GOOD FOR ANOTHER TEN!
During the later part of 2018, this outside row deer and his wooden friends in rows one and two on Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel No. 6 were given a new coat of protective varnish. Overseeing a carousel with 90% original paint on its animals and scenery panels is a responsibility that the Kit Carson County Carousel Association takes very seriously. Though the carousel is run only on the hour and half hour between Memorial Day and Labor Day, thousands of riders annually slowly take their toll on the 114- year old Merry-Go-Round. Though a polyurethane top coat could assist in preventing some of the nicks and scratches, eventually that top coat would need to be removed and along with it would come the original paint! Thus, the Carousel Association used only old -fashioned varnish.
The process begins with a gentle washing (and thorough drying) of each figure to remove dirt, fly specks, body oil, and residue from sticky little fingers. A week later, the carousel’s restorers Rand and Karen Hood touch up any damaged areas of paint with artist’s oil paints and then return to their Colorado studio some 200 miles away. After waiting another seven to ten days, the varnishing process can begin. The Hoods mix an overall protective coating mix from Restoration Varnish mixed with turpentine…this varnish is often referred to as “water white” as its chemical components do not yellow over time the way common varnishes do. Properly mixed and applied, Restoration Varnish will meld together leaving no brushstrokes and will not sag or run during curing. Timing of the varnishing is often a challenge as each newly varnished animal needs to cure for at least another ten days (and the nighttime temperature should not be below 60 degrees) before it can be ridden. Though the paint touchups and filling of any chips are done annually, the varnish can last around 10 years in a protected environment like PTC No. 6. The small figures swirling around on row three are scheduled for varnish this coming fall.