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Found 63 results

  1. There are so many threads about antiquing that it is likely someone already has answered this question. But finding that answer would be like finding a sable brush hair on the back of a cat. Some of what we see on older instruments and newer antiqued ones is the accumulation of varnish, polish, body oil, and/or schmutz. My question is whether these accumulations can be replicated on a new instrument without full-blown antiquing. Example: Rasp marks -- or what appear to be rasp marks -- are visible on the edges of the da Salo tenor viola at the NMM. It doesn't hurt that da Salo's edges are relatively flat so the marks are not obscured by the edge curves we see on Cremonese instruments. Much of the varnish color has been worn off the edge which also helps the darker rasp marks stand out. I am considering using more of golden brown varnish on a da Salo viola, but still would like to gently enhance the visibility of the tool marks -- ideally without the highlighting that probably come with antiquing. [NOTE: This is not an antiquing v. fresh varnish thread, so let's not go there. Again.] Any strategies out there?
  2. Hello from Greece, I've been lurking in this forum quite a time reading various topics and I've decided to register in order to ask your opinion about a matter. I have a viola made by german luthier Walter Mahr in 2012. It is a nice handmade instrument that has been in my possesion for almost a year now. It's an imitation of an old viola, it has some beautiful craquelure that were made on purpose by the luthier itself. The varnish looks delicate and soft and I have noticed some thin almost straight lines on varnish that are visible in certain lighting. They look like scratces, like if somebody scratched the surface with an ultra thin sharp object. Also there are some semi circular lines right under the strings between the end of the fingerboard and the bridge - I suspect that while wipping rosin off the viola small particles of rosin dust scratched lightly the varnish. Is this possible? Relative humidity in my room is usually between 50-70% while outside can be 60-90% as it is quite rainy place and an island. I attach few pictures. I will appreciate your comments and advise. P.S. This is the Ebay ad from which I bought the viola. There are also few pictures of the instrument there.
  3. Nice recent article at Strings Magazine by Andrew Dipper:
  4. Hi guys, I am currently in the process of varnishing my 2nd violin build and as per the 1st, I am using some of Joe Robson's products. If anyone is familiar with these products, I'd love to pick your brains as to how you use them on your own instruments. For anyone who is not familiar with his ground system, it involves 4 different balsam preparations and then a ground varnish as a final step. Also, there are colors that can be added after the 2nd balsam preparation. In the instructions I received from Joe, he recommends adding the aged wood color to a dilute mix of the 2nd ground preparation. After this, he mentions the aged wood red/brown and aged wood gray green can be added. He doesn't say if they should be mixed with the 2nd ground preparation or whether they are applied directly to the instrument. Can anyone here who's used these ground products help me out? I've got some more of Joe's Alizarin color concentrates and the dark rosin varnish in the mail also. Last violin I brushed on the ground and varnish for every coat, but I've been learning that a lot of makers use their hands to apply the varnish. I'd love to experiment with this approach, but I have no experience in it so I'm a little nervous about ruining the violin. What are you trying to achieve by using your hands? Putting varnish on heavier in some areas? Avoiding overloading the edges? I know there is a thousand ways to skin a cat, but I'd love to hear from anyone about their particular method of working and way they use it. Especially useful if you're familiar with Joe's varnishes. Thanks again and I very much appreciate everyone who is willing to share their experience on forums like this. It really does help someone like myself to find direction early on in learning to make!
  5. I received this violin a while ago and have been playing it for a few months. It's very strong and has a rich sound, but I don't have any clues to who made it, what kind of varnish is on it, or when it was made. There is no maker's label on the inside (but there is something, that will be in a picture) and looks like it has had a repair, I think, since it came from a repair shop and may have had a small crack. I've made my own estimate and I guess it was made after 1900, but I'm no appraiser. It's actually due to be appraised sometime in the near future, but I've not gotten to it yet, hoping they have some answers. Also, no bow came with it (I have my own two), so there's not going to be any clues that way. I have posted the pictures on Tumblr since for some reason I cannot upload them to this post. Also, I've made captions for most of them stating what I know: So, will anyone have a go at this? Hopefully an estimate on when it was made, at least, maybe where, or by who (again, I also have no idea what kind of varnish is on it). Thank you in advance to anyone who replies.
  6. Hello everyone. I have been lurking here for awhile and finally decided to post. I have a 1926 Ernst Heinrich Roth 1718 Strad that I picked up for a few hundred dollars at a pawn shop. It is a lovely violin, but it makes me kind of sad every time I play it because some @&$! brushed over the original finish with polyurethane before I got it. The violin actually sounds quite nice it is just not quite as loud as it should be. I am wondering what if anything can be done to remove the polyurethane without damaging the original finish. I understand that refinishing is a giant No! So far the most drastic thing I have done is pick at a rough spot in the poly with my fingernail. I will try to put up a few pictures soon.
  7. I've recently been inspired to design and make a new viola. I thought it might be fun to post some of my progress pics to anybody who might be interested... Here's a picture of the plate I joined last week for the viola back. I slightly undercut the notches you see to be about halfway up the full thickness of the plate so as to even out the pressure on the seam when I clamp.
  8. Will Joe have a X-Ray microtomographic setup (microfocus X-ray tube) at his workship? It would probably be too much to expect a synchrotron or other fancy analytical equipment. Looks like maybe the varnish is important? Whoulda thunk? The Swiss strike again! See current ish, Applied Physics A, Implication is that "professional" varnishes are better than simple home made stuff like the researchers used. On a side note, they have good descriptions of the wood micro-structure. I am curious, though perhaps not relevant to what they were examining, what would a violin sound like that did not have wood that had differencesbetween summer and winter grain? Does such wood exist? Has anyone done this?
  9. While I've always associated the 'Dichroic' qualities of the nicer Cremonese varnish with the ground, Most of the makers (not necessarily restorers...) I know associate it with the varnish layer. Do folks have an opinion about this?
  10. Hello! I want to start topic about repairing of old violins varnishes. Starting questions or what is the purpose of our discoursing: French polish YES? NO? Polishing grinding Adding of own spirit varnish layer (or layers) on old surface Propolis polish Restorating of varnish on Stradivaris, Guarneris and another rare violins Cleaning of colophony or another dirt with sandpaper and oil? Super NIKCO JOHA polish Tripoli, Vienna chalk and more... Topic aim is to avoid destruction of old instruments as we can see it on much examples in museums. Thank you in advance to everyone who will be involved!
  11. Hello. Recently a friend sent me a shortened version of research done in France of Strad's varnish. One of the pigments found was red iron oxide . Many years ago I used steel wool pads soaked for a long time in vinegar (acetic acid) and added this rust to a cast iron pot of freshly aerated pure gun spirits of turpentine. I got a very nice red brown color. However, MrFulton told me not to use this rust because of the acetic acid used in the preparation of the rust. Do you all have any thoughts about the use of red iron oxide in Terpene resin varnish and do you believe that the acetic acid is a very damaging element in such varnish? I know you can make rust powder with just water. Slower but maybe a much safer way to get a nice red brown color? What ideas do you have about this research and adding rust to turps? Thanks, Peter White
  12. Hi All, I was recently and generously given two bottles of an old varnish: "cello-lacquer" Green and Blue. A short description of how apply the varnish and at the bottom of each bottle is: Made by Percy Wadham's Specialtities, Newport, I.W. Would anyone have any information? I've tried but have hit that 'brick wall'. Hoping with the help of like minded souls with a love of research and musical instruments I would receive more information. Apparently the approximate date is from the 1940s but that is really a guess. Any and all help would be a great. Cheers.
  13. elenab

    Amber varnish

    Hello, please, help. I bought amber powder to make solvent free varnish (amber & walnut oil). I am an artist and wanted to try varnish as a medium. Anyway, I cooked amber in walnut oil, and nothing happened. As I discovered after amber has a high melting point. I also found here some instructions how to do it right way - first amber is melted, then after some cooling oil is added. Question about melting - what heat did you use? gas or electric stove? And about cooling - wouldn't amber crystallize when it's off the heat? e.g. damar resin crystallized immediately when off the heat I would also like to ask you about copal resin. I bought copal resin after my failure with amber. I cooked it with walnut oil in a deep frier and copal dissolved within 4 min. And because I have damar resin at home, I found that copal looks very much like damar. Copal I bought and damar have the same melting point ( tried to melt them together) both crystallize after and both crystalls dissolve in turpentine immediately. I thought that copal varnish is hard to dissolve in turpentine and , although, I didn't try to dissolve my copal varnish ( the sample of it is not dry yet) I thought crystallized copal should behave as dried varnish. Any thoughts, please? very informative forum. thank you so much, Elena
  14. I am making my fourth violin and have decided to glue the fingerboard permanently and try to varnish under it, having done so with the fingerboards off for the previous three. I am curious to find out how many violin makers out there glue their fingerboards permanently and varnish under them, and if they have any special tricks for doing so.
  15. Sooo ...keeping in mind that this is my $177 Chinese violin that I am willing to experiment on...but one that I like well enough it's become my "gig" fiddle ... so I hope not to wreck it entirely in the process either... What would be a reasonably easy and safe varnish repair? I know French polishing is a big no-no ... but in this instance I can't see why not. The varnish is chippy and I'd like to smooth it out. How do I go about it? I don't know if I am quite brave enough to actually do it...but I am going to put on a new if I am going to undress it for that...might be good time to tackle the finish. I guess what I am looking for is a step by step "how to" with products listed (so I can see what I have on hand and what I would need to purchase).
  16. What are the big myths and overly faith based beliefs of violin making?? We have a thread on bias, which seems a healthy sort of self reflection. That got me thinking about how little logic and evidence seem to matter in our threads, so much seems spoken more from a point of strongly held belief. What are some of the core violin ideas that are held, or denied, mostly as points of faith or belief, rather than as knowledge grounded in observation? Obvious candidates and some of their equally dubious opposites : Stradivari is the absolute best (or is a total shame) There's a secret to great making It's all in the varnish It's all in the tap tones The old instruments looked like moderns when new There is a ground (there isn't a ground) It's all in the ground No stains or pigments were used A copy has the virtues of the original Sound can be copied Science will give consistency to the making Etc. What are some the violin making beliefs that seem poorly founded in your eyes???
  17. Greetings, I have followed these boards for a few months, having been researching the process of varnishing violins. I am working on my first violin varnishing project using a slight variation of the method Henry Strobel recommends here. The variant is that I have used Tetley tea instead of salmon colored dilute with the walnut oil, iron oxide and colophony recipe. This method involved tea, 2 layers of varnish with no Uberzugslack (clear overcoat) followed by a rubbing compound. On such a finish, is it still appropriate to use the commercial automotive polishing compounds like t241a, No. 7 and Novus Plastic Polish number 2 (are these all diatomaceous earth?) Or would it be better to try pumice or rotten stone in some polishing oil? If so, what oil? Walnut? Olive? Linseed? Can diatomaceous earth be substituted for pumice or rottenstone? It seems finer than pumice. I have never used rottenstone. Any suggestions and/or warnings to the newly initiated would be appreciated.
  18. yancypup

    Pine Tar

    Hello, I have another new question. I ordered some amber varnish and mistakenly got a light amber varnish. I need to darken it and was thinking about adding a little pine tar (I have the pure stuff). I found a seller online that listed a boat varnish recipe that uses boiled linseed oil, turpentine and a little pine tar to give color from a light amber to a dark amber depending on the amount added. Since it was used for boat varnish and apparently dries I'm wondering what it will do to the drying time of amber violin varnish which is essentially amber dissolved in oil (probably linseed oil). Does anyone know how it will affect drying time? Thanks in advance! Dan.
  19. I would like to melt some amber to make amber varnish. I'm using Violin Varnish and How To Make It as a reference. The text says to heat amber in an earthenware vessel and pour it onto a marble slab. After it has cooled, you are supposed to grind it into a powder, mix it with either linseed oil or turpentine and it will dissolve under low heat. I have some questions about this. Could white Corningware be used as the vessel? Other texts I have referenced say use and iron pot. Which is best? Nothing I have read talks about using a cover but I am thinking a cover would help prevent oxygen from entering the melt. Should I use a cover? Some texts talk about using some siccative oil or turpentine in the melting process. I'm worried about hitting the self ignition point of the solvent if I do this. Is this advisable? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated! I do realize this this is an outdoor activity to be accompanied by a fire extinguisher. Thanks in advance, Dan.
  20. Hello all, As a city person with very limited resources, cooking smelly/toxic varnishes is out of the question for now. So, I was hoping we could begin a thread talking about oil or spirit varnish recipes that don't require heating/cooking. So far I only know of the Darnton Mastic Varnish recipe. Also, if you have worked with the varnishes mentioned, feel free to write your opinions and experiences. Thanks!
  21. Hello all, I've done some reading about oil varnishes and oil paint colors, but still have a few questions. 1. Making my own oil varnish is out of the question, so what brands or where could I purchase a reliable oil varnish? 2. I'm really intrigued by the oldwood varnishing system, especially their varnish and glazing process/materials. What are your thoughts or experiences with them? 3. After watching the varnish application process that oldwood uses (applying their thick looking varnish and oil colors by hand), are all oil varnishes applied like that? It surprised me because I thought you could only brush on varnish. Thanks to anyone who could help point me in the right direction. All I want is to enjoy the amazing process of varnishing, and to be proud of the results.
  22. I am faced with repairing less expensive Chinese instruments (okay - maybe cheap is the right word). I am suspicious I am dealing with something other than hide glue and real varnish. Does anybody know for sure? I have gone through a couple of dozen threads in the Pegbox to see if there has been any mention of what kind of glue and finish are being used on Chinese instruments currently being produced. I haven't found any mention of this. I am reluctant to experiment on somebody else's violin, so I am asking here if anybody knows. I am suspicious that the finish may be some kind of commercial spray lacquer - at least on some (some are very brittle). I am seeing mostly Gewa and Menzel brands around here. Cheers, Bob
  23. Hello I'm looking to see if anyone might have some rosin oil originally from Northern Renaissance Instruments UK. I"m looking for their RO III and RO II. Send me an email. Thanks Joe Wiese
  24. Hi there, Im finally having my first attempt at varnishing a violin. This is a violin that I bought off Ebay, with the purpous of varnish experimenting, trying different varnish techniques etc. (The violin was literally painted over, so I felt no guilt in stripping the paint) My question for this topic is: When you varnish, must the varnish be perfectly even in both color and texture? Or do you even out the color when you are "rubbing it down"? Also, when do you actually "rub the varnish down"? After it has completely dried? And what would you use to "rub it down"? Thank you, and I look forward to reading your replies.
  25. I have some Old Wood varnish which I no longer require and am looking to sell at a 10% discount from cost. I have Italian Golden ground A & B 30cc, Refractive Ground 30cc, Imprimitura Minerale 15cc, Doratura Minerale 15cc, and Classical Amber Varnish 30cc. I also have Indigo blue oil natural colour 8ml, Madder Lake Red 8ml, Walnut Dark Brown 8ml, and Lac Dye Red 8ml. I have used the ground system on one of my violins, but the Amber Varnish is unused. The colours have been minimally used to prepare test colour strips but not for actual glazing. Please contact me via Maestronet if you are interested.