Joseph Hammerl (JOHA) varnishes - opinions, experiences?


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I'm very near to the varnishing stage for my third violin. I would like a better varnish. I did a search and it seems the 1A quality are decent. Does anyone regularly use products by Hammerl? Are there better alternatives for an off the shelf varnish?

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I found that particular varnish the best of the so-called "oil" varnishes by Hammerl. It applies very easily, and a coat will dry indoors (without a light box or anything) within a few days. However, it doesn't look particularly good. Somehow it seems to "sit on top" of the violin, like enamel on an oven pan.

If you want something which looks much better by far, it would seem that Joe Robson's varnishes or the Magister products are the way to go. I must admit that I don't have first-hand of these (I make the Fulton varnish for my own use).

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I used "Hammerl" but was always looking for something else?

I decided to try Joe Robson's varnish. I have used it on the last 2 violins and it is beautiful!! It is easily applied and levels very well.

It is expensive though!

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I'm using Magister Doratura Rosso and Vernice Liquida varnishes. I use about 15 grams for a big viola (but I make my own ground) and it costs me 15 dollars (because the price for 100 grs. is 100 dollars), I don't find it expensive at all.

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If it is the stuff I have been buying from International Violin of Baltimore, then it is fine. Something that is important to remember is that they are the only manufacturer I know of that has been making violin varnish for 3 generations. All the other commercial stuff is new on the market and has unknown long term behavior. The JOHA stuff brushes out well, levels well, and dries in a day or so. It also keeps in the bottle for a long time.

The look of a varnish is very much dependent upon the ground. Try some experiments and see if you like it over your very best ground. You need to learn how to use a varnish for your own needs. For instance, every varnish needs modification of the color, and that can play a role in how good it looks.

Mike D

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I give it a thumbs up. It is strong, brushes out well, and dries fast. A little turp to thin it is recommended. I've also tried it with a 3/1 turp/linseed mix and it brushed out even better, but longer to dry. Still fast drying though. I would get it clear and add your own color. The colored versions don't have enough color in my opinion, causing too many coats to achieve good coloring.

Sean

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Hello Manfio

I'm looking for a good varnish too and went to the Magister website

and thought it was too expensive. Yet you say you varnished a viola

with 15 gm.  Is this by weight?  I just weighted 15 grams

of water and it was exactly a tablespoon.  Can you really do a

viola with about a  tablespoon of  varnish?  I think

I would get that much on me.

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Yes, 15 grams, but that without the ground, that means that Magister varnish will not penetrate in the wood. I dilute the varnish with some kerosen and add some betumen and alizarin crimson in oil to get the colour. Magister varnishes are quite thick so I use 5 grams for each coat, but diluted to brushing consistency. Here some pics of my "Fontaniva" viola:

1437770048_6bcfe0ced9.jpg

1436830299_72c65253eb.jpg1436773049_bc75356030.jpg1437797680_bfdaa53e98.jpg

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Those are quite stunning portraits.  A touch of Rembrandt

there on the lighting.  

Is betumen different from asphaltum?  Where would one get the

stuff?  Thanx for the information on the varnish, I will

certainly try some of this.  It seems to be in high regard

just about everywhere.

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Hi! Thank you! The photos were taken by my friend and viola test driver Andrès Lepage, a pro violist.

I've described my methods here sometime ago, make a search and you will find it. Test in samples first, the look you see in the pictures is the result of the method plus the materials plus my experience. You will get the experience by testing in wood samples.

Betumen is the same of asphalt or roof tar, I dissolve it in turpentine first, to a honey consistency, I redissolve it again in kerosene prior to aplication. Kerosene makes brushing easier.

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