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The issue about proteins in varnish systems is twofold. First, is it truly detected in old violins? Where is it found and in what concentration? Second, why was it used at all; that is, what do proteins do for a varnish system? By varnish system I mean the ground and wood preparation followed by layers of varnish and polishing compounds. I have a couple of opinions on proteins. The first of which is an old theory that I come back to often. That idea is that the proteins were not intentional but a secondary component of an organic colorant or stain. Many of you know that I have experimented a lot with annatto. These seeds are a major source of protein. Nevertheless, I no longer advocate annatto colorant. (I have an accepted publication in the VSA Journal on Annatto. I will give details later.) Anyhow, there are many colorants from seeds that contain protein. Itis possible that proteins can be carried along with a colorant. I will talk more about this some other day. The other protein source is one that is intentional and applied for specific reasons. An example is a protein mixed with a colorant to stabilize and control it. That is what paint artist call a distemper which is similar to a tempera but without eggs. Or, a caseinate is applied to seal the wood. … .
I wanted to start this topic with the hopes that it would become a useful resource for those who are looking to go in a particular direction with wood and ground coloration and are unsure of a place to start. Of particular interest to me is producing a wood color that leans on tan with grey hints. Not much yellow, and very little green. But, it would be nice to see everything that’s out there. If you have examples of any process you’d like to share, even if you didn’t like the result, it would be wonderful to have here in one place.
Hi Everyone Thought I would give a heads-up! Ran across this while surfing and thought that those who use shellac as a ground coat might like this. Brooklyn Tool & Craft De-Waxed Shellac Flakes I find it hard to get de-waxed at times, and having another source where I already buy tools is handy, and saves on shipping charges. Catch Lee valley when the offer 'Free Shipping', and it gets even better. Shellac is also good for sealing templates, molds and tool handles.
Hi guys! So, I'm getting ready to varnish a fresh, bare patch of spruce on a violin top. But, it's my (shaky) understanding that one must first coat the bare wood with something to "seal" it-- meaning, something that will 1. Protect the wood if the upper layers of varnish are ever worn off, and 2. keep the varnish from soaking all the way through the wood and stiffening it, thus diminishing its tonal qualities. I'm about to do my first varnish, a simple spirit varnish (with some pre-mixed varnishes.... because this is a rush-project for a friend of mine who needs to violin soon)...... what would be a good ground coat for a beginner? I have hide glue at my disposal, but I've heard that diluting that and using it as a ground coat tends to muffle the tonal qualities of the wood. I also have tripoli powder, sandarac, and methylated spirits at my disposal. Could I rub tripoli powder into the wood as a filler/sealant? Or could I use a VERY dilute coating of sandarac dissolved in spirits? Advice is very much appreciated! I've not been able to find a lot of background on this topic that is geared toward beginner varnishers (rather, I see a lot of writing arguing about Cremonese techniques .....). Thanks, guys!!!!! - Sarah