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Essay 7



One, Two, Three, and so forth (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...) mean the cardinal numbers. They are used for measuring quantities by counting. They measure how much. They do not measure position. Five apples does not say which apple is in front.

First, Second, Third, and so forth (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, ...) mean the ordinal numbers. They are used for showing position of something relative to others, whether something is above or below, behind or in front of, or similar idea. They do not measure quantity. The fifth apple does not say how many there are, or whether the third is gone.

Any number you encounter may be a cardinal number or an ordinal number. The same symbol (for example, 5) may be used to mean either quantity or position. You must discover from the context which is meant. Our language system is not perfect. This is one instance where the same symbol or word has more than one meaning. There are many others.


Alkyd: (see also Enamel and Oil-based) An oil-based enamel chemically modified to give improved properties

Cured: The solid state attained by a mixture of liquids or paste materials designed to chemically react with each other.

Deterioration: The reduced condition of wood of any age due to fungi, bacteria or insects attacking, eating or otherwise degrading the wood beyond its normal degradation in this atmosphere. In the Pest Control industry, insects such as beetles or termites are said to cause "structural damage". This is deterioration.

Enamel: (See also oil-based and Varnish) A solvent-borne paint, made by adding pigments to resins made from the oils of plants (varnish). In recent years paint manufacturers have corrupted the word, applying it also to the latex (water-borne) paints.

Epoxy: A certain kind of molecular structure, a ring of two carbon atoms and one oxygen atom, attached to various resins used in some two-component paints or glues. The two components are intended to be mixed together and will chemically react (will "cure") to form some solid material which is the reaction product ("cured epoxy resin"). Epoxy may also be used to refer to the solid product formed by the reaction of the two components. The words "epoxy resin" are often used to refer to both the liquid starting material and to the resulting solid, the cured material. See Cured. There are many other kinds of two-component products besides epoxy-containing products, although those are among the longest-lasting and most water-resistant.

Fiberglass: Glass fibers, either in a mat of random strands or woven into a fabric. It is also used to mean the composite hard, strong material formed by the impregnation and molding of glass fibers with some hard material, usually a cured epoxy or polyester resin.

Fungus: A microscopic life form or its larger assemblies (such as mushrooms), resembling plants more than animals, which eat wood by secreting digestive chemicals as they grow in contact or within wood, dissolving and consuming it.

Lacquer: A clear, drying coating which, once dried, redissolves in its original carrier solvent. Shellac is a form of lacquer. Today, many paint manufacturers or dealers use the word irresponsibly to apply to any clear or pigmented coating. See Enamel and Varnish.

Latex: Originally, the sap of the rubber tree. Today, it refers to paints made from a suspension of microscopic droplets of some resin mixture, in water.

Quart: A unit of liquid measure, about six percent less than a liter.

Micron: A unit of length, a millionth of a meter. A meter is about ten percent more than three feet. There are about 25,000 microns in an inch.

Milliliter: A thousandth of a liter. The last joint of your little finger has a volume, if your fingers are average size, of about three milliliters.

Oil-based: Those kinds of paints or varnishes carried with a solvent such as mineral spirits or turpentine, and which are made from the oils of plants (as opposed to the acrylic resins of petrochemical origin, used in latex paints). Many plants have oils which are used for paint or varnish. The Tung berry yields Tung oil, Walnuts yield Walnut oil, the Flax plant yields Linseed oil, and so forth. There are two general types of coatings, those carried in a solvent ["Solvent-borne"] and those carried in water, normally as "latex".

Polyester: "Polyester resin" may mean either the liquid resin starting material, whether or not mixed with its catalyst, or the cured solid resin or even the cured solid resin impregnated into a glass fiber matrix. Some boats are made of polyester resin and glass fiber.

Polyurethane: A solid, similar in definition to epoxy, but made from different chemicals and having different physical properties.

Pot Life: Literally, this means "life in the pot" or the useful life of a two-component product after mixing, while sitting in a container ("the pot"). The Lignu Impregnating Resin will be liquid for much longer than the time specified as "pot life". The "pot life" of Lignu Impregnating Resin is the time during which it has the most chemical reactivity. It should be used within that "pot life".

Primer: This literally means the prime coat, or first coat. The word "prime" has another meaning, as high quality. We are not using that definition anywhere here. This word "prime" as "first" derives from the Latin primus, meaning first. There are many kinds of "first coats" such as adhesion-promoting primers, waterproofing primers used to seal a porous substrate, filler primers, sanding and surfacing primers, corrosion - inhibiting primers for metal, wood primers intended to block tannin bleed-through of wood topcoats, moisture-diffusion-barrier primers, and others. Adding specific adjectives to the word "primer" conveys a clear concept. Lignu Impregnating Resin functions as several different kinds of primers, depending on the situation. Something applied to a surface before a topcoat would be called a primer. The verb, "to prime" means the action of applying a primer.

Resin: This has become a very vague term nowadays. It is casually used to mean any liquid material or any solid material and has, as a separate word, lost any precise meaning.

Restoration: The action of returning to the wood at least a portion of its original properties.

Shelf Life: The life stated by the manufacturer for a product in the original (unopened) containers. This represents the life on the store shelf, ready to be sold and used. It is normally very conservatively understated, but not always.

Spores: The eggs of the fungus. As fungi grow, they create and leave in their wake many spores, which can hatch under favorable temperature and moisture conditions. Wind can carry these microscopic eggs great distances and they can survive harsh conditions, even in the space between stars.

Ultraviolet: The part of the light from the sun that is more blue than what our eyes can see at the blue end of the spectrum. The light from the sun comes in a range (spectrum) of colors, seen in a rainbow, from ultraviolet through the visible colors blue, green yellow, orange, red, and more red which our eyes cannot see. That red is called infrared and we can feel it as heat.

Urethane: Same as polyurethane, without getting too technical about it.

Varnish: (see also Oil-based, and Lacquer) A clear coating which, once hardened, will not dissolve in its original carrier solvent. Today, many paint manufacturers use the word irresponsibly to refer to any clear drying coating.

V. O. C.: Abbreviation for Volatile Organic Content. It represents the portion of a product which evaporates, not counting water, and is also called the solvent content. It is measured in units of grams (of volatiles) per liter (of paint) and is controlled by various state and federal regulatory agencies in many countries.

Copyright © 2002 Steve Smith All rights reserved

Essay 1
An introduction to paint, varnish and the Lignu Resin on wood
Essay 2
Clear coatings on wood
Essay 3
Essay 4
How to get more life from paint on old, weathered wood
Essay 5
Essay 6
Essay 7
Essay 8
What's the Matter?

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