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Found 74 results

  1. 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).
  2. 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???
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Sandarac varnish? I know sandarac is soluble in alcohol and insoluble in the oil. I do sandarac varnish Trying to pyrogeneticky. Linseed oil 300 to 315 ° C. Sandarac linseed oil is first dissolved and then immediately makes a precipitate. 20% is dissolved and 80% collides On the Internet I read several times that it is done sandarac varnish and I can not. Do not know how to cook sandarac varnish, without clots? What about the other oil? Thung, walnut oil?
  13. If using shellac to seal the wood before varnishing, can you brush it on or would you apply it like when french polishing with shellac? Thank you.
  14. Hey guys! I've been reading maestronet's discussion boards for about a month now, and I'm excited to finally be posting a question I'm a composer/ violist by trade, and I've decided to refurbish some abandoned violins as a summer project. They're trade instruments from the 60's that are in really bad shape, so I'm just using them as practice victims to learn some repair skills. I'm not too concerned about screwing them up, but I do want to do the best job I can on repairing them while getting the maximum amount of education out of the experience. As far as education goes, I've been reading the Strobel books, talking with local luthiers, reading boards like this and other luthier blogs, and watching videos on Youtube (especially Brian Lisus' video of building the Peace Quartet). With all that in mind, I have a question about how to best touch up the varnish on one of my patients. In some places, the varnish has been removed down to the bare wood (maybe gouged the wood a little too). There are also large areas of the finish where it's deeply pock-marked, like someone rubbed it against some gravel or concrete, but the color is still intact. I know that where I can see bare wood I'll have to replace the ground and varnish. But what is the best way to approach these other large areas of abrasion? I've heard that sandarac is good for filling in holes.... but is there a varnishing material that works sort of like polish on a car for getting out scratches in the paint? I've also heard of people "refreshing" varnish, but I have yet to discover exactly what "refreshing" entails (I suspect many different techniques....) Any suggestions/ guidance from the elders and my fellow enthusiasts is much appreciated! Thank you a bunch in advance -Sarah
  15. Hi, I just acquired a nice violin which I'd like to work on revarnishing. Gallery here: It looks like the varnish has been burned and is quite cracked and melted in parts. I've removed some of the varnish on the back and the wood doesn't seem to have any damage to it. I'm wondering if anyone knows what kind of varnish was on the original from these photos? It looks quit red and is black in some areas where it has been heavily damaged. I'd like to try and create an old feel to the violin close to the feel of the most undamaged parts in the middle. I'd also like to know where is Europe would be best to buy old looking oil violin varnish, Would this be a good place to start? Thanks for any advice
  16. 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
  17. jowl

    Magister varnish

    Can anyone tell me what has happened to Magister Varnish products? Their website now points to a Japanese dentistry site!
  18. Hi guys! So, I'm doing a retouch on an old trade violin that has spirit varnish. I know that it's somewhat futile to discuss colors without actually showing an example (I'll be approved for pictures soon!), but I'm looking for a varnish that's deep cherry red... much more red than brown. I've thought of making my own 1704 varnish and adding dragon's blood.... but then I saw that one could also use henna, or cochineal, or madder root.... or I could just buy red pre-made varnish from Kremer pigments, and maybe some brown in case I need to adjust the color. So basically, now I'm overwhelmed with choices. Does anyone, from experience, have some endorsements for a nice deep but vibrant red? Anyone know what would typically be used to color a cheap varnish red.... so maybe I can use the same thing or something close to the original? Also.... how much variance is there in the types of reds the common red colorants yield? This is where some first hand experience or advice from those with lots of experience would come in handy! Thank you much for any thoughts you all may have!!!! -Sarah
  19. In the last decade there has been a tremendous amount of scientific research on classical Italian violin varnish, particularly on Stradivari's varnish methods. Two studies, done with most of the same equipment, come up with very different conclusions. Bruce Tai in the 2007 VSA papers and the recent Stradivari Varnish book by Grenier and others differ in the number of coats or layers Stradivari and other contemporary makers used. I tend to agree with the very recent Stradivari Varnish book that says there were probably four steps in Strad's varnish method: sealing, staining (darkening), one clear coat and one color coat. But I have some questions about this, provoked in part by Mr. Hargrave's use of rabbit urine and UV light, about the science and about a reasonable method of varnishing with resin and linseed oil. (1) were there 2 coats of varnish or 11 coats, the conflict raised by the two studies mentioned above (2) If Strad used multiple coats of resin and linseed oil varnish, how did he have time to sun dry somewhere around 1300 instruments in cloudy and rainey Cremona ? (3) If he used only two coats as suggested by Stradivari Varnish, do you makers really think that one color coat of vermillion colored varnish would produce a vibrant red violin on white wood? (4) Therefore Strad had to have darkened the wood to produce the flame, the color, and quantity of violins he made. (5) Does anyone have a reasonable (scientific or practical) method of darkening the wood before varnishing? I appreciate all the work that has gone into these studies, and the practical value of Mr. Hargrave's use of urine and UV, but no one as far as I know can determine how Stradivari darkened his wood--chemicals, dyes, stains, urine? I have 35 years of experience with resin and linseed oil varnish, and I fail to see how two coats of this varnish could produce anything like a classical finish, unless (a) the wood was darkened considerably first and ( the color agent was very powerful in intensity and other characteristics. One of the reaasons I raise these questions is because multiple coats of linseed oil varnish will reduce volume and tone, additionally it is too time consuming, Glazing is not the answer. So, interestingly, the so-called "secret" to Strad's varnish is that there was very little varnish!!! Help me out on this one makers, please. Thanks. Peter White
  20. Hi guys, I'm going to try and mix my own batch of 1704 spirit varnish. Does anyone know a good place to order the individual resins and coloring agents? Thanks! -Sarah
  21. Hi there, I made some varnish a while ago by using a recipe that I found online, to be more specific, it was a pdf file on Thestrad. The link unfortunately doesnt work anymore so linking it here wont help. Anyways, the recipe contains pine resin, linseed oil, and aloe powder. It said the varnish can be thinned with Gum turpentine to the desired consistancy afterwards. My question is, what sort of gum turpentine would be needed for this? If this is anything like linseed oil, there is so much different types which makes it hard to know which would be usable in varnish. Would I need 100% pure gum turpentine? I found 2 examples of gum turpentine on Ebay that can ship to where I live, can someone please tell me if this might work? Thank You. If anyone is interested, I still have the PDF saved, so I can provide the full recipe here.
  22. An argument against excessive polishing?
  23. I am having some trouble with the cleaning paper I use when I am varnishing leaving small fibres behind, those can be seen when I put a coat on, not that they are a problem but I much rather not have them. Started using a tack cloth to get rid of them before I apply the varnish, but I am a little concerned of the greasy residue left behind by it. How are you guys going about this problem? Any ideas would be much apreciated! Jose
  24. Hello everyone, I'd just like to give a quick introduction to myself: I'm a painter and I work with oils, I make my own paints, wash my own oil and my own varnishes. I've been lurking around the forum for some time trying to pick up as much info on varnishes as I could, particularly anything regarding oil varnishes with natural resins (colophony, sandarac, copal, amber etc). I believe that oil varnishes are by far the most durable ones. Now, I'm at the moment trying to develop some sort of gelling varnish but I'm having trouble doing so. I've noticed in some posts that some of you have had your varnishes gel on you. This is obviously not useful for you but could very well be for me! If any of you could share your experiences with me and what the properties of your gels were I'd be most grateful! BTW, if any of you have any questions regarding drying oils I believe I can provide you practical information and experience in that regard.