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Seth_Leigh

let's make some madder lake

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May as well list all the weird coloring methods- making a hot soap solution, then adding just ferrous sulfate (green vitriol)  you will get a beautiful blood red oil soluble dye. Wash and dry. This is a mineral based dye, not organic, so it is very permanent. This process was known in earlier times.fred

 

Hey FredN I'd like to hear more.   How about going into more detail on your rosin varnish, and also I would like to hear more about the ferrous sulfate dye since I have some that I've been wondering what to do with it.  Procedures, quantities etc. ?

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so I tried that idea,  mixed some ivory soap in hot water and added some ferrous sulfate.It had a strong odor of iron and it made a poop colored black sludge so thick that my stir stick broke trying to stir it.  Looked kind of like road tar. Turpentine cleaned it out, and diluted showed the orange color of iron rust,  iron oxide.    Ivory soap is not made with lye by the way but it does have other alkalines in it. 

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Hi Mike, if everything went well you should have wound up with a fairly dark blood red color in turp.  You want to be certain you have soap left  at the end of adding the ferrous. The procedure is pretty similar to adding alum to madder/soap, except you get a much harder curd with iron. Take a heaping tsp of grated ivory  into  2-3 oz v hot water  (really doesn't matter how much water, maybe more is better), add about a level tsp of ferrous sulfate to  a few oz of warm water. After the soap is dissolved, stir vigorously(not in a circle) while streaming in the iron solution.  The stirring is important to try and get small curds for they are so hard they will trap water. Wash as described in my last post. The curds  when formed have an awful color from green to brown, but as they dry they turn dark orange red. The  resulting dye, compared to alum/madder dye, is much stronger. Glad that you are trying it, it is fun and not very complicated.

Re rosin, I can't praise it enough for the potential in simplicity and the nice results. You have to go through the process of learning how to make copal varnish to realize rosin based varnish is a breeze, and gives you the bonus of making its own color. To start, buy some 2.5 oz  baby food jars to store your varnish, some 4 oz baby food jars to make the varnish. They are cheap and made of tempered glass. You need a tube of Burnt Umber pigment that will generate the color when added to the rosin.Other thing needed are a hot plate, piece of aluminum flashing over the burner, cut a 3 inch diam can down to around an inch to hold around 35gms of fine sand. The flashing and sand are to help in slowing heat  entrance into the jar. I'll try and get a photo of my set up.  The vapors are minimal, so you can use a garage or outside. I set  up a vent in my basement which works fine. A 600oF thermometer is helpful at start, but after you've made a few runs, it isn't necessary. I do make small batches, enough to coat a few inst's. More fun experimenting. When you get the set up we'll get to the making, which I think is easier than getting the making stuff together.

Mike, I'm near 88, and hope someone tries this stuff, just so if later someone comes up with the same idea, someone can say don't waste your time, it's already been done and it doesn't work. So I'm glad you're trying and i'll help all I can. No question though, re the rosin varnish.   fred

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Hi Fred thanks for more details.  Now I know what I did wrong.  I dumped the iron sulfate directly into the soap water,  I'll try again with your instructions.    I've made one batch of rosin varnish just as an experiment, haven't used it on a violin or anything but would like to make some more, a better batch for the walking cane project I'm working on.  Wow 88,  you've got about 30 years on me,  don't know if I'll make it that far, depends on which side of the family I get the most genes from.  :)

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It sounded like you dumped the ferrous in dry. At least we know that is not something to do. I should explain what is going on re combining soap and ferrous, or cooking rosin and a metal which is called a fused drier in commerce.  Combining ferrous and soap is called a metallic soap, and  Industry uses both these procedures to make driers that are added to linseed oil to speed up the film formation.  The quantity added is only about less than one tenth of one percent. During Strad's time the only commercial drier was based on lead. Today the use of lead is prohibited and the metals used when you buy a can that says Boiled Linseed Oil is Cobalt and Manganese, so if you want to precisely mimic what they might have used to make instrument varnish during Strad's time, you  would have to make a lead based linseed oil, for different metals give different colors to any  organic dye, or even the metal used.

Glad you've already familiar with cooking rosin. I hope you set up the system I described in the last post so we can get similar results, and also not to waste material. I forgot to mention that I use dark rosin, which seems to be important in coloring the varnish. Mike Molinar mentioned Chemical store.com as source for small quantities. If you have the set up for making small batches and got the tube of umber you can make a practice run with ordinary rosin, the only difference is you won't get a dark color to the varnish. A good start is around 15 gms rosin, 15gms oil, around 1/4 inch pigment of pigment squeezed out of  the tube of umber. You can use iron nails if you don't have the pigment. Add them all together, slowly bring up to melt and keep heating until you have about a 1/4 inch foam on the surface (this is around 550-575oF). The bubbles coming up from the contents are about 1/8" diam or larger. Keep the surface foam, and as the bubbles coming up start to become smaller, around 1/16" diam, and the foam is dropping and clear spots start to appear, turn the heat off to cool for adding turp. If you have a thermometer, don't add turp until it is around 450oF or less. Add turp until a drop on glass will form a hole in the middle like a doughnut. The reduction of foam phase is equivalent to the what varnish makers  use to determine the end of cooking when they can pull a string of varnish between their fingers. This is sketchy but it might give you an idea of the process. The umber pigment, or iron is important, for that is the source of color and making the necessary drier. Give it a try.

Yeah, 88, the only good thing is you pass out after only a couple beers-  fred

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I don't really have proper setup for cooking rosin. What I've done so far is just heat it in a metal can on a charcoal grill.  I found that you can get a lot of color just by heating rosin to a high temp for a while.  Here's a picture.  Looks nice with the sun shining through it but ground up and mixed with turpentine it looses the ruby color. 

 

I just mixed up another batch of the ivory soap / ferrous sulfate following your instructions, it's in a coffee filter now but taking a long time to drain through.   I'll let it sit overnight and see how it looks in the morning.  

 

 

after sitting overnight there is still liquid in the filter.  milky looking liquid with no apparent precipatate, just staining of the paper. 

Maybe I used too much water?  or not enough iron sulfate?  

 

post-31367-0-24244000-1396743913_thumb.jpg

post-31367-0-33200300-1396805877_thumb.jpg

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Hi FredN

so I tried again seem to have done it right this time.  I think last time I mixed the iron sulfate in too much water,  this time less water and I got lots of precipitate.   it still has kind of a rusty orange color just looking at the pieces but when you mash a piece and smear it on white paper it does have kind of a dark blood red color.   I'm guessing this is fe2o3 basically the same as hematite?  The particles are not hard though, they have a soft crumbly waxy texture, is that what they are supposed to be like?

 

And how would you use this?  Dissolve it in turpentine and use that to thin the varnish?    Cooked resin is already pretty dark and strongly colored and then if I get some real boiled linseed oil,  not the crap in a can from the hardware store, that might make it even darker. 

I would like to get some madder root or maybe other dye stuffs also but will just try using this iron for now.  

Now that the weather is nice and spring-like I want to gather up some varnish making materials and start some cooking.   

post-31367-0-60069400-1397311067_thumb.jpg

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Looking back through my photos, it appears I lost all the colour when mixing with the alum. (Maybe someone sold me flour on ebay...)

 

This is my filtered madder water

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bsus5v68okeaat1/IMG_5557.jpg

 

Mixing the alum solution

https://www.dropbox.com/s/d795gedczxqvb02/IMG_5564.jpg

 

The precipitating pigment

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5557ctjbwd954kq/IMG_5565.JPG

 

which turned to a beige slurry, rather than a nice red one

https://www.dropbox.com/s/as5jlan360ge0q6/IMG_5567.jpg

So how is your madder lake making going? Did you try again?

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Hi Mike, that looks like the color of the dried curd. Just make sure there is no water trapped in the larger pieces. Drop a few pieces into warm turp and you should get a fairly dark red if enough  dye was added. What you have is a  ferrous oleate, iron attached to the fatty acid (oil) portion of the soap molecule, lye end replaced by the ferrous part of the ferrous sulfate molecule.  Mike, just so somebody knows how to make it, whether you use it or not, is great.

I feel very strongly though, that rosin, or any of the other resins with a reasonable melting point and enough acidity, are the basis for the varnish on those old inst's. I know, I was also convinced it was copal before I  tried making rosin varnish. As I mentioned in other posts the process for making rosin varnish is a piece of cake next to  copal varnish. And not only does it make a beautiful varnish, with the adding of a metal, it makes a color of the typical violin. 

Mike, hot plates are cheap, and if you want to get set up making a rosin varnish let me know and I'll  get you started.  fred

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if you want to get set up making a rosin varnish let me know and I'll  get you started.  fred

 

Please expand on your experiences with making rosin varnish.

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Hi FredN,

 

I really like your desire to spread and share your experiences and I'm also interested in your rosin varnish making.

I have always taken note of your previous posts which I found very interesting and I think that a dedicated thread like "FredN rosin varnish" would have much success.
I'm expecially interested in how to get a deep and transparent color directly from the rosin cooking.

I look forward to your posts.

 

Davide

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This current thread was started for making madder lake so rather than get it way off topic lets have a varnish making thread.

It would be great if Fred starts a varnish making thread.

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Regards making rosin varnish, I would be happy to share what I know.  I think a good start would be a photo of the set up and the equipment needed, which isn't very much. The only unusual item needed is dark rosin, which is rosin basically before it is processed. Regular rosin, even cheap bow rosin should be ok, but you don't get the dark finish. Learning the process is the purpose at start.

Hopefully i'll have a photo of the setup within the next day or so, and if someone can show me the steps needed to start a MN subject I would appreciate it. Fred

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 if someone can show me the steps needed to start a MN subject I would appreciate it. Fred

 

If you wish, I can start one for you so you just need to post in it.

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Regards making rosin varnish, I would be happy to share what I know.  I think a good start would be a photo of the set up and the equipment needed, which isn't very much. The only unusual item needed is dark rosin, which is rosin basically before it is processed. Regular rosin, even cheap bow rosin should be ok, but you don't get the dark finish. Learning the process is the purpose at start.

Hopefully i'll have a photo of the setup within the next day or so, and if someone can show me the steps needed to start a MN subject I would appreciate it. Fred

 

Hi FredN, I've only used spirit varnishes in the past, and have spent the last week here at maestronet reading the many varnish posts. I've seen many of your tips and advice already, but would really welcome a step-by-step method from start to finish. Even after all of my reading, I'm still confused about oil varnish. If you lay out the steps for the rosin varnish, and even recommend which ingredients to try from certain suppliers, I'll follow it and post my results. I am keen to learn, and move away from spirit varnishes.

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Hi Mike and All- using your thread should be fine.  I took some photos of my set up and if they are acceptable i'll post one and describe what is there. fred

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