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If you want to simulate "original" old-time toning for your precious silver coins, just leave them in there unslabbed -- no flips either. Over time, your coins will end up looking like Childs Collection specimens. Or even Eliasberg's...


(Benson, Evergreen, Amon Carter -- they were from the paper flips.)




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Wonderfull job on your Coin Chest! Amazed you got it done in a week-end!


Some observations from a fellow woodworker.


An 8X10X8' Walnut board is premium stock in that dimension, and was probably very expensive. The last time I purchased comparable stock quite some time ago it was $6.50 to $8.00 a board foot. I think it would be even more now from a retail source. A great gift idea from your Son!


I expect the observations about placing raw coins in any such chest were somewhat tongue in cheek. I would highly recommend against it. If anyone were planning to do so here are some considerations for you.


Such woods as walnut, oak and cheery for example all contain tannins which are quite acidic. Normally the interior of such a cabinet would remain unfinished exposing raw silver coins,over time, to a potentially quite reactive , acididically caustic confined environment. My expectation would be that the toning that would result would be deleterious rather than enhancing.


In addition, even if all surfaces were finished and exposure to any wood based chemical components might be retarded or conceivably prevented, the chemical agents in the finish itself would likely present a more serious hazard. Modern finishes contain a plethera of chemical solids,driers, solvents, etc, in a coctail whose impact could not be predicted to have any effect other than quite risky.


I suspect that this chest was finished with lacquer or shellac since it was completed in a week-end because they are very fast drying. They are also the best choice if one were planning a cabinet for raw coins as well.


If I recall correctly, lacquer is considered pretty inert upon drying, but the different chemical additives that might be present from different manufaturers formulas would be an unpredictable unknown. As a result the terminal drying time in which these agents would no longer be an evaporative issue would also be an uncertainty.


The most certain and safe finish that I would recommend would in fact be shellac. This is primarily so because the specific solvent for shellac is denatured alcohol. And as you know alcohol is inert with silver. So one would not have unknown harmfull chemicalls leaching out into the coin environment over time.


Commercially available shellacs might well be acceptable, But: they usually also cantain resins and such that have been added by the manufacturer to enhance their product. It is rarely revealed on the container to the woodworker since the additives for each maker would be proprietary.


So, heres the kernal of this discourse, the length of which I apologize.


Shellac is available in unconstituted but "purified" pure flakes ( also in "unpurified flakes" as well which retains a strong orange cast rather than "water clear" like the purified stuff ).


By preparing your own shellac with these flakes and denatured alcohol you would have the Most inert finish possible. All the alcohol evaporates and the shellac is non-reactive.

It leaves a beautifull, very hard, sealing, protective finish which can be polished to a mirror finish if desired.


Then you would have as "safe" and attractive wooden storage cabinet as possible, other than any atmospheric exposure in the surronding environment.


I hope this review had some informative and entertainment value.


Regards All,










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wow a fantastic chest you did an extremely great job on it!




another great post on here


and thanks coinsmith you gave me much information i never realized


a superlative thread/post!


sincerely michael

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