Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Finishing a Violin in "the white" w/Tung Oil


Syne7
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've been considering trying to finish a violin in the white. Specifically using Tung-Oil. I've never done this before, but thought it might be a fun project. I've used Tung Oil on flutes and Martail Arts weapons.

I know that pure Tung-Oil is leaves very thin coat which some minor research indicates can be good for tone.

Has anyone used Tung-Oil as part of a Violin Varnish? Any suggestions? Are there any web resources specifically for finishing Violins in the White? Like How do I get the cove top plate off etc...?

Any thoughts/help/prayers would be appreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 77
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I know of a maker who uses tung oil in his varnish, but that's quite different from an oil-only finish, which doesn't sound like a good idea. Why not just use bleached shellac? Or if it must be an 'oil' then perhaps the gunstock finish Tru-Oil, just be careful how the first layer(s) go on.

As for taking the top off, you may find some hints by searching here, and there is some information in the archives at MIMF. Also a fine article by Michael Darnton in a back issue of American Lutherie, collected in the Big Red Books by now. See www.luth.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

syne7, tung oil in my experience tends to penetrate the wood too deeply, which can affect the tone in some ways. one should also note, you will get a shinier finish upon each additional layer, the more the glossier. maybe you can also try behlens violin varnish, which is often used for touchups, but can be used for new violins too. if you have the time and money, try experimenting with different finishes on scrap wood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know of a wood carver turned furniture maker that created a 1 piece redwood conference table that was 20 feet in diameter.

He finished the top by rubbing the top with a rag soaked in Tung oil with/in 1 hand and a heat gun in the other hand to dry it as fast as he could. It took a month to finish the top. (P.S. he bought a 55 gallon drum of Tung Oil )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jason,

I've tried something with boiled linseed oil that might interest you. I bought a fine German made violin in the white and coated it with boiled linseed, then let it dry for several months, part of the time in the sun. The oil, according to chemist named Michelman (who compiled a list of varnish recipes as well), does two things: 1) it displaces any moisture that might still be in the wood, and 2) it oxidizes and becomes brittle, not gummy, and consolidates the wood fibers, causing them to communicate with one another more economically. The resulting tone was marvelous: it sounds like a very old, very responsive violin. I didn't try it before the treatment - that's not good science, on my part - but I'm about to try this again with another white violin, and this time I'll be more methodical. Carmine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The biggest practical problem I can see in oiling a white violin is that, because the oil will penetrate into the wood, it will be next to impossible to do any future repairs to the wood using water-based hide glue. As long as the wood remains "oily", it will simply repel the glue. In the display case next to my desk, I have a violin top that has several cracks in it. The cracks is irreparable because somebody decided to oil the inside or the top thoroughly with linseed oil. The only function the top has now is to serve as an object lesson and a curiosity.

--Dick--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Raw tung oil, the tung oil you usually find in hardware stores, and polymerized tung oil all have very different qualities. If you're going to give this a try (I'd have to give it a lot of thought before I'd try it) I'd suggest a can of the "high gloss" stuff from Sutherland Welles. If you want something other than the gloss, use the gloss (it's a better product) anyhow and then find a way to dull it afterwards.

Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Joe,

I should have made it clear that I let it dry for that long only because I had the time. Yes, the linseed oil will dry much sooner than that. And thanks, Dick, for the warning about the oil perhaps repelling hide glue. I'll have to go back to Michelman and see if he says anything about that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I have just finished a violin using Tung oil. I used, after some research, Bees wax as the ground to prevent too deep a penetration of the oil into wood. I found the tung oil also accepted the dyes I used to color the violins. I tried to get a Stradavari " Messiah" look to this violin. It does take longer to harden but so does oil varnish. The finish is much thinner and the violin has an antique apearance and the tone is much more complex than the violins I finished using traditional varnish. I finished it off using bee wax as the final finish buffed out to a low luster. The grain of wood is nicely shown off and wood has a nice irridescent look. I was quite pleased and will try it again

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently discovered a patented process that involves treating the violin plates with tung oil. It's a process performed under high heat and pressure. If you're interested in the process you can go to

"http://www.uspto.gov"

and do a search on patent number, 5,018,422

Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Michael and Oded,

I actually really appreciate the discouragement, because I find myself constantly at the verge of falling prey to this idea. (Not linseed oil, but maybe the Tung oil thing, since it appears that it's not exactly just an oil.)

So, thank you very much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...

I know this is an old thread, but any pics of tung oil'd violins? I'm having trouble with my varnish samples, they look like hell, but I have alot of experience with polimerized tung oil (basically tru-oil) on guitars and such. I don't see why I wouldn't be able to tint the tung oil with any kind of oil based stain to get the look I want, I'll try some samples.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Michael. With the NRI "system" I sometimes use, we use rosin oil as a ground coat. It does take quite a while to dry but it does eventually dry after about 4 or 5 days. After this we apply various varnish coats.

The question is, would you think one could apply a few more coats of the rosin oil and then leave it be?

I'm just thinking it may have quite the nice satin/matt finish I have been searching for (achieved in furniture making using soap).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:


Originally posted by:
Dean_Lapinel

In the thread listing it states a comment was made by:

11/01/2005 12:17 AM

by AMORI

Where is it?? There is no page 2.

It must be the one above yours. I've seen that before where it says someone posted but you can't find the post, must be a glitch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I see it. You're right...some kind of glitch.

Matt-

I'm going to experiment with my next violin and finish with 1:1:1 Terp/tung/varnish. Seal first then wipe on mix 15 min then rub off. repeat every day for five to six days. I use this finish on furinture and I like the hardness without brittleness. Easy repairs and touchup. Minimal penetration into the wood.

The color ages gracefully.

I'll report any subjective quality differences here with the classic approach I usually use.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...