Williamsburg Oil Paint Review

PROSPECTUS: Dedicated to handmade integrity, Williamsburg Handmade Oils are crafted by skilled American artisans using top-quality pigments from around the world.

Each of the more than 170 colors in the line possesses a unique consistency and texture ā€” some are slightly gritty, while others are extremely smooth. This is what makes Williamsburg Handmade Oils so unique and prized by the painters who choose them.

Colors are made in small batches no larger than five gallons at a time to ensure the highest level of control. Pigments are carefully ground to enhance the beauty and luminosity specific to each and then combined with pure, premium, alkali-refined and pH-balanced linseed oil.

Every ingredient is hand-measured, and every batch is scrutinized for quality. Most Williamsburg Oils are considered to have excellent lightfastness (LF I), with the exception of Alizarin Crimson and Van Dyke Brown, which have very poor lightfastness (LFIII).

  • SELECTION_170+_Large varied selection
  • PROPRIETARY COLORS_Notable number of Earth colors. Several proprietaries were developed by Williamsburg’s founder Carl Planski. There is porcelain white which is a white enamel pigment. 
  • CONSISTENCY AND TEXTURE_Some pigments are slightly gritty; others are incredibly smooth; This varies from pigment to pigment. They started as a small company with very crude equipment; Carl’s original product resulted from the equipment’s limitations. 
  • BINDERS_Primarily Alkali Refined Linseed Oil, however, a range of colors in Safflower oil has been added recently.
  • ADDITIVES_They make minimal mention of ingredients beyond binders, but like all professional-grade paint manufacturers we tested, they only use modifiers required to make a pigment more usable. 
  • FINISH OR SHEEN_Semi-gloss
  • PACKAGING_Servable, actual colors used on the labels is a plus.
  • TOXICITY_ Lead Whites, Lot of Cadmiums, and other metals.
  • TRANSLUCENCY_ Adequate number of Transparent Colours
  • OPACITY/COVERAGE_Excellent_Range leans Opaque
  • MIXABILITY/TINTING STRENGTH_Good but not as good as Extra-Fine brands
  • INTENSITY_ Excellent 
  • DRYING TIME_ Normal
  • AVAILABILITY_ Good presence at retail
  • GRADE_Professional 

SYNOPSIS: Golden who has owned Williamsburg for a decade has made significant changes to the brand Carl manufactured in his little plant in Brooklyn.

The good news is that it is a top-quality professional-grade paint the bad news is it only faintly resembles the product Carl Produced on his original milling machine given to him by Milton Resnick in exchange for a life-long supply of paint.

Some are slightly gritty, while others are extremely Smooth.) In the beginning, they were all gritty. Golden has upgraded the equipment and the process to produce a far more consistent product. (Colors are made in small batches no larger than five gallons at a time to ensure the highest level of control.) We have seen this claim a few times, and the premise is flawed. Some batches do not (ensure the highest level of control.) Quite the opposite, it increases the variables of inconsistency. Pigment variation, human error, weather conditions, et. al. There is no reason why a single pigment colour or a popular colour should be made in small batches. Carl made his original colours in small batches because he had a small mixing machine and limited resources which is not the case with Golden. The bottom line is that Williamsburg Oils rank among the best of Professional-grade paint products and a few erroneous marketing claims are not needed to promote the quality of this product.

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