Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Roger Hill

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Roger Hill

  1. perhaps OT, but give us your impressions of the Bergonzi and Testore compared to the Strad. And, BTW, which ones were they? Thanks,
  2. edit: old timers disease is getting to me. Meant to say the Telemann
  3. Very nice sound, Luis. Now try to get one of your players and a chamber orchestra together for the Vivaldi G-major concerto. Among my all time favorites.
  4. nice work, Bob. How did you clean up the dials, carriage, etc? Did you have to grind the ways and re-scrape the headstock?
  5. I admit that I too am an unwashed Philistine, but my hacksaw works well and is quite versatile. I can install the blade to cut on either the push or the pull. I am quite ambidextrous in that I can screw up with either.
  6. C'mon, Mike. Tell the business name and we will accord proper punishment as appropriate............
  7. I have updated my file. If you ever need a copy of your Ash Varnish instructions, I'll send you one
  8. Hi John, IIRC, you mentioned in another thread that you do not use a full 25% mastic when you make this varnish. Mind telling us how much you do use?
  9. Hi Oded: I copied all of the pertinent parts of that thread to a file I keep on interesting topics. (Your varnish making recipe is in there also) here it is: Neil Ertz Varnish That looks a nice viola Jacob; I especially like (from what I can see in the photos) the way the edge works, thanks for posting it. A very basic summary of the way I varnished mine is; The initial ground colour is several weeks in a UV cabinet. Then the wood is sealed with a thick slurry of my varnish and pumis powder burnished into the pours of the wood. Then I’ve loaded on about three coats of my varnish heavily laden with home made madder pigments using an old fashioned brush to give a fully varnished even finish, letting each coat dry before adding the next. Once that was dry I just started to ware it off and add a little dirt and grime along with some light marks to give the appearance of a well cared for classical Italian violin. It’s easy to get carried away adding dirt and marks, but generally the less you add the better it looks. The varnish is a very simple oil varnish made up of boiled linseed oil, cooked mastic and cooked colophony. The varnish itself has a little intrinsic colour (golden orange brownish) from cooking the resins prior to amalgamating them with the oil, but the majority of the colour comes from the pigments which are far easier to make then most people think. The basis for this type of varnish and pigment making is all in the Geary Baese book “classical Italian violin varnish, its history, materials preparation and application”. I have altered the recipes he gives over the years to suit my tastes, experiences and scientific incompetence. Unfortunately this book has become pretty expensive, but I think it has been the most useful book for me that I’ve ever read about varnishing violins, if I could recommend just one book for this enormous subject the Baese book would be it. (manfio) Hi Nertz! You've said you pre cook the mastic and colophony prior to mix it with the varnish. How (and why) do you do that (because Baese does not mention that, if I'm not wrong)? Thank you! Yes that is one of the changes I have made. The idea was to get a little intrinsic colour into the varnish, and cooking the resins seems to be the best way. The mastic doesn’t get very dark, but you can get a nice orange gold brown in the colophony by cooking it for a while at not to high a temperature. At higher temperatures it tends to go a slightly cold brown colour. I did use cooked Strasburg turpentine rather then colophony for a while and gives a warmer colour then the colophony I think, but it is extremely expensive and because the pigments I make with madder are an extremely rich warm red I don’t mind if the varnish alone is a bit brown. (manfio) Hi Nertz! Thank you! René Morel said this about adding colour by cooking resins and gums: "Take a lump of sugar and put it on a heating dish. it will melt and turn yellow and then brown. Just before it gets completely burnt, and for only a few seconds, it will turn bright red. Then it will turn black. When one heats gum and resin, the same phenomenon occurs and the same color can be observed. What one has here, then, is a color which is said to be dichoric." (Les Violons - Venetian Instruments - Expostion on Hôtel de Ville de Paris - 1995). For the other members I can say that I've tried Nertz ground and it looked fantastic, I've used it in the violin I've posted in the thread "meeting Michael Tree". As you may know, Nertz worked with Roger Hargrave, a big name in violin making, and assisted him in the Del Gesù Exibition. (ertz)Hi Hongda I apply my thick paste/slurry of pumis and varnish mix to the instrument with a simple hog hair brush (like a glue brush) and burnish it off with bits of rough towling cloth, the resulting surface is totally sealed and burnished smooth. Once my varnish is made up I don’t add anymore linseed oil as this will alter my oil resin ratio. But the varnish is rather thick so I use a solvent to thin it down to a more manageable consistency. I did use essence of petrol for a while but switched to the cheaper turpentine substitute or white spirit a few years ago. I’m not keen on genuine turpentine because I have found it has a tendency to make application harder for some reason and one of the nice things about this varnish is that is very easy to manage on the brush. Neil. Hi HongDa My initial interpretation of the Baese recipe was to bring the resins to a high enough temperature to melt them and then bring the oil to a similar temperature before carefully pouring the hot oil into the melted resins to amalgamate them into a varnish. To try and get a bit more colour in the varnish I decided to cook the resins for a bit before adding the oil, basically the longer you cook them the darker they get. Some resins seem to colour more then others with cooking and of course different resins take on different colours with cooking. Also the temperature you cook them seems to affect the eventual colour……so you have endless possibilities and quite a few opportunities to go wrong! I’m using colophony and mastic in my varnish at the moment and I cook them separately prior to adding them to the oil. I don’t like cooking the resins at too high a temperature, I’m not certain but I have a feeling I get warmer colours by cooking longer but at lower temperatures…..but I might be wrong. I think as long as you are sensible and cook things outside on an electric hotplate away from small kids it should be reasonably safe. I seem to remember the Fulton recipe involves cooking genuine turpentine which is an awful lot more dangerous then cooking most resins as I think the fumes are particularly flammable ……..I’m to much of a scardy-pants to try that. neil Yes I started out from the recipe on page 49, but have evolved it over the years. I heat up my resins on one hot plate in a pan and my oil on another hotplate in a pan, and then slowly pour the oil into the resins. As it cools down it thickens and at that stage I slowly add solvent to get the consistency I am after. The varnish I’ve made will dry within 24hr in my UV cabinet, but I have noticed that fresh made varnish seems to dry a bit slower then stuff I have had in a jar for a few months. I really like the properties of this type of varnish; it dries nicely but seems to remain soft (by this I don’t mean sticky, but that it wears off pretty easily) It’s very easy to apply, works nicely on the brush and seems to be a nice medium for the type of pigments I make. In reality I’m rather inexperienced with varnish making, I’ve found something that seems to work fairly well for me and I continue tinkering around with details in a shockingly unscientific and random way and convince myself that I’m making progress, but when discussions like this start I’m fascinated and somewhat embarrassed by my ignorance!
  10. Thanks, Andres. Very interesting. Is the other recipe something others here have tried? We don't seem to be overwhelmed by old artists references saying they got their varnish from the luthier, pharmacy, cabinet shop and that it came with the recipe attached to the bottle.
  11. Hi Andres: Of course I have seen the Marciana recipe, but what I haven't seen is anything that ties the recipes to the luthiers of the era, as the etching sites seem to do. Does the Merrifield book do this?
  12. I've been pondering whether the art community, which was developing it's techniques at the same time as the violin was developing, and also used varnish, might have preserved for us some of the old Italian violin varnish recipes. What I have found is that etching and engraving developed at roughly the same time as the Amati family began making violins, and that one of the founding figures in that community, Jacque Callot, used the same varnish as the lute and furniture/cabinet makers for preparing the plates for engraving/etching. The engraving process involves putting a protective "ground" over the metal plate, scratching the figure through the ground with a graver, and then dipping the plate in acid (mordant) to etch the metal plate along the lines through the ground, while the ground protects the rest of the plate from the acid. The ground innovation by Callot was to use varnish to coat the plate. A book written in 1745 by Abraham Bosse indicates that Callot told the author, i.e. Bosse, that he bought his varnish from suppliers in Italy. It further gives a varnish recipe with the notation that it is from Callot. There is also a recipe for a simple mastic varnish to be used as an engraving ground. If you do a Google search on "Jacque Callot" you will find numerous references to "lute makers varnish" as his innovation. I haven't been able to find any references to this on Maestronet. Anybody know more about this? Any experience with these recipes? The first "hard Ground" recipe at the first link is a leaner varnish than I normally associate with violin varnish. The second, the mastic varnish, has no rosin in it, is similar to Michael's mastic varnish, but without turpentine and it is lightly cooked. Also, note that the the second link is to a Google translation of an article in German. Please tell me what you know about this. Thanks http://www.polymetaal.nl/beguin/mape/etching_ground.htm http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=e...-24_9574090.pdf
  13. Michael Darnton was kind enough to point out to me that I had things all %$#@%& up. The plain steel was spec'ed on a Rockwell B scale while the other steels on that page were spec'ed on a Rockwell C scale, a major difference. As a consequence, the plain steel should be perfectly fine for machining as it is actually softer than the blue spring steel. Most anything you might want to know about hardness specs is here: http://www.calce.umd.edu/general/Facilities/Hardness_ad_.htm Having tried it, I stand by my advice that hard steels are a real and unnecessary PITA for making scrapers. Sorry 'bout the confusion I caused.
  14. That's what I tried an those woodcraft scrapers, Don and never came up with anything close to satisfactory. The hardness of the gouge steel is about 60. The Blue Spring about 50 and the steel shim stock 90-100. I know a grinder will cut it, but it just doesn't seem like my kind of havin' fun. Why don't you buy some and make some scrapers for all of us to try? another tool project that you really might enjoy
  15. Yes. Let me make this easier. Lots of fancy knives are made from files. Pick a file and think about what is required to turn that into a scraper. It is MUCH easier to turn some soft metal into a scraper. If Tony used broken sabre blades, great, he was turning out a violin every three weeks or so, but if you want something that YOU can, with relative ease, turn into a scraper go for something softer, which you can easily shape with a file, and which can take a razor sharp edge with just a few minutes with sandpaper and a buffing wheel. If you have to go back to the buffing wheel every hour and re-turn the edge, so what? it takes five minutes and is SHARP!!! Will it last for 10 violins between sharpening? NO. But you will be working with something that is minimal hassle and really does the job. On the other hand, think about trying to get that perfectly uniform, perfectly sharp edge on something as hard as a file. You could spend a grand or two on a jig for turning files into knife blades. That is why I say go for the soft stuff and enjoy life........
  16. The problem is the same as any other precision metal cutting problem, holding it rigidly enough to get a uniform cut is simply much more difficult with harder metal. I bought a set of the scrapers that Woodcraft sells and I cannot sharpen them, despite having a big investment in metal working equipment. Coming up with an apparatus to sharpen them IMO would require a complicated setup in a rotary table and grinder. Straight edges are one thing, two dimensional curves are something else. I can sharpen the softer metals to a uniform, keen edge with just a glass plate, sandpaper and buffing wheel. With something really hard, I can't find a way to get a deep enough cut (all the way across the curving edge) to get an edge that will polish out to adequate sharpness. I have tried repeatedly. If you know how to do this simply , please tell me the secret.
  17. not sure why you would want to, but the bluing comes off with polishing. I find the best way to sharpen this material is grind and file to shape, file bevel, 220 grit wet-or-dry to smooth bevel and backside then carefully polish first backside, with felt wheel and tripoli polish, holding so that wheel motion is parallel to back side of scraper, then polish front side, wheel motion at 45 degrees to surface. It will get really sharp doing this, have the scars on my fingers to prove it. then turn edge using butt end of a 3/8" to 1/2" drill bit. SJBC: the hardness of the non-blued stock is so great that I don't think that you would ever get a truly sharp edge on it. I find softer material to be something I can get sharper every time. When it dulls, back to the felt wheel to resharpen and re-turn hook.
  18. send me a pm with your mailing address and I'll send you some.
  19. No, John, you're not being unfair. We are all adults here, we come here for what we hope to gain, knowledge or otherwise and we take freely from what is offered. What you disclose is entirely at your discretion. I am free to do whatever I want with it. Just by knowing what you disclose, I have more knowledge than I had before. What I do with it is up to me. Would we all like a spoon fed solution to all the secrets of the Cremonese? well, not really. Then the factory makers would produce "Cremonese like" instruments by the gross. I kinda' like pursuing knowledge that may (or may not) contribute to an ideal. If it is all known and understood I think I will pursue some other hobby. Lets face it: we are not going to put Tony, Joe or Nick out of business whatever we do here. The classical music audiences demand that our virtuosos play an ancient Italian violin. We here are just having fun, or at a higher level, perhaps satisfying the needs of some up-and-comers among players. We are not going to see the products of modern makers selling for millions. So lets just continue our puzzle solving and enjoy the trip........the destination wouldn't be recognized even if we arrived there. The BBC program with Stern, Zukerman and Beare demonstrates that. Maybe I can say this better another way: with all appropriate modesty, I am a world class fly fisherman, have written a best selling book on the subject, give talks at Trout Unlimited meetings, etc. I am often asked "if you could fish only one fly what would it be?" My reply is always the same "well, it would be a Mepps spinner, one you could just throw out and reel in. No thought required. You see, for me, the real enjoyment of fly fishing is puzzling over what are the trout doing? What insect are they taking? What stage of the insect are they eating, adult? nymph? I couldn't possibly imitate these for different insects with only one fly. So if you limited me to one fly you would take away the real joy of fly fishing, the intellectual puzzle of what the trout want which must be solved in real time by observing what the trout are doing". I think the same for violin making. For me it is the pursuit of the sound. For others it may be the pursuit of the aesthetics, the corners, purfling, scrolls, yes the varnish, all of which don't excite me that much. But if you provide the entire Cremonese recipe, I will spend more time at my fly fishing forums.
  20. Very useful, Dean. Please do complete part 2. part 1 would have saved me a great deal of frustration on my first violin.
  21. Absolutely. Couldn't get in for three hours this morning. Tried IE8, Firefox,Opera browsers. Very slow this evening...........
  22. All I can go by is the recording pictured in the link. Wonderful silky highs. The opening bars of the Bruch do not exhibit that powerful growl that you hear on a del Gesu, but any great soloist, an 18 year old Joshua bell in particular, should sound wonderful with this violin. The Mendelsohn is also on that CD and it is as good as any other recording of it I have heard (i have four recordings of it).
  23. Yes. see here http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/pr...TF8&index=0
  24. Thanks, Craig. Having cut exactly one bridge, which took about three hours and turned out great (well, I think it did), you procedure is the one I shall follow for my second one three, maybe six months hence. Appreciate the good experience you have disclosed. And, keep it coming!
  • Create New...