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David Beard

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Posts posted by David Beard

  1. Yeah. I didn't say unaided drying is a good idea, or remotely reasonable in time length.

    But if we're talking science and evidence and being accurate with statements, then UV/sun are aides to drying, not essentials to drying.


    Me, I like using the sun to dry finishes.  It pleases me.

  2. 12 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

    I am insisting that anyone that has ever used turpine, rosin/oil varnishes knows that they will not dry without UV light,and in Stradivari's time that meant direct sunlight, not just heat.

    One questions whether you have any experience varnishing violins at all?

    Light and UV are catalysts for drying, they help.  But, drying oils and varnishes should dry eventually anyway.

    Likewise, metalic ions, particle content, and even startch can all aide drying. But none are strictly necessary, just helpful.


  3. 55 minutes ago, Rue said:

    So then..."black" violins are a result of:

    A ) Fashion/trend/religion

    B ) Varnish cooked in an iron pot (therefore possibly accidental - since they might not have known the varnish would darken THAT much over time)

    C ) Soot deliberately added to the varnish to "blacken" it...and...

    D) Any/all of the above!

    Not accidental.  It's deliberate.  Two main groups.  The Vienna black instruments.  And as an alternate finish in some cottage industry stuff.

  4. There are many things to talk about in sound holes.  The basic geometry is stable from the Brothers Amati updating their father's sound hole geometry until final late Del Gesu makes changes in the arcs extending out from the eyes.

    But there's lots of subtle tinkering in applying the geometry through the generations of Cremona makers. 

    I say sound holes because across the broader history of N Italian bowed strings, the early style f hole style of A Amati and Zanetto is exactly the C hole shape geometry with the lower half of the C flipped around symmetrically.

  5. 1 hour ago, Peter K-G said:

    These US? Enlish terms still bothers me:

    Resin,rosin,balsam, gum, turp...bla, bla ....

    What's balsam? turp? (extract of gum, rosin,resin, turp... ???)

    It should not be this difficult?

    In Swedish it's called kåda, when it is slowely running from the pine or spruce trees. Kåda becomes hartz when it's solid and the turps have evaporated.

    So, what's balsam other than gum or "kåda"

    Baalsaam >> Honey thick still flowing sap very close to as it comes from a tree.

    Resin >> Something solid that comes that way usually fairly directly from a tree.  Examples being mastic tears, or Sandarac.

    Rosin >> A balsaam like pine, spruce, or larch sap, that has been cooked to drive away the volatile solvent components living a solid resin like material.


    Turpentine is complicated.  It started of meaning specifically the sap/balsaam from the Terebinth trees on Chios.  Then it became a general term for thick balsaams.  At that time, Larch Balsaam from the PO region became an acceptable substitute for Terebinth balsaam, becoming known as Venice Turpentine.   Then as things continued, the recollect spirits from converting saps into rosins became an increasingly important and available solvent.  And, the source saps diversified to mean any 'marine stores' conifer. Whatever the sap, the distilled solvent is still properly known as Spirits of Turpentine.  But in modern usage, the word turpentine is assumed to mean the spirits.

  6. And again, these details mean that we only have a limited suggestion that Cremona makers used sun light cure varnish.

    So, again, we have only a likelyhood instead of a certainty.  Though we do have a certain of science that sunlight indeed does help dry oil paintings and cure oil varnishes.


    And again, we still have zero evidence against using sunlight now, or against using sunlight historically.


    Translation for Sospiri:

    The evidence supporting the idea that Strad used Sunlight to cure varnishes is limited and indirect.

    The evidence denying he used Sunlight is nonexistent.

  7. 29 minutes ago, sospiri said:

    Now write that the other way around and see how it looks?

    Three points of evidence suggesting that he likely did put instruments in the Sun, and that it is a good practice with oil varnishes.

    You have alternately ignored and disparaged those points.  Ignoring them earns disrepect but nothing else.  Disparaging the evidence yields agreement that the case for using Sun isn't iron clad.

    But you have present no evidence at all against using Sun light.


    For Sunlight:  likely used, but not certain

    Against Sunlight: No evidence.

  8. 39 minutes ago, sospiri said:

    Yes. I think it's a waste of time. Did you read the comments I made yesterday? Did you understand them?

    You are not making a good case.

    I see zero evidence presented to say either Strad didn't put violins in the sun, nor that modern maker's should avoid it.



  9. 5 minutes ago, sospiri said:

    Do you a particular interest in the subject?

    Again, ignoring or pushing evidence contrary to your position is not in itself evidence for a position.


    Do you have any evidence at all against putting instruments in the sun?

  10. 1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

    I am curious about the context of this statement.

    Was Stradivari talking about sunlight or solar heat?

    Was he for-certain writing about "bought to perfection" in the varnishing stage of making? Or at an earlier stage?

    Would (is) it difficult for a maker to achieve uniform curing of varnish using just sunlight? It seems to this non-maker that it would be difficult to get sunlight uniformly into all the nooks and crannies of a violin. On the other hand, sitting a violin in the warm sun could cause the seams to open. 

    No. The context is not fully clear.  Nor is it about new making.

    Have you never set instruments out in the sun?  I do this as much as opportunity allows in my new making.  I use to worry.  I no longer do.  I wouldn't put strung onstruments, or someone else's instrument in the sun.  By I've had any bad consequence in putting my instruments in the sun. (Bright sunny Santa Barbara.)

  11. 51 minutes ago, sospiri said:

    Read my earlier comments. 

    What the....?

    You acknowledge no evidence to support yes or no on the question of sunlight.

    Yet you seem to be sure the answer is no?  What is yout evidence?


    People are telling you: 1) there is a letter to a repair customer saying sunlight is needed to bring the finish to peefection.  2) science and experience show that UV/sunshine help cure oil varnish.  3) there was a covered rooftop patio on Strad's building which tradition claims was used for sunning and drying instruments.

    But you acknowledge none of these points.

    Here we are in a thread about evidence.  It would reasonable to assery that the evidence isn't fully conslusive.  We can't be certain.

    But to jump to opposite is unreasonable.

    You don't know he didn't sun instruments in the back yard or on the roof patio.

  12. 5 hours ago, ctanzio said:

    Loss of transparency is due to the production of materials that reflect light before it reaches the wood surface. Good quality, dewaxed shellac and alcohol soluble resins do not have such chemical reactions due to aging.

    One can find spectacular French polished furniture in museums that maintain their clarity of finish a great many years after they were initially polished.

    One can also find pieces with oil varnishes that had unstable pigments added that aged into a dark, opaque paint over the years.

    We humans have a proclivity for inductive reasoning: reaching broad generalizations based on a few observations. I have fallen victim to this more times than I care to admit. 

    I'm not saying spirit varnishes always fail, and I'm not saying they are chemically unstable at all.

    I am saying they tend to fail in the direction of drying out.  And, because of this they can, sometimes, get milky or less clear over time.

    Every medium presents challenges.  And we always need to work balancing completing factors.



  13. Application techniques are everything.

    There certainly are non classical examples, including some Vuillaumes, where it appears that oil has somehow diffused color in an odd way.  But this is only something that can happen under the wrong circumstances.  It is not something that generally happens with every use of oil.

    The main thing to realize is oils and many balsaams will have an aspect of wetting that continues active to some degree for a very long time -- as in years to centuries.

    Wetting, in a small limitied degree, will aide transparency of particles it reaches, and wood structure it reaches.  It can also pull some stains and very fine pigments with it into wood structure by capillary action.  These things are entirely good in small doses, and bad if too free and extensive.   

    In contrast, spirit borne material will loose mobility as the solvent more and more completely leaves. If a spirit borne mix doesn't have enough oily/balsaam component, this drying can reduce transparency over time.

    Good balance is always needed.  


  14. 2 hours ago, sospiri said:

    Go on then give me the quote?

    Without misinterpretation.

    There's a letter.

    And, sunlight is nature's UV light box.  UV stimulates polymerization in linseed oil ams drying oil varnishes.

  15. Sorry to hear that.  Kremer has a very special inventory. Hard to find alternatives for some items.

    I mostly get things from a combo of Kremers, Natural Pigments, and...

    Wood Finishing Enterprises,

    and Zecchi in Florence.

  16. 11 minutes ago, Michael_Molnar said:

    That white residue appears on the lower bout rib, too. See Brandmair’s photos of that.


    Is it alum?  The messiah has a very bright undertone.  Alum has in many arts been used as a mordant to brighten the subsequent colors?

    A saw a Banks cello opened up that looked like alum had been soaked all the way through maple.

  17. 10 minutes ago, Peter K-G said:

    I have thought about doing the purfling after close, but I can't see how it would speed up anything, unless I would make the channel half done and insert the purfling not so deep.


  18. 1 minute ago, Peter K-G said:

    What does it suggest?

    Rounding the edges after, that I always do. I don't follow Roger's (nor Davide's) method on that.

    I find it the fastest way is to do egework after soundbox close, prefarably with the neck on for final adjustments before varnishing.

    This also gives the possibility correct/conseal overhang deviations

    But, if you touch the outline for any reason, a purf done before won't reflect the change.  I purf done later won't reflect that.

    Doesn't seem like most classical work puts much stock in even overhangs.  (Maybe some Amati work?)


    The Del Gesu example were the purfling could have gone in even after the FB.   But nothing is absolutely conclusive about it.



  19. 31 minutes ago, Peter K-G said:

    No problem, I'm not defending anything nor have I an agenda. Questions in OP are just that. Simple questions that I have thought about and can't understand how there isn't more evidence to these common "established facts"

    I did read what you wrote earlier, but couldn't find anything that couldn't be done with the plates off the ribs. In fact my ribs are far from square and equal. Corners vary from side to side and top/back is way of sometimes.

    And yes, I'm a fan of Roger Hargrave

    Well, I agree it seems possible either way.  But when you go and make a fiddle you have to choose which way to go.  For now, I strongly favor closing the box first.

  20. 1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

    Doesn't the Cannone Guarneri have varnish runs on the inside near the ff holes which appear to be soaked in pretty deep? Those might take some pretty aggressive wood removal to get rid of.

    In other words, I think much of the conjecture about regraduation is based on some pretty careful observations, with a high number of instruments.

    Sure. But that could still just be clean up rather than rethicknessing. Though obviously there would at least be minor impact.

    My skepticism about how much thicknesses were altered comes primarily from the large Smithsonian study.  Though, those are very select instruments and don't necessarily reflect the fate of less famous Cremona making.

    But, in those instruments Strad and Del Gesu each show distinct patterns of thicknessing, and the each show their own somewhat different patterns.

    But, I remember there were at least 2 Strad examples in the set that didn't show his pattern.

  21. 22 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

    One clue might be how well the presence or absence of layout marks corresponds with instruments which are thicker or thinner than usual.

    That would be an interesting project. :)

  22. 35 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

    My understanding is that some of the evidence is the presence or absence of the original layout marking on the inside.... whether they remain or have been scraped away.

    However, that could potentially happen from agressive cleaning and light scraping rather than significant reshaping of graduations.


  23. 4 minutes ago, Peter K-G said:


    I think in general, it's amazing on how insignificant small pieces of evidence, established "facts", quite often are based on.

    The worst part is that a lot of other things later builds up on such "facts". Then people are starting to guard it, because years/decades of work might fall apart if the base has loose grounds.

    I actually have no idea about regraduation, what bothers me is that there is in my opinion not enough evidence, only hearsaying. Likewise with the pins under purfling = purfling was done after soundbox closed.

    To me this is not nearly enough to even come close to evidence.




    Some regraduation was done.  The question is how much and how extensively.

    I agree with position of routinely and agressively challenging received wisdom, but....    That doesn't mean the received wisdom is wrong.  And it really doesn't mean the opposites are automatically true.

    I equally believe in being skeptical of my own biases and anything I think I know, or that is convenient or self serving for me.

    You should be suspicious of your own desire to deny the purfling was done with instrument closed. 

    The only evidence you have given for your position is that you don't created the existence of evidence for purfling after close.  But that is still no evidence for your position.

    And, I've responding on this thread giving some of the reasons I believe it was after closing.  But you don't acknowledge that?  And, you read more about why that conclusion is drawn reading Hargrave and others.

    While I agree with the principle of challenging premises, it does rather seem you are entrenching a defense of what you already do rather than probing a question?


    Pleae pardon if I'm off base on this.


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