Meaning of Varnish

The name of an Egyptian city derived from veronix, a Low Latin term that later became berniz and came to our language as a varnish. Varnish is a solution of one or more resins or oily substances in a liquid that, when in contact with air, dries or volatilizes.

Although its historical origin is not clear, it is known that the varnishes were used by the ancient Greeks to protect the wood of their boats. Also in Ancient Egypt varnishes were used to decorate tombs.

The varnish, at a general level, is usually applied to different elements to protect them from damage caused by external agents such as sun rays and humidity. In addition to improving resistance, varnishes are also used to beautify surfaces.

There are synthetic varnishes and varnishes that originate from elements of nature. It is important to note that it is possible to mix these substances with colorants to alter their color.

Once the varnish dries, it turns into a kind of film that covers the surface. The varnish, in this way, acts as a thin layer that provides protection to the varnish.

DIY enthusiasts face a myriad of challenges and techniques for restoring deteriorated objects, turning waste into household items, and even replicating unique designs with very little money. Among all the activities they carry out, varnishing is one of the most common, and they usually practice it on wood, both to revive old furniture and to give a more impressive finish to almost any product.

It is that we should not underestimate the renovating effect that varnish has on objects, especially wooden ones, since this material usually looks quite opaque if it is not worked in any way. As in any case, it is not enough to buy a can of varnish and apply it on a piece of furniture, but it is necessary to learn certain tricks and become familiar with the different aspects of the process.

One of the first points to take into account before varnishing is to know the characteristics of the surface, since only then can we buy the right type of varnish for it. In the particular case of wood, since it can be a very porous material, it is sometimes necessary to apply several layers of varnish.

In addition to knowing the type of wood to buy the corresponding varnish, it is important to have a work space of adequate dimensions, preferably if it is isolated from all those products that we wish to protect from stains and falls, such as electrical appliances, curtains and rugs.

In this context comes the need for adequate ventilation, since the inhalation of varnish –although it is not indirect– can lead to intoxication. On the other hand, it is advisable to have a structure on which to support the object to be varnished to avoid bad postures.

If the wood is worn, had already been varnished or is not completely clean, we must sand it and remove the dust before applying any product. With regard to the varnish brush, a large, flat brush is recommended to cover large surfaces, in combination with a small one for edges and hard-to-reach parts.

Varnish, on the other hand, is the name given to the solution that is used to bathe porcelain, earthenware and clay when they are raw so that later, with firing, they vitrify, waterproof the piece and acquire a glossy finish. These varnishes are also resinous and leave a very thin film on the objects to which they are applied.