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Melting Rosin


Andrew Song

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I tried this several years ago, following the suggestions in Harry Wake's book. Basically, you melt the rosin over very low heat, being careful of the fact that it is flammable. You then make up simple cardboard or paper molds, heat them a bit and pour in the rosin. The result is surprisingly good. Some will tell you that old and hardened rosin is irrecoverable, but I found the opposite with the little batch I made. I got about three gum-eraser sized blocks out of it, and it worked well.

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One method to make a mould for the rosin is to find a small tumbler and a perhaps 6x6" square of heavy aluminum foil. Bend the foil to the shape of the bottom of the glass. This peals off the dried rosin easily. I have never used paper.

One advantage is that you will likely have a larger cake of rosin which makes it quicker to rosin your bow. Keep the thickness of the casting at least the radius of the mould.

Rosin is quite cheap. You can get 5 lb for a few dollars. I am sure Kremer has it. All of this ridiculous pricing of rosins in violin catalogues is 90% packaging and merchandising. You can cook the rosin for various lengths of time. (It smokes a lot so do it outside. Inside if you are not married.) This changes the color to darker and you can experiment with the final results. Also various volatiles are driven off and possibly there will be some destructive distillation.

I have never had a fire, but use an exhaust fan indoors (and I have an open-flame gas range.)

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This is one of those "why bother" types of projects. For five bucks you can get a block of rosin that will last a year or so. If you want to experiment, walmart has some stainless steel sauce cups that are about the size of a blob of Hindersine rosin. They would make a good mold and they work great for mixing hide glue. Michael is right about hot rosin. It is dangerous stuff. Sticks instantly to skin and just sits there and burns it's way in. I know first hand.

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If I were you, I would not do it for the reason as other

posts said before me. The cleaning jobs and the possible accidents etc. make it not worth the trouble. I had one experience like this: I heated them enough like wax and

knead it together.(not overcooked it into liquid form). If you are not careful it could burn your hand.

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I test rosin by how it will take to virgin hair. My own cooked rosin works better than anything else I have tried. I think it is because there is less of the volatile essential oils. But I don't really know. I have given samples to various players and they all like it. I do not know what additives there could be. Perhaps metal salts of rosin soap. But I have no reason to suspect this.

Consider "gold" and "silver" rosins. It is certainly possible to make metal salts of rosin. ( not "possible", very simple) Why would you think a gold compound superior to a silver or calcium one ?? That is medeival thinkning.

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jmasters, you said "It is certainly possible to make metal salts of rosin. ( not "possible", very simple) Why would you think a gold compound superior to a silver or calcium one ?? That is medeival thinkning."

I don't know how the discussion got to metal additives, nor do I know what other differences there may be between rosins labeled "gold," "silver," "copper," "pyrite," etc., but I know from experience that in the Liebenzeller brand there are definite tonal and other differences in rosins with both these claimed additives and the different hardness grades. For cellists, there other differences than how it takes to virgin hair. I have found that about an hour into a playing session there is another phenomenon that seems to begin that tends to make some notes "squawk" a bit under vigorous playing. So I go for rosins that avoid this and so far I have only found that Tartini Symphony grade and Liebenzeller Pyrite-IV and Gold-IV work "right" for me and the kind of playing I do (I have counted 24 different rosins in the collection I built learning this). (Perhaps some of the other rosins are OK too, such as Dominant and Melos (that seem to have some of the Tartini properties) but I have not tried them fully yet - and may not since I feel no further need to experiment and am unlikely to live the many decades (centuries) longer that it would take to use I the rosins I have.)

I previously believed that "rosin is rosin" as my favorite dealer has said (after I discovered it is not really true). But to hear him play - you know that subtle is not something he would notice.

Andy

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"

I don't know how the discussion got to metal additives, nor do I know what other differences there may be between rosins labeled "gold," "silver," "copper," "pyrite," etc., but I know from experience that in the Liebenzeller brand there are definite tonal and other differences in rosins with both these claimed additives and the different hardness grades. "

I think this alters the melting point. One could add real gold, as a rosinate. I doubt anyone does this. (Actually, there is no true melting point, there is a range over which it softens and likly this is variable.) It is like glass.

I do know that one can change rosin a great deal by the amount of cooking. I also know that various things will disolve in melted rosin, including metal rosinates. so will various of the common resins used violin varnish making. Either of these would raise the melting point. The melting point plays a central in the action at the hair and string. Its friction cycles over a wide range because of temperature changes in the stick-slip cycle. Likely this will not interest you because you simply want the utility of the right rosin.

Rosin itself is compatable with a lot of things, it is quite a bit more acidic than other resins.

As I said, what I prepare works great on new hair. I just start the hair so that others can use their own. I experimented with this because clients did not like the crushed and powdered rosin used by most shops. (or the spray on stuff.

I am glad you found something you like. I agree with you about your craftsman because all rosin is not the same. As it comes from the tree, it can vary a lot too. Crude rosin can have a lot of natural additives, terpenes of all kinds etc.

I did not post in order advise the top 5% of violinist or cellists .......

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