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About joerobson

  • Birthday 06/18/1950

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    Trumansburg, NY

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  1. Don, So when turpentine leaves a residual on the glass we know the alpha turpenes have flashed off and the beta turpenes are left. Any thoughts on what the residue is from D-limonene?
  2. The more oil, given the same resin, the more durable the varnish. Flooring varnishes run between 3:1 and 5:1 oil to resin. Marine varnish is more oil yet.
  3. The traditional wisdom in varnish texts makes a differentiation in oil to resin ratios. 1:1 and leaner are considered polishing varnishes. Above 1:1 are considered brushing varnishes. That us that they have their best surface off the brush. on we go, Joe
  4. This is Dammar + linseed oil + mineral spirits...correct?
  5. Fortunately tar is not a component of the turpentine if properly made. There are some good Scandinavian boat finishes that may suffer...though I admit to being out of touch with that market. on we go, Joe
  6. When I visited Renato Scrollavezza he showed me a gorgeous viola he made for Elisa when she was born. The varnish was oil of rosemary and dragon's blood. He said it took 3 years to dry. on we go, Joe
  7. I am a turpentine fan. However most commercial turpentine is trash. Try the turpentine from Diamond G Forest Products. on we go, Joe
  8. No. I have no privileged information. I am a tool maker. My goal has been to make useful materials that work well for makers. The personal, grail search, for me has been to create tools which reproduce the physical and optical effects that I see in these amazing instruments. In that, I am occasionally happy with my work. Well used the Balsam Ground is closer to.that goal than anything else I have tried. But this is an ongoing search. We are only as good as the next one. on we go, Joe
  9. David, As you know I do not have the credentials you require. However Mr. Lee has critiqued my work and we have exchanged varnish ideas for about 20 years. I have learned more from him in fewer words than anyone else in this trade. I do not know Phillip personally but I am aware of his reputation and that he is held in high esteem among our colleagues. If some sort of innuendo was taken, it was unintentional my part. on we go, Joe
  10. Mr. Lee is my mentor. I have learned so much from him. I believe that oil varnish was the one he learned from his teacher. If I recall it was a cold solved copal varnish. He soon turned to spirit varnishes for the students. He has never stopped his varnish inquiry and passion. A great inspiration. The Becker varnish remains a hot topic among some of us. on we go, Joe
  11. There have always been a few proponents and users of oil varnishes. Are you one of those makers? As I have been told this is how it became mainstream once again. My information comes from those folks involved. Perhaps my focus is narrow as a result. Irregardless of the time line, I have observed and participated as I describe. If I am miss informed please tell me. I mean.no offense. on we go, Joe
  12. Yes. Stradivari and Guadagnini
  13. We keep our eyes and options open...how else do we learn?
  14. So where do I begin.... I'd like to think of this as process....both for myself and for violin varnishers in general. Using oil varnish on violins was revived in the late 70's and early 80's. In the States Brain Skarstad was the first to use an oil varnish on a student instrument at VMSA. He was quickly followed the Sam Z. and Ben Ruth. In Britain we had the amazing crew in Newark..Koen Padding, Roger Hargrave, Joe Thrift, Julie Reeb[Yeboah] and others. Greg Alf,Joe Curtin and Gary Baese were exploring the process in Italy. Oil varnishing presented issues ....particularly the over absorption of color in the grain changes in the spruce. As David B. so well noted, the use of gesso or similar materials came down to us from the painters tradition. The process of adding particulates in a varnish based paste was encouraged by the Barlow/Woodhouse micro-graph of a section of Cremonese varnish which contained a variety of "bits" of metallic salts and elemental materials which seemed to make up the material first applied to the instrument. The historical precident from the art world combined with the Barlow Woodhouse finding encouraged Koen Padding and others to develop this grain filling process which solved the problem of absorption of color. This quickly left other methods, like Liquin, in the past. The process gained wide acceptance and has remained an effective method of preparing the surface. Early in my work I was exposed to many makers who were very successful in the use of this method. I was also privileged to examine some of the great Stradivari instruments, in particular the Paganinni viola, which etched in my brain the "Cremonese" ground. As a woodworker I had lots of experience with grain filled finishes and the "mineral ground" did not agree with my observations of the Stradivari ground. At that point I began to work as a commercial varnisher for a number of companies and individuals. This presented a great opportunity to compare methods. I used every combination of mineral grounds that I had been taught by makers. The most successful of these in my not so humble opinion was ground raw amber in a varnish paste. I used vernis bianca, casein, casein emulsions, shellac, Venice turpentine and anything else I could think of of or was suggested. All were acceptable but none matched the properties of the Amati/Stradivari ground. This led me to the development of the Balsam Ground. on we go Joe
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