18 May 2010

Health report, and an international hunt

Weight: unchanged, but still need to lose a little. Blood pressure: 13/8 (that's the way it's measured in France). Pulse: fine. Cholesterol: up slightly; must be the brioche and the bacon. Heart and lungs: sound good through the stethoscope, according to le docteur.

In other words, my vital signs are good. I'll probably live for a while longer.

Flowers and plants I noticed around the vineyard recently....

That's about all I have to say today. The weather is improving. I'm going over to Montrichard to do some shopping this morning. It's only 10 miles from Saint-Aignan, but it seems like a big expedition to me. I've been told that there is a shop in Montrichard that sells organic and exotic products, including tofu. I'm finally going to check it out. I also need to go to our bank to pick up a new checkbook, and the bank is in Montrichard. They won't mail checkbooks out — you have to go pick them up in person.

...just to dress up this post

I've been doing Internet research on wood-finishing products including something called « lasure » in French — not sure what that is in English — a kind of tint or stain, maybe — and varnishes. I'd prefer a water-based, acrylic product, as opposed to oil-based varnish, and there are companies that make them.

One such company is Sadolin, and English friends Jean and Nick have recommended it. They've used it on new floorboards they put down in their house in Le Grand-Pressigny. Trouble is, Sadolin products don't seem to be available in France. J. and N. have kindly offered to bring us some over from England, but we're still looking for a French equivalent — something we can buy locally, and go buy some more of if we run out.

I think I've finally found it. Sadolin wood-finishing products are made by an old Danish company, and they are sold in Belgium as well as in the U.K. So I wrote an e-mail to the Belgian company's customer service people and asked for suggestions. They told me in an e-mail yesterday that there is an equivalent line of products in France sold under the brand name Linitop.

So now I'm researching the Linitop brand. I haven't yet found any stores around Blois or Tours that sell Linitop products. There's one up in the Paris suburbs. I wrote the Linitop customer service people an e-mail to ask for advice and a list of retailers. We'll see.

This floor- and stair-finishing project has become an international affair.


  1. Lasure is a clear coating for when you want to protect external wood. It is not used inside. For floorboards you need a vitrificateur, which is very hard wearing. Most paint and related products are now only available as water solvent. EU legislation has phased out chemical solvents. That's why you will see certain paints and paint brushes on mega special at the moment in France, because the stores need to sell them quickly or risk having to pay to dispose of them soon.

    If Sandolin or Linitop products contain any linseed oil at all, I would think very carefully before using it. Linseed is a natural and traditional product for treating wood, but it has a nasty habit of turning into a disgusting black sludge over time. It is very hygroscopic and the dampness then collects dust, making a mudpack. Also dogs find linseed oil incredibly tasty so you might find Callie spends a lot of time licking the floor.

  2. Hi Susan, is marine varnish not oil-based? It's funny, because I can find only oil-based varnishes on sites like Leroy-Merlin, Bricomarché, and Castorama. Is the phasing out a long Euro-process?

    I'll find out about the linseed oil. I don't think it's an ingredient, because the products are acrylics, not oils.

    As for lasure, I know people who have used it on interior surfaces and the dictionary says it's a stain or a tint in English. I think there are exterior and interior lasures.

  3. I wonder, now that the euro is doing a nose-dive, if the French banks will actually resort to real customer service?

  4. I've spent way too much time in hardware shops recently trying to sort out varnish type products for the bathroom floor. My impression from reading the tins is that lasure is used when you want to show off natural wood, but need to protect it. It's the sort of thing you might use on new unpainted shutters, for example. It comes in clear and various wood tint colours. I asked a French ebeniste friend about it and he said it is absorbed by the wood, and is not a complete seal, unlike a vitrificateur, which creates an impervious surface barrier. He says you don't use it inside, and not over paint, only on bare wood, so it was no good for us. I am not sure if marine varnish comes in acrylic. I didn't look at it because it doesn't come in anything but brilliant, and we didn't want a high gloss. The phasing out of solvent based products has been over several years and is almost at an end.

    Bricomarché definitely have many water based varnish type products suitable for floors, and so will the other bricos. We bought one to do the bathroom floor made by 3V. The one we bought previously for the staircase is solvent based (and annoyingly, it's a special solvent, not just white spirit - I made sure to buy some solvent last time we were at BricoDepot in case it became unavailable).

  5. Tofu !? Is that organic, exotic, or both? I can't wait to hear how you use it.

    We just had our wood floors refinished. The guy told me that the oil based finishes are all being phased out in favor of water-based ones. The one we used is made by a company called Bona. The smell dissipates quickly and it dries very fast. It is also harder than the oil based polyurathane we used in the past.

  6. Susan, thanks for that. I think I'll go to a local store specializing in paints and wallpapers to see what they might have to say. And I got a message from Linitop's customer service recommending a shop in La Ville aux Dames called Barillet and another in La Riche called LOISEAU TOURAINE.

    Tom, thanks for the Bona name. I see on the web site that Bona is a Swedish company and it markets its products in France. You must have had many many square feet of floor redone. I image they had to be sanded first.

  7. Bona was recommended to us too, by Henri Proust. He says it's the best for bathrooms. In the end we opted not to go with it since it was twice as expensive in France than the UK, and we didn't have time to ask anyone in the UK to get us some.


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