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Everything posted by joerobson

  1. Back in my cabinet shop days, I had success using boiling water and fabric softener. The wood needed an overnight soak after the initial wetting. Then I clamped over the form. Joe
  2. You are privileged to have one to study. It is increasingly difficult to see great instruments, but take every opportunity that comes your way to do so. on we go, Joe
  3. That is not a presumption I would make. I do however trust the results of my making, a studied eye for finishes and the experience of varnishing hundreds of instruments....not counting the ones I had to strip and start again. I, like you, have been given the privilege to study some great instruments. on we go, Joe
  4. There are some extraordinary photos available particularly in the Stradivari Varnish Book. However one cannot understand the appearance we are discussing from a still life image. on we go, Joe
  5. I believe what Jackson is referring to is our recent conversation about this thread. I had hoped that my posting the pictures of aging linseed oil would provoke a different discussion. There are countless ways to ground and varnish an instrument. Grounds like linseed oil, casein, sugar, pop, mineral ground, shellac, varnish, pine resin can all produce beautiful and satisfying effects. Materials may be made with historic intent or not [I make both]. Scientific analysis is a great when it agrees with you, less when it doesn't. In my not so humble opinion, it comes down to 2 things: our ability to see without prejudice and our ability to choose and apply the materials and methods which create the effects we seek. Again, there are many ways to finish the instrument. However the path to the classic Cremonese Varnish and particularly the Stradivari Varnish is narrow and rocky. To follow it if that is one's choice must be predicated by a visual understanding of the master works. Here's hoping that the new year brings lots of varnish fun to you all. on we go, Joe .
  6. The oldest complete varnishmaking text we have dates back to the 1200's. Even then it was a record of current practice. You can see the document and translation on my on we go, Joe
  7. Agreed. Good wood is fortunately still available from many sources. Back in the dim dark history when I cut and sold maple I had a batch of end coating that I bought cheap because no one else liked the color. I saw some of my wood at the next VSA being sold as European....perhaps it jumped the big pond twice!
  8. True. As David highlighted linseed oil gains weight and the weight reduces as polymerization proceeds. Given the tiny amount of oil it is virtually impossible to measure in the making process. The capillary action is faster than the polymerization process in the oxygen starved environment.
  9. Pardon...I'll put more muscle into it!
  10. It is also important to differentiate between the two author's assessments. Also it is hard to remember to read the text when the pictures are so good. on we go, Joe
  11. My experiments yield similar results from a variety of oils. Oil applied as part of the polishing process rarely enters the wood.
  12. David, I disagree. The slow capillary action of the oil in the wood softens the details in a way that over polish cannot correct. Joe
  13. Yes. This was applied to fresh white maple.
  14. As it is said "there are many roads to roam". Linseed oil can be an effective Ground....along with a variety of other materials. However my observation is that over time it does not provide the optical properties of the classic Cremonese Ground. The ancient ground retains a crispness of detail and a degree of deep complex reflection that defines it's beauty and distinctive appearance. Linseed oil has a similar effect when freshly applied. However , due to capillary action and the effects of light it does not retain this appearance. The linseed oil I made for these samples was washed, bubbled, and heated. It was not any darker than raw oil but was the viscosity of honey at room temperature. One application allowed to sit 5 minutes and then wiped completely dry. on we go, Joe
  15. David, Good info. Many drying box set ups have an abundance of UVB and minimal UVA. Standard black lights (UVA) cure the varnish through the film, while UVB works better for tanning it promotes top drying which leads to adhesion issues. on we go, Joe
  16. Instrument cradle for varnishing. Bicycle inner tube cut for fingerboard clamping. Pieces of parchment paper cut to go on varnish jars under the cap...non stick lids! on we go, Joe
  17. #1 solution (pardon the varnish maker's joke) is Amber Varnish. #2 solution is Shellac on we go, Joe
  18. My inquires say that the families who were collecting the Strasbourg Turpentine are no longer interested in doing it. Joe
  19. Shellac will seal this in place. on we go, Joe
  20. Tony, I see 3 issues here. The hard polished [my guess a protein] ground of some sort does not provide enough tooth for the varnish to adhere properly. The too soft varnish is dry to the touch but not through the film. The heat of your hand softens the varnish. It is possible, if this is an oil varnish, that some extended time in a UV box might help a lot. I would not suggest over coating with anything until the film is dry. on we go, Joe
  21. joerobson

    Japan Drier

    The issues associated with top down driers are related a lot to the varnish and the application. High oil content varnishes are vulnerable. Varnishes which have been diluted with petroleum based sovents or brushing aids like spike oil or raw linseed oil are vulnerable also. A varnish film which is dry to the touch may not be dry through the thickness of the varnish layer. It is then tempting to apply another coat...and then another...etc. When set up time comes the evidence of this will be the bridge scooting or sinking into the varnish. Safer to use a varnish which dries on its own. on we go, Joe
  22. joerobson

    Japan Drier

    Japan ...cobalt a top down drier. Fairly useful in thin coats. Care should be taken on thicker coats. on we go, Joe
  23. Contemporary instruments seem to be [mostly] 0 or 300 years old in the varnish impression. But there are many beautiful years of varnish in between. It important to watch how players handle their instruments. Edges...we could do a workshop or at least a clinic on just edge work. If an instrument has been played the first thing affected is the edges. Joe