ScotPiper

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  1. Hiya, Dominik. I colored the varnish using pigments (usually) or dyes (less frequently). I make my own pigments using madder and walnut, and other stuff I used Siam seedlac and WW-grade colophony, which is quite colorless. I experimented with cooked colophony, and if it wasn’t over-cooked it was soluble in ethanol. Cooking didn’t add much color to the final varnish, and it still required pigment.
  2. Hiya, Julian. I noticed the date of your post as January 15. But only after I’d written my reply did I recognize that 2019 is gone.... oh, well. Here’s a belated reply; maybe it’s useful anyway? I have a fair bit of experience using alcohol-spirit varnishes with a high ratio of colophony/rosin. When applying the second coat, the first coat feels “tacky” and grabs at the brush partway through a long stroke. I think it’s a combination of two things: the first coat is easily soluble in the second coat, and the colophony is drying too quickly on the brush. What I’ve done to mitigate the effect: reduce the relative quantity of colophony/rosin by adding seedlac; add lavender oil; keep the brush heavily loaded with varnish; dilute the alcohol with water. I’ve also found that high-ratio colophony/rosin varnishes are not terribly durable to abrasion and can be chippy, but also have a nice sparkle a shine. I’ve used 1:1 seedlac:colophony varnish a bit; for a while it was my go-to alcohol varnish. With practice and technique it goes on pretty alright. An interesting demonstration is to soak a big piece of colophony in alcohol for a few minutes then pick it out and see how tacky/sticky it feels, and how long it continues to feel that way.
  3. Thanks again for all your ideas. The history on the Del Gesu instruments is especially fascinating. I have C# wolfs on a couple instruments, and I wonder if the rib height might be part of the reason. Rib thickness is 1mm, plate thicknesses are pretty normal, and possibly even a wee thick. The ribs are 31.0mm (neck) to 31.5mm (bottom); perhaps they’re borderline too-tall. I always cut the blocks too tall initially because I’m afraid something will “go wrong” later and I’ll need that extra height to flatten the garland. But nothing has ever “gone wrong” and so I never need that extra height. Time to change that habit.
  4. I’ll second the notion that sandarac seems to add depth, sparkle, clarity, luminosity ... things like that. I dissolve it in alcohol, mixed with various other resins. Peter, my experience mirrors what you describe.
  5. This is very interesting. Thank you all for your replies, and please keep them coming. I’m (still) in the steep part of the learning curve and enjoying the climb.
  6. Hi, all. What might be the tonal effects on a new-made violin of ribs that taller? Let’s say the ribs are closer to 31mm, or perhaps 31.5mm. Also, might it make a violin more susceptible to C-C# wolfs? Thanks in advance for sharing your experience, opinions, and musings. Bob
  7. Hiya, all. I wonder if someone has compiled a reference to identify the relative rate of solubility, in ethanol, of the various resins we use. Seedlac, in my experience, has a low rate of solubility - it takes a while to dissolve (which means, also, that subsequent varnish layers don’t dissolve previously applied layers so readily). Colophony is more rapidly soluble. And etc. I *think* the rate of solubility is loosely correlated to the hardness / durability of the dried film, as well. I fear I may be a little careless in my terminology, using words like hardness and durability, but I hope the gist of my inquiry is clear. This would be a fascinating - and time-consuming and expensive - experiment. I’m hoping someone has done the work already.
  8. What’s the equivalent of quark in America? I have a bunch of powdered casein from Natural Pigments, so I’d like to make both recipes and compare. (Hopefully I can use the powdered casein on violins and eat the American quark-equivalent.) Thanks, all.