The rules say you can't focus on a lab activity but if the nature your focus matches the nature of your lab project you still get to use the modifier.
I was wondering what sort of Focuses people think can apply to lab activities like distilling Vis &Opening arts and other lab work that doesn't produce an effect like a spell or an item.
For instance while it doesn't seem to mention it in their write-up but the Praliicien's focus on exotic magic could apply to opening the hermetic arts for a hedge magician. I could also see a Magus who's focus related to the nature of the apprentice like children, males. or females claiming the bonus for opening a such an apprentice.
As far as distilling Vis I could see a minor vim centered focus in magic auras or vis applying.
I think a mage with a minor magical focus in "distilling" would be great fun at parties, as well as well funded with vim vis.
The Pralacian's focus certainly applies to totals for the purposes of opening the arts, where comparison to Supernatural Ability and Virtues are concerned.
A magus could have a minor or major focus in vis (a subsection of Vim) which would apply to processes which create (including by extraction or alchemy), detect, identify, transfer, destroy or, with a breakthrough, mutate vis. I'd say minor, because vis is such a small portion of Vim.
The Bjornaer phoenix (Mythic Blood) minor focus in ageing applies to longevity rituals.
I'd tested a Major Focus in Lifeforce, which is defined as organic Creo effects, and thus includes longevit rituals.
A Major Focus in Forests would include totals for the purposes of Awakening (Merinita Nature Mystery, shared with Clan Sirnas in Bjornaer)
A minor focus in ghosts is fantastic when paired with Spirit Familiar and Inscription of the Soul, which allows for a focus that applies to anything to do with a ghost familiar or the ghost talisman (as long as the Body is not enchanted). This is wonderfully effective when used with a Criamon (as Hermes chord totals add to Enigmatic Wisdom rolls...) It also would apply in rendering ghosts for vis!
A minor focus in comprehending magic is possible, covering intellego vim totals on enchantments.
Just a few ideas.