Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

David Rubios mineral ground


Anders Buen
 Share

Recommended Posts

On David Rubios webpage http://www.rubioviolins.com/ there are pictures showing use of his mineral ground as well as a recipe for the "slurry" he used. Has anyone tried it? And do you consier it to be worth trying?

It might have been discussed earlier in the Strad ground post, and in Bruce Tais VSA Papers article, but I still ask for your opinion and experiences. Is it true that the slurry seal hardens to something impermeable for varnish and does it stiffen the plates? Tap tone increase?

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Per Rubio's recipe, "I mixed 45 gms of Calcium Lactate with l0 gms. Alum,

3 gms. Manganese Sulphate, 3 gms. Titanium Dioxide, 5 gms Yellow Iron Oxide

10gms Mica Powder with ordinary tap water (containing Chlorine) to make

a thin suspension. Separately I prepared a 50% solution of Potasium Silicate."

In lieu of the interim metallic-Chloride steps, would there be any disadvantage

to creating Calcium Silicate [the end-goal] by combining Potassium Silicate

[or Sodium Silicate] with Calcium Hydroxide [to form calcium silicate hydrate] ???

Thanks,

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the first time I've read of mica being used in a ground coat, though I've had the intention of trying the same myself as it seems to be a good option, and something that would have been available and known at the time of Stradivari, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the first time I've read of mica being used in a ground coat, though I've had the intention of trying the same myself as it seems to be a good option, and something that would have been available and known at the time of Stradivari, etc.

CT,

Of one thing I am sure: In the world of Ground & Varnish, everything we know and everything we have available [which is useful for our purposes] was known and understood in depth in 18th century Italy.

Joe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CT,

Of one thing I am sure: In the world of Ground & Varnish, everything we know and everything we have available [which is useful for our purposes] was known and understood in depth in 18th century Italy.

Joe

I agree with the known part and they knew from experience how to apply their knowledge. However they were completely laking in understanding. Knowing how to do something and understanding something are two totally separate things.

For instance, I know the physical laws governing pool but I am horrible at playing it. And from the other direction, I know how to cook food but I have almost no understanding of the chemistry occuring.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a jar of this and never got around to testing it. These days, I question the necessity of the grit which a gesso uses. I think that we can do better without the grit. Anyhow, someday I will get around to testing that idea.

I would sign off with my byline "Stay Tuned", but I think it will be a loooong time before I get around to this.

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the known part and they knew from experience how to apply their knowledge. However they were completely laking in understanding. Knowing how to do something and understanding something are two totally separate things.

For instance, I know the physical laws governing pool but I am horrible at playing it. And from the other direction, I know how to cook food but I have almost no understanding of the chemistry occuring.

I am not sure what you're driving at, but certainly intimiate knowledge of chemistry is not require in order to "understand" varnish (or ground), just as an intimate knowledge of physics is not required in order to play good pool. The questions is, what is the nature of the understanding? Or, what is meant by an "understanding"? Today we seem to know chemistry, and we seem to know physics...or do we??? In the end we only know what we know, and when you get right down to it I am not even sure how much of that we know!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 years later...

"There are only two reasons for finishing wood: to protect it and to embellish it." George Frank

I like this quote.

 

revision of 10/29/14:

 

 

I knew Frank. Setting aside protection for the moment, for years I've been thinking about embellishment or beautification. In my quest for the "holy grail" I have tried so many things, only to set them aside.

 

It was a pleasant surprise to read about Frank's reputation at MN:

http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/326390-french-polish/#entry548648

 

I've been wondering what kinds of finishing innovation might today's field of violin making be open to receiving? See Joseph Curtin's question, “Is innovation possible?” at:

http://josephcurtinstudios.com/article/innovation-in-violinmaking/

 

Occasional doubt has been cast on whether inexperienced makers like me, or rank outsiders to making such as George Frank, could ever have anything of value to contribute to the widely understood, generally acceptable, and firmly rooted traditions of violin making. Of course I believe the answer is a definite “yes."       :D

 

Now view the cover of “Classic Wood Finishing.” The photo includes a tiny green beaker that is tucked away in the background. Why is this present at all? See: http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Wood-Finishing-George-Frank/dp/0806970634/

 

What of craft significance was Frank trying to convey to us that is right beneath our very noses? The mystery increases..... Is the green liquid some plant dye or perhaps a solution of copper nitrate? But Frank knew from his long finishing experience at the Louvre that mineral acids or salts damage wood. And there could be an infinity of plant dyes to consider.

 

Okay - I would suggest a new approach is called for. What if George Frank is showing us an alcohol solution of chlorophyll? The implications of this giveaway would be staggering for finishing everywhere, wouldn't you agree?

 

As followup on this train of thought, you might click on Amazon's “new point of view” customer book review for "Classic Wood Finishing." It's entitled “Nature's Beautification of Wood."

 

NewPOV

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Per Rubio's recipe, "I mixed 45 gms of Calcium Lactate with l0 gms. Alum,

3 gms. Manganese Sulphate, 3 gms. Titanium Dioxide, 5 gms Yellow Iron Oxide

10gms Mica Powder with ordinary tap water (containing Chlorine) to make

a thin suspension. Separately I prepared a 50% solution of Potasium Silicate."

In lieu of the interim metallic-Chloride steps, would there be any disadvantage

to creating Calcium Silicate [the end-goal] by combining Potassium Silicate

[or Sodium Silicate] with Calcium Hydroxide [to form calcium silicate hydrate] ???

Thanks,

Jim

 

The idea is to create the silicates in situ.  You don't want to make a silicate first and add it to the mix.

 

I tried it a few times by painting on the dilute potassiuim silicate and then a layer of metal salts in water.  I left out the titanium and iron oxides because of the idea in the first sentence.  The problem for me was that I did not want an excess of one or the other left in the wood. 

 

In order to keep it wet during the reactions,  note that Rubio did the operation on unassembled pieces in order to have time for the work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I knew Frank. Setting aside protection for the moment, for years I've been thinking about embellishment or beautification. In my quest for the "holy grail" I have tried so many things, only to set them aside.

It was a pleasant surprise to read about Frank's reputation at MN:

http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/326390-french-polish/#entry548648

I've been wondering what kinds of finishing innovation might today's field of violin making be open to receiving? See Joseph Curtin's question, “Is innovation possible?” at:

http://josephcurtinstudios.com/article/innovation-in-violinmaking/

I raise the question because occasional doubt has been cast on whether inexperienced makers like me, or rank outsiders to making such as George Frank, have ever had anything of value to contribute to the widely understood, generally acceptable, and firmly rooted traditions of violin making. Of course the I believe the answer is a definite “yes,” or you wouldn't be reading this.      :D

Now view the cover of “Classic Wood Finishing.” The photo includes a tiny green beaker. Why is this present?

 

http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Wood-Finishing-George-Frank/dp/0806970634/

What of craft significance was Frank hinting to us finishers with this photo? It is so artfully, so cunningly, tucked away in the background of the photo. Perhaps most of us were not intended to notice this? The mystery increases..... Consider first the obvious things. Is the green liquid merely a plant dye or perhaps a solution of copper nitrate? But Frank knew from his long experience at the Louve that mineral acids or salts damage wood. And there could be an infinity of plant dyes to consider.

Okay, then: a drastically new approach is called for. What if George Frank is showing us finishing rookies an alcohol-extracted solution of chlorophyll? The implications of this giveaway are staggering for finishing everywhere, wouldn't you agree?

The “new point of view” book review of "Classic Wood Finishing," entitled “Nature's Beautification of Wood,” may be of interest.

NewPOV

How might one extract it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I only know one of Rubio's fiddles, and it may not be typical.

 

While it's a good violin, I'm not convinced that he captured the apearance of the Cremonese instruments that I've seen. The ground is slightly opaque, and seems to seal the varnish from the wood a little too thoroughly.  Rather than seeing the colour of the wood beneath the varnish, I feel I'm looking at the colour of the ground itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've seen two Rubios on a fairly regular basis, and I tend to agree with Connor, but I'm not sure Rubio was going after a "Cremonese look," rather he seems to have been focused on the effects on his instruments' sound from his ground treatment. My impression with these instruments (a friend went Rubio crazy at one point and bought two), was that they could sound very good, but were rather finicky regarding temperature and humidity, as I imagine the "sealed" outside and the unsealed inside could lead to wild swings in the way the instruments responded.

 

That said, I bought a jar of the stuff from Kremer years ago, and fooled around with it a bit. I never did Rubio's "water seal" recipe, but used his ground as a filler with different varnishes where traditional recipes would call for pumice or other powders. Using it alone with a thin rosin-oil type varnish, I got a very Testore-looking yellow coat that was pretty tough and resistant, though a little more opaque than I'd like. These days I do a Gregg Alf style "tripoli touthpaste," but I sometimes mix in a little of the Rubio powder to make it a little more yellow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all,

 

I went back and revised my post #15 to make for an easier read.

 

As for how to extract chlorophyll, Jezzupe, I really don't think using alcohol or even acetone is best. I can readily extract chlorophyll by soaking spinach in turpentine.

 

It's just my own preference, but I avoid alcohol in my finishing. (I'd rather use non-polar, hydrophobic petroleum-based solvents.) 

 

Of course there is the alcohol-based shellac and even the French polish that came after the Cremonese. More generally, there are just so many roads nowadays to the Mecca or Rome of Beautification . . .

 

After the wood is beautified or embellished, I work for protection.

 

I don't think very much of Rubio's scheme. If a scheme for ground or protection seems too complicated or contrived, why it can't be right, imo!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw need to revise my post #22.  Now continuing, with edits:

 

FIRST:

 

I don't want any wax on the plant leaf to get into the wood because it will interfere with some reactions I very much want to occur in the wood. Moreover, that kind of wax is nothing like carnauba and is not conducive to protection of the wood.

 

Working in the dark away from sunlight or bright light, I dip the intact whole leaf in turpentine (or xylene, etc.) for a few seconds, then shake off the turpentine (this is what the Cremonese had) from the leaf. I do this at least three times to strip off every bit of the wax cuticle.

 

Next I cut up and grind the whole leaf into very very tiny pieces. Next keeping everything away from the light, I soak the leaf pieces for at least three days in turpentine, using a capped glass jar with frequent shaking.

Exactly because I'm something of an "alchemist," I do not advocate using Chlorophyll (the standard abbreviation is Chl) as a "pigment" to achieve beautification of the wood. isn't Chl entirely too fugitive and therefore quite impractical to be a "pigment?" And aren't we varnishers first before we are painters?

 

SECOND:

 

Strad asserted the necessity of sunlight for "the varnish." Here is my central technical point: Chl is to be used not primarily as an artistic pigment but as a chemical catalyst for the varnish system.  Why? Chl is Nature's system for absorbing and transmitting light energy. It facilitates electron transfer. Electrocution baby!

 

I am suggesting that the Cremonese were the first to discover how to use Chlorophyll catalytically as Nature's universally available way to season and beautify or embellish the wood.

 

THIRD:

 

I am convinced that George Frank rediscovered the Cremonese secret. Perhaps I am just the next one to do so.

I came come up with the discovery on my own. Then, because I had known George intimately, I wondered if had he gotten there before me? So I looked back over George's work very closely indeed, and now it is just so apparent to me today from George's books that he indeed used Chl as a catalyst to finish his tables. In the book I know that he took utter delight in writing, "Adventures in Wood Finishing," AWF, be sure to look up his picture of a simple table, made of scrap wood, that is placed right out there in the bright sunlight! What does that hint to you? This catalytic use of Chlorophyll is the closely held secret that he, after the Cremonese, used to bring out the figure of the wood.

 

FOURTH:

 

I would like to stand up now for George Frank in this forum by offering a candid appreciation of the man and his work. This is the review that I think he might have wanted me, his informal student while he was in retirement in Florida, to write someday after his passing. It is timely since I note that his relevance to our field may have gone very much unappreciated by some in MN.

 

Unlike myself, George never bothered to establish even minimal bona fides by putting in some bench time with a stringed instrument. Everyone in the upper councils of the violin community did regard, and today continues to regard, George Frank as an "outsider," especially since he never consorted with luminaries in the violin community or, as might have been expected of him, bent his knee to its assumptions, traditions, or reigning high priests of his day. Having already attained fullest maturity in the field of woodfinishing generally, perhaps he was too rebellious or independent a spirit to submit to "go back to kindergarden" treatment by conforming to certain rites of passage, guild expectations, or other social realities or niceties that govern the violin community? Or perhaps his thinking, especially that relating to phytochemistry and photochemistry, was simply too advanced to explain to the people whom he met in the violin world, such was his opinion of their indifference, intolerance or intellectual laziness? As a genius with vast finishing experience, I can assure you, he did not suffer fools, especially fools maintaining their positions and authority through pretense. An impatient man, he could see right through all their posturing concerning what classical violin varnishing is really all about. All of that regrettable sociology doesn't matter now.

 

George was patient with me because my passion for finishing had been ignited and I approached him with no pretense at all. I had zero interest in French polishing, though he was reputed for that. We did not waste time discussing things like the French polish. No, I had seen some very beautiful violins. It was the CORE of all Finishing itself that I was after. That was my focus. He knew I would not be easily satisfied or distracted by lesser things. I was hungry and in his own way he fed me. He became a second father to me.

 

I would simply suggest that this man, who was after all the undisputed world class master finisher of his time, can yet teach, through his surviving books, "a thing or two" to every violin varnisher living today - if there would be but some openness of community mind to this. George was clearly ahead of his day. But what went unappreciated in George's century might become appreciated in mine. I say this because chemistry awareness is becoming so much more respected today than it was in George's time.

 

George's highest teachings are conveyed allusively or poetically in the AWF book. That is why I would suggest that his books be read with "stereoscopic" vision - on this, see my review entitled "Nature's Beautification of Wood" at http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Wood-Finishing-George-Frank/dp/0806970634/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414670699&sr=8-1&keywords=george+frank+classic+wood+finishing#customerReviews

 

SUMMARY:

 

I think for the first time that we moderns can see why Chlorophyll was central to, and the sine qua non of, the summit of Cremonese violin finishing. Going forward, we moderns ought not to overlook the proper fullest exploitation of Chlorophyll in violin finishing.

 

NewPOV

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

PS - We are all chasing after the "holy grail." For me, as you can see, the lost Cremonese varnish is all about using a diversity of phytochemicals along with photochemistry. I have less interest than ever in traditional oil varnishing and spirit varnishing because there is a third way.

 

Do you think my claims or suggestions here are unfounded or are too audacious, speculative, or sweeping? I'd be most happy for your thoughts or corrections.      :)   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

NewPOV, on 28 Oct 2014 - 6:15 PM, said:NewPOV, on 28 Oct 2014 - 6:15 PM, said:

 

Now view the cover of “Classic Wood Finishing.” The photo includes a tiny green beaker that is tucked away in the background. Why is this present at all? See: http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Wood-Finishing-George-Frank/dp/0806970634/

 

The presence of the green beaker is to distract us from the orange beaker which is the one that contains the real substance.   

How do I know?   shhhh....    ;)   :ph34r:

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...