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  1. I haven't been getting cracks, but I have definitely applied it very heavy. But I've been wiping it off so you have a matte wood finish primed with the casein, I doubt that can lead to cracking. It might led to bad refraction though... And yeah, that is why I made sure to mention the brands in case people know them. And I hear that a lot as well. I guess they're basically the same once they're properly cured... One more thing: I have cut a chamfer on the pieces, and on neither of the samples, oil of spirit, maple or spruce, do I see the ground seeping into the wood. If I can't see it, does that mean it doesn't soak in and I'm good to go with it on a violin if I wanted to use this method? I still think I want to use something on the spruce, but this oil varnish thing sure is tempting
  2. I have to admit I've been doing more research rather than more tests. But I've come up with two things: 1) I've been making my casein ground way thicker than for instance Davide does. I think it might look much better when done like he shows in one of his videos, and I'm going to try that quite soon. 2) Spirit varnish and oil varnish does not look the same at all as I originally thought. I just tried brushing on Hammerl spirit varnish on one half of a piece of wood and work a very small amount of Old Wood Cremona varnish into the wood on the other half. It looked deeper in colour and refraction on both spruce and maple, but on spruce the two are more similar. Could I safely ground an instrument this way? With just a bit of varnish worked into the surface, will it soak into the wood? And will it dry properly? I probably would use a single coat of casein, spirit varnish or the spirit varnish primer from Hammerl on the spruce to be sure before I work in oil varnish all over the instrument, but I still don't want uncured varnish in the maple. I'm currently preparing a larger test, but I would like to hear people's opinions on using varnish as a ground. I don't want to dampen the instrument...
  3. Thank you. I'll try it first, but I think maybe I'm more comfortable using spirit varnish on spruce and oil varnish on maple. It may be time for test pieces one of these days! And Jezzupe I know. I just had to "split hairs"? Is that the saying in English? :-P I did use hard sugar before, and I have to say I really like it. It's an option for sure!
  4. Thanks! I'll look into the recipe if I get around to trying it. Right now I have plenty of things to test though. And yeah, the whole intentionally separating the ground to make the varnish chip thing... I won't do that, don't worry :-P And yeah, I did misunderstand you Jezzupe. You said "powers", water doesn't... But then I'd have to argue, most organisms can only consume glucose and have to process the fructose half of table sugar before it powers anything ;-)
  5. Thanks, Jackson. The varnish is quite viscous, which is why I think it might not penetrate much. I will try it out on a piece of wood. We do agree that it should not be done on the spruce, right? There I still use casein or spirit varnish, not oil varnish? And application method is still something I'm confused about... Do I take a little bit on my finger and rub it in to the wood, do I brush it on and wipe it off..? But either way, I will not be building up a film with the ground. Good tip :-D I'll look into vernice bianca. Seems like it's honey and gum arabic, I have both on a shelf :-) And jezzupe, of course! I'm asking here because I'm mostly concerned about impact on the tone which I can't test that quickly, and sometimes you more experienced people have already learned a few lessons that I can keep in mind while experimenting. For instance, I wasn't aware that film building or using two different grounds over each other would have such an impact on chipping. So of course I will try everything out on both maple and spruce and do some antiquing tests to see how it acts and looks. Do you mean honey and water as a ground? While I hate to ruin a joke, I have to be sure I understand... :-P And yes, I've heard great things about Joe Robson's varnishes and his balsam ground, but I'm not sure I can get it in Denmark. I'm considering it though
  6. Haha, thanks Davide, I think you're right. But maybe someone knows the answer to some of it and I can work out the rest on my own with sample pieces. That's the idea at least... :-P And thanks for the heads up on that! I do want it to chip away, but I think the old wood varnish on casein was perfect, I don't want it any more chippy than that. I suppose an oil ground might be less chippy, but I don't know yet... And Jackson, that is of course true. What would you suggest as the application method? Say I wanted to use my varnish as the ground, I suppose adding it in little spots and spreading them around would make those spots soak up a little more and make them visible? I would like to try it, but I really want to make sure I'm doing it right so I don't screw up a nice violin...
  7. Hi I'm a new amateur maker, just finished my seventh instrument: https://www.instagram.com/p/CbIzOICNjjt/ I have been using a few different grounds now: Hammerl's spirit varnish primer (isn't that just spirit varnish btw?), clear sugar ground, and for the last few a casein/calcium ground further sealed with a single coat of spirit varnish. I feel like they have all worked very well, but I quite like the casein. The one thing I don't like is that it seems to be less refractive than the other two, which soak into the wood a bit. I was recommended a linseed oil and aloe ground for the maple that penetrates the wood somewhat and hardens, but I still don't know how I feel about that. My mind has always been set on preventing any varnish from entering the wood, so putting oil into it feels like a bad idea. I suppose varnish or oil in the wood makes it more lively and refractive, but does anyone know how it affects the tone? And also, does it make any difference how deep the ground penetrates for the refractiveness? I would assume soaking in just a little bit is good, but any further than that is bad, as you only see the surface anyway? I've also considered simply varnishing straight on the wood. I'm using old wood oil varnish right now, and I doubt it'll soak in as far as a linseed oil ground. So maybe I would get the same effect but with less dampening? I haven't yet made my test pieces yet, but these are the options I'm considering: 1) Casein ground on the spruce, no ground on the maple, so straight oil varnish 2) Casein ground on the spruce, oil/aloe ground on the maple 3) Using spirit varnish to seal the wood, including the spruce 4) Using clear sugar ground 5) Spirit varnish, and then casein ground. Not sure if this would work or not 6) Sticking with casein all over, as it has actually worked, sounded and looked pretty good so far I like to antique, so I start by oxidizing the wood with sodoum nitrite for a week or so. The calcium in the casein ground yellows the wood, and I quite like that. So I am considering applying calcium on its own prior to the ground just for the colour. I suppose that would fill the grain a bit on its own? And since I'm going to be antiquing, I would like the ground to look "old" when revealed. I add a bit of nut stain in the casein ground, making it look a little dirty, but i suppose the dirt would really only be in the revealed wood, not the ground itself. But any tips to darken the wood further before pplying varnish are appreciated. Out of these options, what would you do and why? Is there a better alternative I should try out? Thanks in advance :-)
  8. Thank you, that's a great tip! I'll do that right away. Now, I've had time to relax a bit and think. I observed the hygrometers in the room where the cello has been, and it seems to be dluctuatong between 20 and 30%. I put them in the UV box for a while, and it reads 20%. It's about 22C in there and It's been running for two hours now. The seam seems to be settling a little bit, and I'm starting to think that it might not be shrinkage as much as just a bad spot in the seam. The "best" thing would probably be to wait till It's warmed up outside to start varnishing, but I honestly don't think I could wait that long. My current plan is to see if I can align this seam tonight and glue it back, then check the UV tent tomorrow when it has been running for four hours. In case it is not too warm and dry, I would resume the tanning of the cello, but on a 2 hours on/1 hour off cycle with the extra ventilation, a bowl of water and the door unzipped in one side. This feels overly gentle and should barely even heat up I think, but of course I would stay by it a full day with a freshly calibrated hygrometer to see if the humidity drops afterall. Does this sound irresponsible to you?
  9. I found my hygrometers. Apparently I have two. One says +14, one says +24 in my handwriting, which means I've tested them at some point and they're both terrible. Where I found them they read 50 and 60%, with the +14 giving the highest number and not reverse, and in the room where the cello has been for the past month they read 30 and 40%. I have no idea how I tested them, but if they're that inaccurate, I'm not even sure if the reading shows the right ballpark. I'll bring them to the UV box as soon as possible though, at least they will show the differential between the two
  10. I know I can buy one online, but from amazon or ebay it's a solid 3 weeks before arrival. That doesn't help much in saving the cello. I can probably find one online in Denmark, but that's still a few days, and I'm trying to find out the best thing to do right now to not potentially ruin this cello that I've spent the last few months making... I'll get a good hygrometer, don't worry, but for now I'm just trying to decide if it's best to leave it in UV or not, to glue it or not and then how to humidify the UV tent with some passive system. I'm sorry if I sound a little on edge. I know writing is not the best thing to do when you're stressed out, but I really don't know what to do. I have spent so much of my time making this and was just excited to start varnishing one of these days (I'm not giving it a heavy tan, just a few days), and now it seems that the top is shrinking on me... It may not even be that bad, but I would obviously like to do whatever gives it the best chance of springing back in place and staying there
  11. Yeah I suppose I do. It's not like I'm trying to screw it up, you know, I've just never had any issues with humidity before on any of my instruments, new or old, so it's not a thing I even considered when shopping for this setup. I have a hygrometer somewhere, but not a very precise one. I hope I can find it, because everyting is still closed down here in Denmark, so buying one isn't that easy. The box wasn't actually that hot, about 25C or so. But that's still significant. To be fair though, the wood is "used to" this level of humidity over the last few months with -15 at night, so it's not as drastic of a change as if I'd brought it from 70% for instance. I guess that's why I only have an open seam and not an open top...
  12. Actually, if it's cold outside and warm inside, the humidity would be low inside, right... Yeah, I didn't think that through. I'll definitely figure that out before putting it back in the tent
  13. Yeah, a wick of some sort would be a decent increase in surface area. I live in Denmark, we just broke back above the freezing point a few days ago, it's 3C outside right now with a good amount of melting snow and slush around. Probably not ideal varnishing weather I guess
  14. Actually, I have one if those small ultrasound cold mist things. The mist would all stay by the bottom, but would it be better than just a bowl with a rag? It would have to be on for as long as the lights, however, and it splashes water up in the air, so I'm not too happy about the idea while varnishing
  15. Davide, that is good to know... I think I have one somewhere, I'll look for it. When you say rewetting, should I dampen the top? It might be a little much a little fast, especially since I can only wet the outside..? I'm just trying to save the cello right now. I don't think It's very dry, however. Doesn't feel like it, and the weather forecast says It's 95% outside. However, the top is not as seasoned as the rest, so I am a little worried about what you're saying...
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