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Thread: Lamp Black/Wax Ratio?

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    Lamp Black/Wax Ratio?

    Hi all, I have a 1 quart mason jar with a mix of wax and Lamp Black/Carbon Black that I mixed up years ago and there's no longer enough wax left in the jar to pot a Strat sized pickup.

    I still have the Lamp Black powder but I have no idea how much powder I originally put in the wax.
    Anybody have any idea of the proper ratio used?

    Thanks.
    Rob.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stratz View Post
    Hi all, I have a 1 quart mason jar with a mix of wax and Lamp Black/Carbon Black that I mixed up years ago and there's no longer enough wax left in the jar to pot a Strat sized pickup.

    I still have the Lamp Black powder but I have no idea how much powder I originally put in the wax.
    Anybody have any idea of the proper ratio used?

    Thanks.
    Rob.
    Was curious what you came up with.
    Also What pickups do you put in the black wax?
    I presume you put any pickup with single coils that have black flatwork?
    Thanks for sharing.
    T

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    Was curious what you came up with.
    Also What pickups do you put in the black wax?
    I presume you put any pickup with single coils that have black flatwork?
    Thanks for sharing.
    T
    I haven't come up with squat yet Terry. It was so long ago I have no idea how much I used.
    I got the Lamp Black from my Father and I know he got it from Mr Fullerton so there wont be anymore of that batch coming.
    The mix I have looks perfect and I don't want to screw up what I have left.
    I called my Father and doesn't remember how to use much either.
    I can transfer what mixed wax I have left into a smaller jar and I'll at least be able to pot a set of Strat singles I have sold but I really need to find the proper ratio.

    To answer your question, I use it on 50's repro Fender singles to make them look more authentic..

    Rob

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    Question from Free-Associating Ignoramus

    Is the lamp black used purely for aesthetics, or do carbon's conductive properties come into play?
    If just for looks, why can't you just mix "by eye"?
    This Wikipedia info on India ink got me wondering about conductive properties:

    Composition

    Basic India ink is composed of a variety of fine soot known as lampblack, combined with water to form a liquid. A binding agent such as gelatin or, more commonly, shellac may also be added, to make the ink more durable once dried. India ink is occasionally sold not as a liquid, but in solid form (most commonly, a stick), which must be moistened before use.

    Uses other than writing

    Once dry, its conductive properties make it useful for electrical connections to difficult substrates, such as glass. Although relatively low in conductivity, surfaces can be made suitable for electroplating, low frequency shielding, or for creating large conductive geometries for high voltage apparatuses. A piece of paper impregnated with India ink serves as a grid leak resistor in some tube radio circuits.

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    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    I'd wonder about having carbon in the wax also. And wasn't that done fort the Tele pickups to make the string black?

    Hey maybe it's a secret tone element.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    I've heard of guys putting black Kiwi Shoe polish in there wax pot, for that aged look.
    T

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    "Here I come to save the day!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjb View Post
    Is the lamp black used purely for aesthetics, or do carbon's conductive properties come into play?
    If just for looks, why can't you just mix "by eye"?
    Some say it's for looks and some say it affects the tone as well. I don't hear any difference myself and I can see no evidence of conductivity with my DMM or Extech LCR meter. But that still doesn't rule it out. I've remember my Father warning me about the old original black Forbon (which was colored with Lamp Black) shorting out on on bobbin flatwork.

    I'd rather not mix it by eye because I know that there was specific ratio used by Fender and I only have about 10 oz of the original stuff left.

    Thanks
    Rob.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Schwab View Post
    wasn't that done fort the Tele pickups to make the string black?
    Thats correct David

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    I've heard of guys putting black Kiwi Shoe polish in there wax pot, for that aged look.
    T
    That wouldn't really cut it Terry. You can actually still the powder on the pickups, especially on the winding.

    Rob.

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    Well, I figured out how much NOT to use.


    After a little adjustment I got it exactly like I wanted it.
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    It doesn't take as much as I had thought.
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    Last edited by Stratz; 07-21-2012 at 11:18 PM.

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    CNC Trial by Fire kayakerca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stratz View Post
    Well, I figured out how much NOT to use.


    After a little adjustment I got it exactly like I wanted it.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    It doesn't take as much as I had thought.
    What ratio of of lampblack to wax did you use to get it to come out the way you wanted it? I have a '62 Tele bridge I'm rewinding and it has the black string which I'm sure will need a little touching up with lampblack tinted wax to get the rewound bridge just right. The customer wants the end product as authentic as possible.

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    Take Care,

    Jim. . .
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    Senior Member Jim Shine's Avatar
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    I do not have a mix ratio and I highly doubt Fender did as well. There are batches in the old days where the lampblack is very low, others where there is so much, little clumps can be seen and the white, yellow, blue, or green leads turn jet black. Just add it until it is where you like it and know there are a couple thousand Fender's out there that match.

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    Jim.

    Many thanks for the input. I'll follow your suggestion.

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    Take Care,

    Jim. . .
    ____________________________________________________
    In the immortal words of Dr. Johnny Fever, “When everyone is out to get you, paranoid is just good thinking.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Shine View Post
    I do not have a mix ratio and I highly doubt Fender did as well. There are batches in the old days where the lampblack is very low, others where there is so much, little clumps can be seen and the white, yellow, blue, or green leads turn jet black. Just add it until it is where you like it and know there are a couple thousand Fender's out there that match.
    Since the string was already black from before (only the underside that was laying up against the coil initially was white), I just melted some wax chips and added my home made lamp black powder to taste then just put the chips on the string and blended it in with the heat gun. Finished product is dirty enough to have bit of that patina thing going on.

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    I'm happy with the result.

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    Take Care,

    Jim. . .
    ____________________________________________________
    In the immortal words of Dr. Johnny Fever, “When everyone is out to get you, paranoid is just good thinking.”

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    Senior Member Jim Shine's Avatar
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    Another thing I noticed that happens, and I am certain they experienced the same thing is the lamp black will settle down into the bottom, especially if the wax gets cold and solidifies (it completely separates and sits at the bottom). If it wasn't stirred up, the amount would be lean, if freshly stirred, it could be heavy until it settled a little. This junk is a PITA. But if you are going to rewind old pickups, may as well go the extra mile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Shine View Post
    Another thing I noticed that happens, and I am certain they experienced the same thing is the lamp black will settle down into the bottom, especially if the wax gets cold and solidifies (it completely separates and sits at the bottom). If it wasn't stirred up, the amount would be lean, if freshly stirred, it could be heavy until it settled a little. This junk is a PITA. But if you are going to rewind old pickups, may as well go the extra mile.
    Yes, even with the little bit I created using a candle and a small Pyrex glass bowl to catch the smoke produced some incredibly messy suet. That stuff blackens up everything it touches. Even with the small amount of wax I used with the lamp black scraped together to blacken the string, I had a hard time keeping it from separating as you were pointing out. I'll definitely toss another $10 at a small crock pot for lamp black potting going forward. I don't see many of these bridges in the shop, but the few that do come through will now get potted with the new mixture.

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    Take Care,

    Jim. . .
    ____________________________________________________
    In the immortal words of Dr. Johnny Fever, “When everyone is out to get you, paranoid is just good thinking.”

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    Senior Member Jim Shine's Avatar
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    Once you start experiencing the mess it makes, you realize it made its way all over the leads, not just the solder point. People associate the slightly soiled look with just age..but I am certain most of it is traces of lamp black from handling with dirty fingers in a dirty environment.

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