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Found 59 results

  1. Michelman pp 31-43 argues for a historical basis to rosinates extending back to Cremonese times. I think his arguments are weak. I have also looked for modern analyses that could resolve this issue and found none. Maybe I overlooked someone's research. Does anyone have a better argument for rosinates used by Cremonese makers of Stradivari's time?
  2. FoxMitchell

    Varnish Crackle Question

    So, it bad if your brand new varnish develops a 100-years-old-like crackle effect within a month of being applied?
  3. Davide Sora

    The Universe Within

    I found this on the web, awesome images, finally the proof that Stradivari was extraterrestrial.... Joking aside, the varnish looks very rich in pigments, something I would not have expected, according to the latest research. I do not know neither the author nor the violin, does anyone know if its conditions are good (original varnish?) and so if the images are reliable? This gentleman seems to have many personal theories, does anyone know him?
  4. Marcus Bretto

    Cooking Varnish in a Melting Pot?

    Hello all! So, I've been really excited about trying to cook my first batch of oil varnish. I've been researching the forums on here/ various things on the internet and getting supplies for the job. I was planning on purchasing a hotplate for cooking the varnish on when I discovered a "dip coat melting pot" while cleaning out the basement of our shop. It looks like an industrial glue pot with temperature control ranging from 100 to 500 degrees F. Looking them up online shows me that they are designed specifically for heating viscous materials evenly (plastics, resins, ect.) and often come with "thermostatic control to eliminate carbonization". Seems like its the sort of thing that would be perfect for cooking varnish! Has anyone done or heard of others using these things, or just have opinions on the matter? Also, any more varnish tips/ suggestions would be well appreciated. -Marcus
  5. Did anyone here on MN ever make a test with varnish application? Here is what I am trying to find out: if we are using turpentine soluble varnish we can apply it in let's say 3 thick layers with a brush or in 100 ultra thin layers with a cloth. Is there any difference in the visual result? Has anyone tried it?
  6. Hello all. So I've been reading up on as much information as I can within reason about the use of nitric acid in the cooking of varnish to produce color. Of course, reading about it has made me aware of the potential problems in using varnish produced with nitric acid. Some people claim to have success and others have many complaints from color shifts to drying problems to cracking and all sorts of fun stuff. Putting all of this aside, I have three main questions, both highly related. Does anyone know what quality of nitric acid produces the production of the colorant? Is it the oxidizing quality or the strength of the acid itself? Could the unnatural oxidation be what interferes with the drying time? Also, has anyone tried to achieve similar results with the use of chemical products other than nitric acid?
  7. Mason

    Stuff for sale

    Here is some stuff for sale. Juzek caliper- larger size for cello-SOLD holtier varnish. Dark is between 1/2 & 2/3 full. Clear is full. Old wood tube colors. Madder lake red is unused, madder lake brown red is very used, but there is plenty for multiple instruments left. I plan to include the brown red with the sale of the red.-SOLD Veritas convex sole squirrel tail plane. Dremel purfling jig-SOLD ibex purfling marker-SOLD old wood siccativ. SOLD Text me for fastest response. Make an offer on any or all of the items. 651-890-6683
  8. RueDeRome96

    Questions on aging pattern

    Hello, I have a few questions regarding the appearance of my violin. I have been told it is probably German-made from the first-half of the 20th century. Please bear with me as I have no experience of wood-working or varnishing... Is the light-dark pattern of the back due to age and wear (light areas are worn more than the dark ones), or is it due to the way the wood originally took the varnish? What are the dark spots due to? I read that they are due to dings that happen during the life of the violin. Is that were true, wouldn't the varnish be damaged at each of these spots? It seems that the varnish is as smooth as everywhere else at these spots. Does the darkness of the back seem mean that it has been repaired? Thank you.
  9. This picture shows Joe's balsam ground preparation 3 after 3:1 dilution with turpentine. After a while the balsam seems to precipitate out. Has anyone encountered this problem?
  10. Hell everybody, Last May I send my oil-varnished viola to a qualified repair person to be cleaned. During the cleaning, three parallel lines appeared on varnish running along the upper left frontal side of the instrument. The repair person tried to "camouflage" them by applying linseed oil on them but with no luck.... The lines are still there! They can be noticed under appropriate light. Is there another way to make them dissapear or it doesn't worth it? I have attached a couple of photos - the lines can be better seen if you zoom the images. Thank you in advance. John
  11. So I got a few different colors of the JOHA oil varnish from IVC... I am quite pleased with it save for two points: 1 - it isn't dark enough. I've remedied this by adding color extract, so this is no big deal. 2 - it dries too fast... that may sound like an oxymoron, but I assure you it isn't. I did a little digging and found an old thread from 2008 that raised the same concern. I just tried one of the suggestions which was to thin the varnish with turpentine. That helped some; but it still dries too fast to be able to move it around to the point I am satisfied with it. I wound up with a belly and back that are 75% nice and 25% streaky/blotchy. Luckily I am doing this on some cheap white violins bought for varnish testing purposes, so it's not a total disaster. My question is: are any of you all using this/ experiencing the same issue? If so, have you cracked the code on how to alter it so that it remains workable long enough to varnish without being in a hurry, but retains some of the "quick" drying characteristics that make it nice from the oil varnish standpoint? I'd love to hear your recs on the issue if so. Ive been wood working for years, and finishing has always been a thorn in my side. I hate it... every aspect of it. That's why I'm looking for the closest thing that is "out of the box" ready for a decent finish on my first few fiddles. I have two done, and am getting close to a third... I'd like to make them look OK as far as varnish goes, but I'm not quite ready to dig in full time to perfecting a unique technique... I'm still learning the making process. Thanks for for all of your help!
  12. epe913

    Curious- black looking marks

    I was doing a routine inspection of my violin today and got to wondering about something... hoping someome more knowledgeable can clear up my curiosity... My violin has these black marks all around the top edge of the ribs where the top plate is glued on. But not anywhere else. Is this discolored glue residue? Varnish? Lead? Just was looking closer at things and was wondering what those marks were from in my violin's past. Here is a photo Thanks for clearing up my curiosity!
  13. sandman


    I recently tested polyurethane (Minwax Wipe On Poly in gloss) by applying 3 generous coats to a sheet of Saran Wrap. After the third coat had dried thoroughly I wrapped the Saran around a soda straw. There was no flaking or cracking and the finish seemed to hold up quite nicely. Its a bit "outside the box" but does anyone have experience using it on a violin? Seems like a no brainer but I've never heard of it being used as such. What am I not considering about it?
  14. Hello there, I'm a new member, but I've used threads from this forum as an information source many times before. I'm a Danish cellist with a lot of hobbies, one being restoration of old violins. I'm rather new to it, though, and have only repaired one violin yet with a nasty sound post crack, so I need to gain a lot of experience. I picked this violin up from a luthier's shop window in Schleswig, Germany. He told me it's a 200 or more years old violin from Mittenwald. I asked why the maker didn't use flamed wood for the neck when the body seems to be of rather nice wood and he said that it was probably made by another person than the body like some sort of production line, just like the trade instruments. After staring at it in admiration ever since I purchased it, I've formed a theory that the neck might actually be made later instead of a neck graft. I think there is lots of attention to detail in the body, but not so much in the neck, and the combination seems weird to me. However, I don't have much experience, so I would love if someone could help me identify it. I have taken pictures with my phone, and I've observed a few details: The fingerboard seems to have been too low on this neck and have been lifted with a thin, angled piece of maple. Is that normal? The fingerboard has grooves from the strings The upper right corner where the left hand might rest is weared down a lot so it has a curve down and is even cracked along the purfling. The back has marks after having a chin rest mounted for both a right- and left handed player. Maybe it's been a student violin and used by many people? However, it only has marks in the c-bout on the treble side. It has been repaired in five cracks in the top and one in the side. The stamp on the inside looks a lot like the one of Christian Wilhelm Seidel, but especially the d is not as swung. I can't find anything anywhere matching this font. Does anybody recognize this branding? I can't upload my photos from my phone, so they're on Google Drive: My last question is one that I know has been asked too often: It's horribly firty with rosin buildup etc, how should I clean it? I've done my best with a damp cloth, but it's not really enough. I've heard turpentine should be safe on rosin varnishes (this should be dragon blood according to the seller), and it seems to work, but I don't really like how hard the turpentine itself is to get off the surface. I'm not asking how I should clean my instrument casually, but how I should do if I want to be the amateur luthier who enjoys making old stuff play again. Lastly, of course I won't do anything stupid to a really good instrument while I'm still learning, and it will under any circumstanced be taken to my luthier when I get home before I touch it. Sorry for the long post, but I hope someone out there can help me. - Tobias :-)
  15. FoxMitchell

    To Restore or Not To Restore...

    I have finished cleaning and setting up and adjusting an old probably German/Bohemian violin (the one I asked help identifying in this other post), and now I'm debating moving to a more hairy task with it: Varnish restoration! The violin has some scuffs and dings, but two that concern me are the ones on the lower bout bass side where a piece of it is actually chipped off, and on the back where some very aggressive shoulder-rest use seems to have worn through the varnish (please see pictures). The value of the violin is inconsequential, this is a work of love and for the sake of the experience, so I'm not worried if I mess it up, although I do have professional experience with restoration/conservation of vintage and ancient jewelry and swords (not exactly related, are they? ), so I am familiar with the delicate touch required, and the rule that less is more. What I'm wondering and hope you folks can help with is: First of all, are those spots issues that should be addressed, or would they normally be left alone unless a very pedantic customer insisted on them being restored? I have heard that bare wood is a bad thing and should be touched-up, but one shouldn't be neurotic to the point of touching up every little ding, but those spots are quite big in my opinion. What would be the most common way of restoring a chipped spot like that? Just varnish it over, or make a patch and glue it in place and the whole nine yards from there? Is there some relatively easy way to test varnish, to figure out if it's oil or spirits (shouldn't be anything else in this case I think)? Was there any relatively standard varnish preferred in the Schönbach area around 1900 (assuming it's from there) or are they all over the place? If there's no way to know what varnish it is, what would be the safest bet to go with for repairs? Oil? Spirits? Shellac? Something else? Are they relatively compatible or are they like paints where you don't put certain types over others? Thank you for your input!
  16. Michael_Molnar

    2017 Violin Makers Workshop

    Who is planning on attending this workshop in Fredricksburg, VA? Joe Thrift is the instructor. Details are here.
  17. Hello MN - I am hoping you can help me with something. On the violin I have played for the past 15 years, there is a patch of worn varnish under the chinrest. This is located to the left of the end button and to the side of the chinrest brackets. It looks like a patch of varnish with a thick crackle with the veins of the crackle looking gray. I figured it was just wear from sweat and neck chub, haha. That was a student level violin with a thick, chippy, and red varnish to it. I recently got a new to me violin and after only playing it a few times already noticed wear in the same spot. Only on this instrument it appears as a patch of fuzzy/textured varnish that feels tacky to the touch. The leftmost chinrest bracket also is no longer shiny but matte black. It's a vintage instrument. I tried to capture it in photos but had trouble. I am still in the stages of really babying my new violin baby, and I personally feel that authentic wear on instruments is really interesting and adds to their story. BUT with that being said I do not want to damage the integrity of my violin, depreciate it's value, ruin that patch of varnish and wood any further, or create a costly repair. I'm probably overacting but I live by the "dose of prevention" motto. Is this something I should be super concerned about? Is there a way for me to clean that patch of varnish to smooth it out and harden it up again? Is there something in my perfume, makeup, lotions that could be causing this reaction with the varnish??? I'd like to know so I can be aware of that product and wash it off if need be Maybe it's just something with my skin... I've noticed that plated jewelry seems to change color quickly for me and I have really oily skin in general. I don't want to cover the chinrest and back with a cloth because it makes rhe violin feel too precarious. Any products I should look into to protect that part of the instrument? Thanks in advance for your help!
  18. Aaron Goll

    Touch up too glossy

    I am currently repairing an old German violin. I've just finished a bit of touch up work and to my disappointment the new varnish is much more glossy than the original varnish. I used spirit varnish for the touch up work. Despite intially rubbing away the gloss with 0000 steel wool, it returns after a few moments of being left alone. Ive seen a few places recommend silica gel. If that is a solution how much should be mixed with the varnish? Thanks!
  19. Aaron Goll

    Micro Scratches in Varnish

    Typically I am asked by customers to smooth anyway textured areas in varnish. I do this by wet sanding with 1500 micro mesh, then moving to 2400 mirco mesh, before finishing with 0000 steel wool. The result is effective as the textured area is now smooth. My concern however is that the micro mesh and steel wool leave small micro scratches in the varnish. They are very small and thin grey lines. Is there a way to avoid these scratches in the future? Thanks!
  20. mapfluke

    Varnish Mistake?

    So, on my functional violin, there are these two spots where there are parts of the varnish that are noticeably darker than the surrounding varnish and it does not look intentional. As you can tell from the pictures, the scroll is not bad but the one on the bottom of the violin is the most noticeable. Any ideas as to how this happens and if there's any way to make it less noticeable? Thanks
  21. mikeconroy

    making oil varnish

    my wife and i are getting pretty good at using "store bought" oil varnish on our violins. We are now thinking of making our own varnish. Any recommendations on good books with info and recipes for making oil varnish? Any scoop is appreciated. Thanks Mike Conroy Conroy Violin..
  22. Julian Cossmann Cooke

    Varnish accumulation and antiquing

    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?
  23. 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.
  24. Nice recent article at Strings Magazine by Andrew Dipper:
  25. BigFryMan

    Joe Robson's ground

    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!