Urban Luthier

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Everything posted by Urban Luthier

  1. Hi NT, Yes I believe you are right about Amber varnish recipe - hardly a 'secret'. I think Donald Fell's even published a translation DeMayerne! Personally, I would not try to cook amber varnish myself -- it requires an extremely high temperature to crack the resin. Best left to pro varnish makers and those who really know what they are doing!
  2. Hello morgana. As far as I'm aware, linseed oil is non toxic. Raw pine resin and colophony are indeed toxic when cooked and flammable when cooked. Again the dangers are clearly documented in Roger's bass book. 1:1 oil to cooked resin is a standard ratio used by many professional and amateur varnish makers. it will dry properly with UV or direct sunlight. Like anything, the key is preparation of the ingredients and the cook. IHargrave's bass-book really does have a lot of useful information about the varnish making process. The one thing that is REALLY toxic is cobalt dryer. Donald Fells (The man who makes Alchemist varnish - which is itself a variation on the Gary Bease amber recipe) told me directly that you need to wear gloves if you use a dryer and the cobalt can be absorbed through your skin and damage your liver
  3. Hi MikeC. See Roger's bass book Page 104-106 and Helen M's Book. This suff is mostly likely an organic primer made from horse manure and urine. A detailed historical recipe can be found in Roubo. Roger cites it in the book. Other's here have made a variation on the recipe.
  4. I can only share my experience I've used it two ways - both without dryer. 1) mixed in with pumice and rubbed into the wood as aground coat. 2) in a thin coat with pad printing method described by Koening. In Both cases we are talking very think coats. Both in my case dried to touch in a UV cabinet in 24 hours.
  5. Also just looping back to your original question. The bottles appear to be Magister Primer I and II, so not varnish at all!
  6. As I understand it, varnish made with out turpentine solvent (like the Hargrave recipe, magister, Alchemist, Holiter) is considered solvent free. i.e. cooked linseed oil and prepared pine resin in a ~1:1 ratio. Viscous for sure but not solid!
  7. Personally I would not recommend anyone cook resin this high unless you have accurate way of measuring and maintaining the temperature in a controlled and reliable way. The colour in Roger's recipe comes from reduction of the resin during the cook (almost 80%). If you go to high too quickly, one can come out with a greenish cast to the varnish (dependant on the resin of course).
  8. Yep you are right E. I blew up the picture to read it -- looks like Primer I and II. Roger talks about the shelf life in the bass book page 104. At this point it probably useless for production.
  9. Nice violin! I'd recommend against the Magister as well for the reasons Not Telling notes above. Someone will likely pay dearly for it just to analyze it. But to answer your question about drying -- the magister stuff should dry overnight in a UV cabinet like any other solvent free varnish. If I remember correctly, the magister varnish isn't all that dark and Koen's system relied on pigments for colouration. If you are interested, the book of Koen's work edited by Helen M is a great investment -- it contains all his writings will commentary from those who knew him well. I think it is available from the Strad shop. if you are looking for something with a bit of colour, Eugene Holtier's varnish comes has a nice rich dark orange hue. Like the Magister varnish, Holiter's stuff is also solvent free
  10. In the bass book Roger mentioned he purchased his resin from Kremer in Germany (if memory serves this is the standard Burgundy resin / colophony)
  11. funny, but not. An excellent reminder of the dangers of cooking varnish!
  12. The other thing to note is the Ashmolean catalogue has wonderful pictures of the alard
  13. Try the Ashmolean https://shop.ashmolean.org/15-violin-alard-n-amati.html not the same drawing as the strad but a good one
  14. Thanks again for your help Mark! I found a drawing of a Barak Norman in the RCM drawn by Stephen Barber but not the Meares. Also a list of technical drawings here. No sign of the Meares on this list, easiest path i think will be contact RCM directly to find out more
  15. Thanks for this Mark, I've seen Talbot's mentioned in most of the literature I've been reading so this will help. As for which instrument to make? I'm at least two projects away from this so I'm doing initial research now. I have two plans (the Lewis and the 1619 Jaye featured in the strad) My preference is for a mid-sized English bass with a modest string length 680-690mm. The Jaye above is not suitable based on this criteria - the 760mm string length isn't a good fit for me. Anglicizing the Lewis is a possibility, but not without more research. Third option is to look for another plan all together - but unlike the violin family gamba plans are not that accessible to amateurs!
  16. Thanks Ben and Mark -- this is very helpful. The Lewis lower bout in my plan is about 400 mm wide, using your calculation Ben this wold give a rather long neck! The neck length is of the Paris Lewis is 325mm - about the same as the 1660 Meares pictured in Monical's 'Shapes of the baroque'
  17. Looks like you were in a good mood when you did this! is it the Alard?
  18. I have a question about the standard neck to body stop ratio for bass viola da gambas. Most instruments I've seen have a ratio of about .92 or 1:1.08. Does this sound about right to you? I have a plan of a really nice Edward Lewis Bass viol that was later converted to a 7 string. The current string length is a generous 720mm. The bridge sits rather low (presumably shifted down to give more weight to the low A string). As a result the neck to body ratio is different than above. If one were to shift up the bridge up by about 30 mm, the neck to body stop ratio would fall inline with the above. This would also give a more manageable string length of 690mm. Do the ratios about sound right to you? any issue with shortening up the string length in this case?
  19. I really like the first two! personally I generally prefer contraltos. Lovely recording of the same from Magdalena Kozena.
  20. if it doesn't dry with 8-9 hours of strong UV or daylight there is something wrong with the varnish
  21. thanks Guy -- what a great idea! I use the thin stuff for making templates. Laminating 3 layers of the thicker stuff must make a really stable, dense and durable form!
  22. Really nice Guy! -- is that 1/2 MDF you are using for the form?
  23. Love your cabinet. Nice work. Welcome to MN!
  24. from a usability standpoint -- which type of peg do users prefer?
  25. x2. love the organization. Looks like a comfortable place to work. Great light too!