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Valued Member
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Posted 08/05/2015   7:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add lukusw to your friends list  Get a Link to this Message
What in your opinion is the best watermark detection fluid or device available?
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Posted 08/05/2015   7:17 pm  Show Profile Check Petert4522's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ronsonol lighter fluid. When you use it do not smoke! It only takes a drop to show the watermark ( or lack thereof ) and it will not harm the stamp or the gum. You do need a black background to view the watermark.

Peter
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Posted 08/05/2015   7:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Jkjblue to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I use clarity.

Available at amosadvantage
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Posted 08/05/2015   7:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Well, that's what I do, too (Clarity and black dish). Except I rarely find the watermark. That's why I was wondering about a transparent filter - red, yellow, or something else. I heard that it helps finding watermarks. Old wives tale?

Jack Kelley
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Posted 08/05/2015   7:38 pm  Show Profile Check disi123's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add disi123 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Have heard alot of mixed opinions on 'Clarity', Ronsonol has never failed after decades of use...
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Posted 08/05/2015   7:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you Disi123. I've never used Ronsonal. I am going to buy a bottle (can?) tomorrow and do some side-by-side tests. And I'll report the results here in a day or too.

Jack Kelley
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Posted 08/05/2015   7:56 pm  Show Profile Check disi123's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add disi123 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi, Jack... the yellow plastic bottles run between $3 and $4 per
bottle, generally... the cans I'm not sure of... but the same fluid
is in both...

Here's some examples people have listed on eBay for a visual...

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...uid&_sacat=0

Randall
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Edited by disi123 - 08/05/2015 7:56 pm
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Posted 08/05/2015   8:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bookbndrbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If you are doing lots of watermarking, you would want a Safe Signoscope device. The downside is the initial cost; they are expensive. My cost for watermark fluid is zero. I'm a geezer and bought mine years ago, so for me it was pretty cheap. I've checked thousands of watermarks and found some very good ones going through cheap lots. It has certainly paid for itself. It's an indispensable tool, along with the long and short wave UV lamp.

If you buy one used, I would advise buying from a trusted dealer/seller. I know someone who broke his, and I can't figure out how he did it.
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Posted 08/05/2015   8:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add shermae to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've used a Signoscope for years and it does a very nice job detecting difficult watermarks. It's expensive, yes, but it's a toy like any other toy and a lot less expensive than most (boats, sports cars, Sea Doo's, recreational drugs, etc). For modern British Commonwealth it works more often than not, however with some thick paper issues the watermarks are extremely difficult or impossible to discern. I've even had times when practicing using the T1 where a Commonwealth stamp known to only exist with a single type of watermark shows none.

I prefer the T1 as it's a lot easier to handle and creates more pressure than the T2. They pop up used on eBay and elsewhere from time to time.

For those of you who have used both Ronsonol and Clarity, do you feel there is a difference in how well one or the other shows watermarks?
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Posted 08/05/2015   9:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Historical DNA Collector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've read some good reviews by SCF members about specialty devices, but I haven't tried any yet. For me a black tray works well and for the most difficult ones, I use wet scanning. As for fluid, I haven't tried anything but Ronsonol which hasn't failed me yet.

To me the hardest part about learning to see watermarks was knowing what to exactly look for. Below is an illustration that shows a basic idea of what you see when watermarking. Light from your lamp above you or from the scanner head penetrates the stamp. The arrows represent the light reflected back which you see. A watermark is basically an area of the paper that is thinner than the rest. This causes that area to appear darker, whether it be the ink of the design or the combined cancel ink and black background.



So let's put what we now know to work on an #416. It's perf 12 so we know that it has to have a Single Line (SL) watermark. It is also yellow which are considered the most difficult color stamps to see watermarks on, as well as orange.



Here's the SL watermark zoomed in:



Can you find areas on it that correlate to each of the 5 arrows in the illustration above? Post an image as a reply with the arrows numbered 1 through 5 from left to right.

Wet scanning has never failed me. Do be careful and check that your watermarking fluid won't damage your scanner or leach ink from the black paper that you use as a background. Test small areas of the scanner lid to see if the plastic softens. Touch a paper towel to your soaked black paper to see if any black ink transfers to it.

Precaution:
Non-flammable fluids like Clarity are perfectly safe as long as a bunch of it doesn't get inside the scanner body. Have a paper towel on hand to soak up excess. Using flammable fluid for any type of watermarking does have a risk of fire, so be careful not to let any inside the scanner body. Once again, something like a paper towel will soak up any excess. If any does get inside the body, then unplug the scanner and wait for all of it to evaporate.

To perform wet scanning, first put fluid on the scanner's glass. Place your stamp face up in the puddle and get any air bubbles out from under it. Soak a piece of black paper (cut to somewhat larger than the stamp) and then add a few drops more to the stamp. Place the soaked black paper over the stamp and squeegee any air out. Finally, close the lid and get the scan as quickly as possible so the fluid doesn't dry out.

Another nifty thing about wet scanning is that you can leave the stamp in the scanner and let it dry completely. Then get another scan of it which will show all of the offset ink clearly. You could then use it as a mask in photoshop to remove all of the offset ink from your wet scan.

http://www.stampsmarter.com/1847usa/Watermarks.htm is great for learning what orientation they can appear in and how to use a template to see where they can show up on a stamp. Advanced photoshop users can use the images there to create a layer to place above the stamp instead of using a printout and a cardboard template.
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Ryan = HDNAC = DNA = HDC = Hysterical DNA Collector = Historical DNA Collector = me who just loves stamps :)
Edited by Historical DNA Collector - 08/06/2015 1:35 pm
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Posted 08/05/2015   10:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add JLLebbert to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
DNA: Had never considered scanning a "wet" stamp to look for watermarks. Thanks for the idea!
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Posted 08/06/2015   07:59 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
HistoricalDNAcollector,

Awesome tutorial. Are we seeing a "backwards" " S " ?

Jack Kelley
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384 Posts
Posted 08/06/2015   08:17 am  Show Profile Check srailkb's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add srailkb to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't recommend putting watermark fluid on a scanner bed. In fact, I can't think of much good that can come from putting any flammable liquid on any heat-generating, electronic/powered device...

Put it in a dish or on a black card and just take a picture. Even inexpensive point-and-shoots have decent macro capabilities (heck, your cell phone would probably do an adequate job...)
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Posted 08/06/2015   08:30 am  Show Profile Check srailkb's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add srailkb to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm not a fan of Signoscopes. They do NOT find difficult watermarks on US stamps (even when you use the spacers, etc.)

I've watermarked tens of thousands of stamps (maybe 100,000's - Bill Weiss knows what I'm talking about, LOL) and probably tried 10 different Signoscopes obtained from buying out estates. I'm honestly amazed that anyone who's used one (and knows how to use fluid) would recommend them. Not only are they not effective at finding tough watermarks, but they're likely to eventually damage a stamp (from the pressure,) they're nearly-worthless if the item has a hinge or other adhesion on the back, and they don't offer nearly big enough an area to examine multiples (blocks, plate blocks, etc.)

I'd like someone to name a single major dealer or auctioneer (guys who make a living from accurately identifying stamps) who uses one, or even recommends one as the best method of watermarking stamps. There's a very good reason for that deafening silence. BTW, dealers who sell Signoscopes don't count...
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Posted 08/06/2015   08:40 am  Show Profile Check srailkb's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add srailkb to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Clarity vs. Ronsonol. For me, Clarity does a great job at finding difficult watermarks, but it (a) dries way too quick for my liking (the "flashes" aren't there long enough to always see,) and (b) doesn't show tiny faults well (sometimes not at all.)

In fact, when Clarity first came out and I did my side-by-side comparison w/ Ronsonol (used them both on the same stamps for a month or so,) I was freaked out because faults I could see with Ronsonol were COMPLETELY invisible in Clarity, and that was even knowing EXACTLY where to look. I'm talking about very tiny faults -- miniscule perf tears, tiny perf creases, etc. Still...

After looking at many hundreds (probably thousands) of stamps in both fluids, I put the Clarity back in the cabinet and haven't used it since. It has its advantages, and I might still be inclined to use it for a tough watermark on a tough colored stamp, but to be honest, with experience you see those with Ronsonol too, especially when first dropped into fluid.
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Posted 08/06/2015   12:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Blaamand to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I concure with shermae, Signoscope T1 is my favourit wmk detector, even the tough yellow stamps are sorted. That Said, I really like the idea of wet scanning, never heard about it - thanks a lot H DNA C.
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