ispirati

Applying Vernice Bianca

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For those of you who use VB, do you apply VB on both internal and external of the violin? or just the external of the violin?

Has any body experimented to both? And what are the differences in results in terms of tonal difference and stability of the violin for applying VB to both internal and external of the violin?

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I apply it with a cotton rag, internally and externally, but sparely. Since I've allways used it since my first violin, I don't know how they would sound without it.

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May I ask what this VB for? Making it looked older ?

Perserve ?, or other purposes?

One of my violin seemed had some sort of stain on inside

and a faint of fragrant. Is it possible VB?

Thank you for clarifying it.

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VB stands for vernice bianca and is basically a mixture of egg white, gum arabic, and honey. From my understanding, there are some historical references of it's usage (someone help me here with the details). I have made and used it on one white violin - both inside and out. I thought that it made an excellent sealer and sanded very well. I used less than the amount of gum arabic and honey called for (do a search in archives to get different recipes). Though some claim to it's acoustic properties, I cannot because I have no reference for comparison. I also applied it with a rag.

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Applied on the outside as a ground I find it very effective tonally, as a sealer, and aesthetically. I cannot at at this stage report any adverse effects or results.

Applied on the inside, without any subsequent varnish covering, I have noticed on violins of mine which I had to open for repairs later on, that the hygroscopic properties of the sugar, honey, or the gum arabic (I don't know which) can actually turn the wood surface soggy and sticky. This I noticed in the conditions of the early Western Cape winter, when temperatures are moderate to high (nights +- 15 Celsius, days +-25 Celsius) with high rainfall and very high humidity. Under these circumstances, some early mornings afer heavy rain there would be lots of water condensation on cello fingerboards in my workshop.

So far I find vernice bianca very useful and practical as an exterior ground, but if I coat the inside I use a solution of gum arabic and alum which seems a lot less hygroscopic than vernice bianca.

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I plan to use egg white only. I tested on scrap wood. Egg white alone serves the purpose.

I don't think sugar and honey should be there. It is only there to help stablize the foam during the beating process. I don't think ancient Cremonese had KitchenAid to help them to beat the egg white to a "firm foam". It is much easier to get to a firm foam with the sugar or honey. Without the sugar, I found that even with an electric beater it is still take a long time to create a firm foam. I got this "tip" from watching some baking show on FoodTV. I don't think the sugar or honey is really there for any "tonal" reasons. And as Jacob said, it causes the VB to go sticky when it is humid.

Gum Arabic is an agnet to provide better adhesive property for VB. But if you use the egg white fresh, the adhesive is good enough without gum Arabic.

So... I use VB with just the egg white. I noticed that VB builds some tension to the wood and harden the wood. The tap tone property certainly changed before and after the VB. The reason why I asked this question is to find out "how much tension is good?" and "how much tension is too much?" . Does apply VB to both side put too much tension to the wood and prevent the plate from vibrating properly?

Since I am using pure egg white, my VB maybe more concentrated than others that are diluted with some water that contains sugar, honey, and gum arabic. This could also be a factor.

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According to the Sacconi recipe, the egg white is prepared alone ("leave the foam to rest for 14 hours and use the decanted material...") without honey and sugar that are added in the final.

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I found that a wire "egg beater" hand tool, used in a round bottomed bowl, will whip the egg whites to a foam very quickly. If you put the whipped foam in the refrigerator for a few minutes; the albumen will separate faster. I use a brush to apply, and put on light coats. Don't soak the glue joints or put too much on any one place or the wood could warp. 2 or 3 light coats are better than 1 heavy one.

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Reading this thread reminded me of an interesting book called "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen" that devotes about 10 pages to egg foams, including meringues.

Cooks use sugar to stabilize the foam in the oven and of course for flavor.

VB starts as an egg foam, like a meringue, that is then allowed to set and drain some of the water and proteins. As I understand it in terms of VB, adding sugar will affect which proteins will drain off first so 'unsweet' VB should have a slightly different character than sweetened.

Which may make no difference at all in a violin, but I sure find this intersection of cooking and luthiery interesting.

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You are right. Take the sugar, for instance, people in general thinks that it is just a sweetner, but it's also a conservant, a thickner, it gives bright etc. Detail is everything in cooking as well as in liuteria, and I love both!

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So albumen in vb as a protein acts as a sealer and a hardening agent.The honey and sugar for hygrosocping and gum arabic as an ahdesive for the varnish. Which has been used for ages as adhasive.

I had bad memories with vb, used same recipe used here but with brown sugar, it nicely applied to wood and harden it, but it was so hygroscopic, it didnt accept my spirit varnish and rejected it. I had to remove the varnish 3 times. After that I though there may be a problem with my spirit formula, and decided to apply oil varnish. Darn thing evet didn't accepted oil varnish too. With so much effort, sanding, using turpentine etc I had succesfully finished varnishing that instrument but I hated vb for it. And I didnt used too much honey or sugar.

To me  it seems that sugar and honey are overly hygroscopic. Do we really need that much? And gum arabic seems to be very strong as an adhesive, I'm not sure one needs that strong adhesive when using oil varnishe wich is already sticky in nature compared to spirit varnish.

I wonder is anybody tried myrrh in place of gum arabic? Since myrrh is a gum resin, which means it has both properties of gums and resin, and partially soluble in water as a gum just like gum arabic but less stronger.

 

So I'm thinking how about making a modern vb using only myrrh and egg white albumen, without the use of honey and sugar. I think propolis solved in alcohol would be a nice sealer for the interior since it has some amount of wax in it, acting as a barrier to moisture. And for the outside of the top, not the whole instrument, this myrrh and egg white mixture could be a much easygoing ground/sealer combination, still hardening the wood, and acting as an adhesive for the varnish coat. I dont think one needs a hygroscopic surface outside the instrument since the actual varnish will do that job already. 

What do you guys think about my thougths?

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I've used VB several times, and read somewhere that the sugar/honey isn't really needed, so I only use the egg white and gum arabic. . I've only used it on the outside. I have also experimented a little with putting a little transparent iron oxide in the VB to give a yellow ground color.

" So I'm thinking how about making a modern vb using only myrrh and egg white albumen "

I'm not sure if you'll be able to get much of the myrrh dissolved in water/egg white. Gum arabic is totally soluble.

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5 hours ago, FiddleDoug said:

I've used VB several times, and read somewhere that the sugar/honey isn't really needed, so I only use the egg white and gum arabic. . I've only used it on the outside. I have also experimented a little with putting a little transparent iron oxide in the VB to give a yellow ground color.

" So I'm thinking how about making a modern vb using only myrrh and egg white albumen "

I'm not sure if you'll be able to get much of the myrrh dissolved in water/egg white. Gum arabic is totally soluble.

I've been using the myrrh for some time, as I said before its a gum resin which means its a gum but also a resin complex. Thus solvent is important. Since gums wont dissolve in alcohol but in water, if you dissolve it in water you get the gum part, in alcohol you get the resin part. In water you almost dissolve half of the myrrh you've put into it. Which is enough for me. Gives a nice light golden stain, and improves flames too.

Since gum arabic is a pure gum its very natural for it to completely dissolve in water just like any pure gums. What I was talking about; is gum arabic seems like a too strong medium with very strong adhering ability, which I think it may not be needed. Myrrh alsa has this adhering properties but in a much low degree.

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"What I was talking about; is gum arabic seems like a too strong medium with very strong adhering ability, which I think it may not be needed. Myrrh alsa has this adhering properties but in a much low degree."

I'll take all the adhering properties that I can get!

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Has anyone had problems with these water soluble sealers causing "dirty" looking areas as the varnish wears off? Any experience with using small amounts of alum to decrease solubility of the dry film?

Also am wondering what people mean by "adhering ability" I've not experimented with varnish that much because I can't afford to use stuff I am not confidant in but I have used several spirit and oil varnishes over the years and have never really had any problems with "adhering". The differences that I see in how the varnish wears such as chipping, crushing or rubbing away I have always attributed to the make up of the varnish itself and not the sealer underneath.

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2 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Has anyone had problems with these water soluble sealers causing "dirty" looking areas as the varnish wears off? Any experience with using small amounts of alum to decrease solubility of the dry film?

Also am wondering what people mean by "adhering ability" I've not experimented with varnish that much because I can't afford to use stuff I am not confidant in but I have used several spirit and oil varnishes over the years and have never really had any problems with "adhering". The differences that I see in how the varnish wears such as chipping, crushing or rubbing away I have always attributed to the make up of the varnish itself and not the sealer underneath.

I understand "adhering ability", or at least the lack of adherence.  I used a gelatin seal on my #1 top and likely applied too much.  Not only did I have application problems with the top, but I continue to loose bits of varnish from the top only.  The violin get used gently.  No problems on the rest of the violin.

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I think it's a good appetizer to eat. I tried the vernice bianca  and found it really bad, never dry and sticky, I would never use it again. Now I use a zinc-rosinate oil  varnish that I find extraordinary . 

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13 minutes ago, Vernici Liuteria said:

I think it's a good appetizer to eat. I tried the vernice bianca  and found it really bad, never dry and sticky, I would never use it again. Now I use a zinc-rosinate oil  varnish that I find extraordinary . 

:D...haven't tried the zinc rosinate but your other varnishes are very tasty...:lol:

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At first I wondered if this wasn't the name of a rock star's girlfriend, like Bianca Jagger.  I remember trying this and other under sealants decades ago (actually that was more than 40 years)  but then ceased.  I just size the top with a hide glue and water mixture to keep the varnish colors from sinking into the top causing a grain reversal appearance.

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19 hours ago, lawrence furse said:

At first I wondered if this wasn't the name of a rock star's girlfriend, like Bianca Jagger.  I remember trying this and other under sealants decades ago (actually that was more than 40 years)  but then ceased.  I just size the top with a hide glue and water mixture to keep the varnish colors from sinking into the top causing a grain reversal appearance.

 

19 hours ago, lawrence furse said:

At first I wondered if this wasn't the name of a rock star's girlfriend, like Bianca Jagger.  I remember trying this and other under sealants decades ago (actually that was more than 40 years)  but then ceased.  I just size the top with a hide glue and water mixture to keep the varnish colors from sinking into the top causing a grain reversal appearance.

Yes exactly. As far as I am concerned the protein layer is more of a sizing to prevent uneven penetration of subsequent layers. The "ground" is an actual hard varnish layer which the color goes over and which protects the wood once  the color wears through. I have seen hard played instruments however which get a sort of dirty gummy transition when the ground does wear through and have wondered what is under there that is breaking down in that way. I would certainly think that sugar would turn into a sticky mess if acted on by sweat and heat from the hand.

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On 11/9/2017 at 5:42 AM, nathan slobodkin said:

 

Yes exactly. As far as I am concerned the protein layer is more of a sizing to prevent uneven penetration of subsequent layers. The "ground" is an actual hard varnish layer which the color goes over and which protects the wood once  the color wears through. I have seen hard played instruments however which get a sort of dirty gummy transition when the ground does wear through and have wondered what is under there that is breaking down in that way. I would certainly think that sugar would turn into a sticky mess if acted on by sweat and heat from the hand.

I agree, and when I size the top I am careful to make sure that it only sizes it and doesn't leave a layer of glue on the top, just sinks in to stop the top from soaking up too much varnish.  There are other methods, like a very thin clear shellac, and also egg white works, but why waste an egg when there's always some hide glue about.    I prefer the water based sizing because it swells the winter grain of the top, leading to a better appearance under varnish.

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