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Posted 04/01/2021   9:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add canyoneer to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've always used this checking watermarks. I thought this was the fluid of choice by most collectors. I seem to recall hearing on the podcast "Stamp Show Here Today" that this was OK to use.

I was a little surprised to get the March 2021 APS Magazine and see Wayne Youngblood's take on this:


Quote:
The one (watermark fluid) that I absolutely do not ever advise people to use is Ronsonol lighter fluid as a watermark fluid. It is a petroleum distillate and it does leave residue.


What do you think and/or use?
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Edited by canyoneer - 04/01/2021 9:03 pm

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Posted 04/01/2021   9:14 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
https://stampsmarter.org/learning/G...nFluids.html

I use and have used it since the 1970s (being anecdotal this is not really saying much).

I have seen a fair amount of variance from bottle to bottle over time. I discarded 3 or 4 bottles back around 2006-7 that had particulate matter in the bottom of the bottles. I assume that being lighter fluid quality control is not critical nor do I think that anyone monitors lighter fluids. So I can believe that some lots might be 'greasy' or have more petroleum content.

I just buy it and when I first use a new bottle I test it with a few cheap stamps.
Don
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Posted 04/01/2021   9:24 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Partime to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have had zero problems with it for many, many years. Highly recommended.
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Posted 04/01/2021   9:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BobbyT to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Just an aside as someone who has never used lighter fluid for watermarks - don't you have concern about the flammability? I have also purchased commercial watermark detector and, as I think about it, it is probably highly flammable as well. Is there an advantage to using lighter fluid?
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Posted 04/01/2021   10:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
https://stampsmarter.org/learning/G...nFluids.html
I agree with Bob Allen here that Ronsonol picks up relatively weak watermarks (and faults) that Clarity and other watermark fluids don't show at all. So Ronsonol .

Even with lots of ventilation, if I'm doing a lot of watermarking at one time, I prefer to use the SAFE Signoscope which is up around the Ronsonol level of detection. It's a bit tricky to use and doesn't work well with stamps with a pile of hinges on the back. That said, I'm not dragging the latter around to shows and auction viewing. If you've got 2 good tools, you use both.

As for residue, is it old surface crud and finger oils coming from the stamp as I often suspect or ...?

BobbyT, with watermark fluids, you have to and want to have plenty of ventilation anyway. There's no reason to be watermarking near an open flame or with a lit cigarette. Would you avoid gas stations completely since they have literally tons of flammable gasoline around?
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Edited by hy-brasil - 04/01/2021 10:33 pm
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Posted 04/01/2021   11:13 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't use anything else. I like how it takes a while to evaporate - it gives me time to see what 'pops up' while it evaporates. The stamp-store-bought watermark fluid seems to evaporate in an instant - I didn't like that from the get-go.
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Posted 04/02/2021   12:20 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ronsonol has been a fluid of choice among dealers and collectors for many, many decades. Some stamps almost have to have been dipped in it dozens of times by now. If there really were a residue problem, you'd think this would be showing up all over the place and people would be taking note of all these classic stamps ruined by Ronsonol. The fact that you don't see this leads me to believe that it's pretty darn safe for the stamps.
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Posted 04/02/2021   01:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Jkjblue to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply


Quote:

Clarity was developed at the request of the American Philatelic Society (APS) for an improved watermarking fluid that is safe to use with philatelic materials. Clarity combines a superb optical resolution with a moderate evaporation rate with a solvent free, non-hazardous formulation.



Clear enough?

Clarity for me.

I used benzine for stamps as a child, then majored in Organic Chemistry. Plenty of exposure to all the toxic solvents. Then practiced Medicine for 30 years. The Liver is a wonderful organ, but it is not invincible. I admit I value safety over cost at this time in my life. I've watermarked thousands of stamps with Clarity as a WW classical era collector, and it works 95% of the time. For the other 5%, yes, there may be other "solutions".
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Posted 04/02/2021   08:56 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add chiapas to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi,
I use 70% isopropyl alcohol to see the watermarks. That is very safe from a health perspective. I think I can see the watermarks quite well (except on colored paper). Is there any downside to using this as a watermark detector.
Thanks
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Posted 04/02/2021   10:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DonSellos to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have used Ronsonol as a watermark fluid for years without problems.

Don
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Posted 04/02/2021   10:50 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add txstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A prior thread -

http://goscf.com/t/45247
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Posted 04/02/2021   12:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dudley to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't think the British Commonwealth Crown watermarks are a good test -- most of them are clearly visible simply when held up to light. The single-line USPS watermark or similar difficult-to-see examples would be more telling. Also, in my experience Clarity evaporates too quickly to detect many subtle faults.
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Posted 04/02/2021   12:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Clarity ... with a solvent free ... formulation


Obviously they did not have a chemist write this description.

Any liquid we encounter in watermarking is technically a "solvent", whether Clarity or Ronsonol or Zippo or plain water. They should be more specific (and accurate).
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Posted 04/02/2021   2:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jleb1979 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ronsonol is my juice of choice.

This reminds me of something in a box in my basement.
A local stamp and coin shop sold me a bottle of Harco "Drop-O-Mark" when I was a boy back in the late 60's. It is 1 1 1 trichloroethane, a.k.a. methyl chloroform. It was marked "warning: do do use on stamps printed by photogravure."

Probably good that I did not do a lot of watermarking back then - nasty stuff. I recall dissolving something plastic with it. The remainder is still in a bottle which I want to dispose of responsibly.
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Posted 04/02/2021   4:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I used 1 1 1 trichlorotrifluoroethane at one time, equally evil, but perhaps even better than Ronsonol. I remember a colleague accidentally dropped a stamp in a mount in a filled watermark tray and made a melted mess. He was a quick thinker and soaked the blob in more of that stuff, melting the mount completely in a couple of minutes. He then gave it a rinse with clean 1 1 1 tri etc. Under a microscope, no trace of plastic was left. Scary solvent.
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Posted 04/02/2021   8:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Cjd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If you're doing this at home, you might put your phone or camera in a tripod and "film" the dropping of the juice. Some fluids seem to "flash" for a second or two. I've watched dealers hit a stamp three and four times, trying to catch the brief moment of revelation.

This is theoretical. I have a few bottles of Ronsonol left that are about ten years old (guessing), and it will take a while for me to use them up. (As hinted at above, since I collect BC material, I don't need to hit too many stamps in a given month. My Ottlight does just fine, most of the time.)
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