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Found 75 results

  1. Hallo everybody So i've been working on making my own oil varnish and pigments for a while now, and it seems that for every variable that i try at least 2 more open up. While looking for answers to different questions i came across several threads here that had a lot of useful information, but i couldn't find a lot about the actual method of grinding self made pigments into oil varnish, or how to layer them. Is somebody here familiar with these techniques and feeling like talking about them? I could really use some tips / tricks / things to avoid / things to look for from experienced people
  2. Hello all! Starting to get into lake pigments! So, to jump right in: when you’re making a lake pigment, what part of the process does pH have an impact on color? I’ve heard of people using acidic, neutral, and alkaline extractions for the dyestuff, but I’m curious as to how/if the ph of the extraction plays into the final pigment color. My thoughts are that it is really the pH of the final suspension that makes the biggest impact, but I just don’t know. Could you take dry, finished pigment and expose it to a medium of different pH to change the color? Will it keep this color upon drying off? The long cook varnish I make has a very strong fire orange color just as it is, that darkens to shades of red in thicker layers, but I’ve been wanting to tone down the orange stage a bit and show a hint of bluish reds. I’m thinking about going with cochineal because if it’s natural tendency in that direction, but I’d love to be able to know how to adjust the color of the end product to the right side of the spectrum. Slightly more purples would probably get me exactly what I want. I’ve heard multiple people say making a cochineal lake is tricky. What is the tricky part about it? What is critical to pay attention to? I’ll also make up some test samples with Joe Robson’s alizarin varnishes mixed with mine. I can’t foresee any problems, as the oil/resin ratios are the same, but if anyone thinks this is a bad idea let me know. Any recommendations for other things to try would be great, as well. Thanks!
  3. I have a question on how to deal with a viola with too much varnish on the neck. The neck is too sticky for proper shifting. With my violins, the neck feels as though I am touching wood, but on the viola the varnish is shiny and feels like touching plastic. I'm not sure if the viola has spirit varnish or oil - I suspect it is spirit varnish. It is not an expensive instrument - Chinese made in 2001 at about 1000 EUR at the time. Can I simply wipe the excess varnish off using alcohol? Any advice?
  4. Hi all, I have an old violin (1800s), probably Hungarian, of unknown maker (no label). Sometimes, after a long playing session or when the weather is hot, I sweat, which comes into contact with the rib of the violin, right under the chinrest. The varnish in this area I can tell has suffered over time, as it is muddled and pitted. The problem is when I sweat the varnish turns a cloudy white. The first time this happened it mostly went away by itself after a hour or so. The second time it happened it persisted for days, till I took a hairdryer to it (heating the old varnish cleared the clouding). Since then I have been using a cotton cloth between my neck and the violin, to absorb the moisture while playing. Unfortunately this removes the grip I have between chin and chinrest, making it harder for me to play. Are there any suggestions on what I could do to protect this section of the varnish? Or if I need a luthier, what should I expect of him to do? thanks
  5. I am continuing my varnish experiments and attached is a picture of my latest attempt using rosin and cooking it for an extended amount of time (many thanks to all the people who shared their experience here on the forum). My previous experience was with amber varnish only and I am quite happy with the color I got now with rosin. I will continue to work on color/cooking time next spring - it is getting a bit cold for me out there. In this sample varnish was applied to UV exposed maple that was treated with sodium nitrite and exposed again to UV overnight. No ground was used in this sample. I am now at the point where I would like to get to a nice final finish (while continuing to test different grounds). I have looked through my books and some links on the forum and it seems that people use different techniques. I have some micromesh (1500 – 12000 I believe) that I plan to use to level the varnish between coats, but I am not sure how best to approach the final steps. Shellac? Wax? Mineral spirit? Anybody willing to share their thoughts/recipe and some tips? Thanks
  6. Hello! I am in the stages of repairing a violin for the first time, purchased cheaply at an auction simply for the joy of learning. The violin is about 100 years old and was caked with dirt, I have lifted off the worst with cotton sticks and saliva. I will attach a photo of the current state of varnish, pictures taken with flash to better show the contrasts. The varnish is mostly matte, and chipped off or scuffed in many places, and dirty in others. I have come to understand that spirit varnish is mainly used in repairs, but I have not been able to tell yet if the original is oil- or spirit based. My question is: is it best to apply new varnish without any further big preparations of the current state? Or is it better to lightly sand down the worst scuffs to a more even structure and cleanliness before applying new varnish? Some scuffs are basically down to the wood, how would a base coat react to the varnish around it? My first plan is to leave as much as possible intact and only lightly sand the surfaces before applying varnish, but I am unsure how well it would attach on top of "dirt". The goal of this violin is not to make it look brand new, I would very much like to have it show its history but to be protected. Please give me your thoughts on the steps how you would restore the varnish
  7. I have long suspected (as well has other makers) that the cooked rosin is fugitive. Below is a photo of two samples of cooked rosin varnish. The control sample is labeled "AIR" because it was left in the air outside my UV drying cabinet. The test sample is labeled "UV" because it was placed for 12 hours in the UV cabinet. It is obvious that the varnish is fugitive. The test sample received less UV intensity than my violin gets because the sample was on the door ledge out of direct illumination from the UV lamps. I believe that perhaps the only way to use cooked rosin is to reduce UV drying and resort to siccatives as @Roger Hargrave did. Of course, I wonder why mess with something so unstable and difficult to control. I'll have more to say on this topic. Stay Tuned.
  8. Hi, I have applied a varnish according to Michelman, and it remains rather sticky on the surface, even though I use siccative. It takes long time to become non-sticky, and after it has hardened, it remains sticky beneath, that is, using sandpaper high grit to polish does not "glide" on the surface as dry, but remains stuck in friction. I am afraid this may worsen the acoustics, and am irradiating the violin heavily with strong UV lamp. Any ideas what I should do? Thanks
  9. I had posted earlier that I was going to try and make amber varnish using the amber colophony from Kremer. Their German homepage describes this as old material from a Russian amber-varnish manufacturer. Some here on the forum were skeptical about the nature of this resin and I wanted to follow-up and share my experience. To make a long story short: It didn’t work the way I had hoped. I tried to dissolve the colophony directly in boiled linseed oil. Nevertheless, I found that even temperatures around 250 deg C were not sufficient. Only a small amount appeared to dissolve in the oil (based on the color and smell of the resulting oil) but the vast majority formed a gooey black mass that was caught in the strainer. I am attaching some pictures to illustrate. Since at least for me this material didn’t work the way I had hoped I am starting with raw amber instead and will try to fuse/melt it myself.
  10. Hi everyone, I’m an amateur violinist and maker. I am currently trying to pick both playing and making up where I left it almost 12 years ago. Getting all the tools out again and starting on a new instrument is a lot of fun but still as difficult as it was back then. However, having YouTube and forums like this one is sure a great help for an amateur. Many thanks to all that post here. While I continue to work on the instrument, I would like to start the first varnish experiments. Varnishing was a major problem on my first two instruments, and I would like to be better prepared this time. I just finished building a new UV cabinet (pictures attached) equipped with eight 40W GE F40BL (UVA 350-365 nanometer) tubes. I included a programmable switch for the lights, an air filter and a thermostat-controlled fan (AC Infinity AIRPLATE T7). I hope this setup will work. I built the cabinet large enough for a cello (my wife plays cello). Here are a few things I plan to try out first. I would greatly appreciate additional recommendations & suggestions: - How many days are needed for a maximum tanning effect? - Do 1,3 or 5 coats of gelatin have an effect on tanning? - Testing 0,1,3,5 coats of gelatin with different ground coats (thick rosin oil, self-made varnish) - Trying fine pumice mixed with rosin oil or varnish as ground coat over gelatin I will try to make my own amber varnish. Last time I did this I fused the amber myself, but this time bought the amber colophony from Kremer. Does anyone have experience with this product? I am planning to start with a 1:1 ratio of amber colophony in boiled linseed or walnut oil. Any recommendations for one vs the other? Many thanks in advance!
  11. This cello has been with my go-to luthier that handles projects beyond my skills, which is more often than I care to admit. He has tried several ways to dissolve the black in the crack, but with no luck. What are some options aside from picking it out?
  12. I live in a country where we don't have any good luthier. Moreover, it's a hard deal to find a good violin, there's no music shop with normal violin (only cheap fake ones).. So I don't have any option except doing it myself. I will do it this way or another, but dunno the steps. Please don't judge me badly hahahah))) 1. As you see there are minor cracks. What material should I use to cover those cracks? Is it necessary to cover them? (pics of inside & outside below) https://imageshack.us/i/po9jreixj https://imageshack.us/i/plY0MBn1j https://imageshack.us/i/plH2Zi2Gj 2. Most of the cracks are on the ribs, but ribs are covered with additional ribs, so should I remove them, or it's okay to leave them this way? (pics of inside & outside below) https://imageshack.us/i/plSIOz4Bj https://imageshack.us/i/po33wiqAj 3. One more crack is on the neck. I think no need to do anything with it, still I took photo just in case.. (pics of inside & outside below) https://imageshack.us/i/pmXujnWtj I'm about to receive hide glue soon for it, so far, that's the only material I have for now. Now, one more important thing. When I fix them and put the spruce back I need to varnish it. I saw in few videos I found that the luthiers put coating, then they varnish the violins. Or I might be mistaken. Just need to know what materials to buy to varnish violin, how many layers of coating, how many layers of varnishing. Actually I'm not aiming to make the violin shiny, would like to make something like this (link in the comment). I hope you'll share your experience, please....
  13. The cello is a nice Caressa and Francais. The player is extremely meticulous about the varnish surface. When the varnish becomes dull at the shoulder and on the upper back he is a sort of freaking out. 2 weeks ago I tried to fix the problem with brushing on the affected area a thin layer of clear varnish and let it dry for 1 week to make sure that it hardens out sufficiently. the player is not too enthusiastic about a protecting plastic sheet on that area. i am not too enthusiastic about some commercial durable varnish (for boats), because I don't know how reversible it is. I am almost thinking of a breast rest (similar to a violin shoulder rest) to solve the problem. Anyone here on MN had the same problem?
  14. 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.
  15. Hello varnish specialists! A violinist wants to order one of my cases, and wishes that the case be lined in a polyester velour of his liking. He has a Strad and a Vuillaume, and personally I'm worried about the reaction that the material may have with the varnish in hot weather. Can anyone provide me with personal experiences? Horror stories? Or is polyester OK? Many thanks in advance!
  16. I ran out of my top coat spirit varnish. My formulas are in a notebook that must be in storage. Hazards of a tiny workshop. I know it had benzoin, mastic, lac blah blah, just don't remember. Got a good formula that will bond well to oil and go on nicely? Thanks much.
  17. 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?
  18. So, ....is it bad if your brand new varnish develops a 100-years-old-like crackle effect within a month of being applied?
  19. 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?
  20. 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
  21. 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?
  22. 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?
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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?