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Jeffrey Holmes

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Sorry for the off topic question, but how do you make these "multiqote" postings David?

I think David made this unnecessarily complicated!

Try this:

Clicking on any QUOTE button below a post will collect them for you to use when you finally click on ADDREPLY near the bottom of the page.

However, this does not take care of the case when you want to insert comments inside a qoute.

In that case I think you'll have to do as David explains: copy the html.

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Open a second browser. Hit "reply" on the quote you want to use, then copy and paste the quote into the first browser's reply window. Editing of the quote can be done in either window.

If you break up one quote to respond to individual points, you need to "copy" the html beginning and ending tags, and apply them to each section.

Ok, thanks! - Smart! :-)

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I think David made this unnecessarily complicated!

Try this:

Clicking on any QUOTE button below a post will collect them for you to use when you finally click on ADDREPLY near the bottom of the page.

However, his does not take care of the case when you want to insert comments inside a qoute.

In that case I think you'll have to do as David explains: copy the html.

Thanks Salve! Now I can multiquote too! :-)

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I think David made this unnecessarily complicated!

I'm good at that. :)

Here's the selection; I need to check with Strado to see which one is correct, then I'll attempt to feel that way. :)

Just one? Multiple emoticons can be combined in various orders to indicate the more complex emotional conditions that violin makers typically suffer from. :)

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Charles Beare advises against the use of french polishing in old instruments, specially in America (Dartington Conference, 1995):

"It`s not uncommon these days to see fine instruments with layer upon layer of grey/green discolouring French polish built up year after year as part of their regular overhaul, which far exceeds in thickness and hardness the original varnish which may still be seen underneath with the aid of a strong light. Most of the Stradivaris and Guarneris in the USA have this - and I once asked a leading American restorer, a good friend from the old Wurlitzer days, why he and his companions were giving the violins that were enstruted to them this patent leather look, "If I don`t do it, the customer won`t accept the job" was his reply. "They want it to shine all over; if there is a dull spot they bring it back and complain". Surely this is a case for re-educating these customers. I fear there are many in our trade, as well as the customers, who are unaware of the beauty of unplished Italian varnish, who don`t recognise it when they see it. It`s like fine wine, the taste comes with experience and is none the less valuable for that.

omissis

Obviously the purer (the varnish) it is the better, and I would say that French polishing, which is still a habit of one or two of the bigger institutions in the USA has actually almost irretrievably damaged perhaps to a ninor extent a large number of instruments. It is being fought against by many of the younger makers. "

What I dont understand how the original sound is preserved atfer putting French P. on the violin? I dont knwo the ingredients in it but still a some kind of resin or what ever. Even a tiny mass under finger board does effect the sound.

.

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What I dont understand how the original sound is preserved atfer putting French P. on the violin? I dont knwo the ingredients in it but still a some kind of resin or what ever....

If it's done properly, it's just shellac with a tiny amount of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil), applied with a rubbing motion.

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Charles Beare advises against the use of french polishing in old instruments, specially in America (Dartington Conference, 1995):

"It`s not uncommon these days to see fine instruments with layer upon layer of grey/green discolouring French polish built up year after year as part of their regular overhaul, which far exceeds in thickness and hardness the original varnish which may still be seen underneath with the aid of a strong light.

So they have this much shellac on them but yet they still sound good? Says a lot about the theory of hard varnish giving violins of a certain nationality a nasal tone. Or varnish having a lot to do with tone in general. If varnish was all that important then wouldn't these great violinists be able to hear that there was too much shellac on their violins rather than needing to have Beare look to see it?

Most of the Stradivaris and Guarneris in the USA have this - and I once asked a leading American restorer, a good friend from the old Wurlitzer days, why he and his companions were giving the violins that were enstruted to them this patent leather look, "If I don`t do it, the customer won`t accept the job" was his reply. "They want it to shine all over; if there is a dull spot they bring it back and complain". Surely this is a case for re-educating these customers. I fear there are many in our trade, as well as the customers, who are unaware of the beauty of unplished Italian varnish, who don`t recognise it when they see it. It`s like fine wine, the taste comes with experience and is none the less valuable for that.

omissis

Obviously the purer (the varnish) it is the better, and I would say that French polishing, which is still a habit of one or two of the bigger institutions in the USA has actually almost irretrievably damaged perhaps to a ninor extent a large number of instruments. It is being fought against by many of the younger makers. "

I don't think that one approach can really be taken here now the damage has been done. I'm all for preserving the old violins that are currently in an unpolished state. Those should be left as they are simply because there are so few left that are "as intended," whether the old guys wanted for them to age this way is a separate issue. The ones that have already been polished many times are different so is there really any harm in burying what little varnish remaining on them under an extra layer of protection? The original texture is already gone so there isn't a whole lot to loose by polishing.

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The polish used is only 50% shellac

I would very much like to know what you and others have found the best oil to be. Linseed, a non-drying oil like olive, mineral oil (baby butt oil). IN any case, I assume that after the shellac is dry, the oil is wiped off before it has a chance to dry (if linseed etc).

Also, I have been using about a 3lb cut for the shellac. Do others use more or less alcohol?

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In my limited experience, I find that young people or those new to violins prefer what Darnton once depicted with a "bowling ball.". Older, experienced players seem to prefer the natural textured surface.

I think there are many factors that dictate taste... what one is used to seeing being one of them. The "fashion" (not only in the US, but a number of other locations as well) at one point was "shiny is good", which has slowly (thank goodness) been debunked by education and example (which, BTW, I think is the responsibility of every restorer who works on classic old fiddles)... but I think one should not discount the effect of what an owner is used to seeing. If an owner was raised to appreciate a bowling ball with strings, that will be a hard view to break.

Younger players are often moving up from more commercial instruments... A lot of shiny stuff to choose from there. Even some of the "older" (early 20th century) commercial or semi-commercial instruments sported bullet-proof shiny coatings (the Monteverdi instruments come to mind). Seems natural that a violin with a more natural texture might seem a bit of an alien concept.

I don't think that one approach can really be taken here now the damage has been done. I'm all for preserving the old violins that are currently in an unpolished state. Those should be left as they are simply because there are so few left that are "as intended," whether the old guys wanted for them to age this way is a separate issue. The ones that have already been polished many times are different so is there really any harm in burying what little varnish remaining on them under an extra layer of protection? The original texture is already gone so there isn't a whole lot to loose by polishing.

Actually, I don't agree with this statement... While there is certainly a time to leave well enough alone, I don't think I'd want to add anything to further the damage... and for protection, there are less invasive alternatives to polishing.

Also, I believe there's an old thread in which I mentioned the removal of over-coatings (I think I mentioned a technique or two). Personally, if an instrument is under my care and stewardship, I consider each "case" and determine if something might be gained by removal of an over-coat, how much original is buried there, how easily it can be removed without effecting the varnish under it, etc. In many cases, the plans are long term (years of careful cleaning when the instrument is in for maintenance).

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I would very much like to know what you and others have found the best oil to be. Linseed, a non-drying oil like olive, mineral oil (baby butt oil). IN any case, I assume that after the shellac is dry, the oil is wiped off before it has a chance to dry (if linseed etc).

Also, I have been using about a 3lb cut for the shellac. Do others use more or less alcohol?

........................................

Hi John,

I use Kremer raw linseed oil. As you say, the oil gets wiped off after but oil being oil it will have a way of finding its way into gaps even invisible ones ....for instance in the purfling channel. I've always thought that an oil that will eventually dry is the least worst option to be in such gaps.

Sorry I can't help on the actual technical mix of shellac as I do mine by eye and dilute to taste. I certainly do have it far more diluted than would be used for polishing furniture and applied very sparingly . I use an almond shaped rubber set up for application. My actual polish mix and what most instrument polishers used has only 50% of the resins content as shellac.

I should just add that I only use this stuff in my copies when required to mimick the look of old polished instruments...Using this stuff on historic instruments...even humble ones is wrong....Anyone tempted should first consider something museum grade and easily removeable like the product called Renaissance Wax.

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Interesting topic.

I like the crackled effect on both old and new violins, for different reasons.

When varnishing a new violin I use my oil varnish and lay a coat of spirit varnish over the top, before it's totally dry.

This is the lean over fat method which is bound to make the crackle in varying degrees.

To highlight the crackle you can rub in some dark oil paint or other pigment.

Anyway, it's fun and I find it more of a challenge than doing a straight varnish job, which has it's own set of challenges.

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Interesting topic.

I like the crackled effect on both old and new violins, for different reasons.

When varnishing a new violin I use my oil varnish and lay a coat of spirit varnish over the top, before it's totally dry.

This is the lean over fat method which is bound to make the crackle in varying degrees.

To highlight the crackle you can rub in some dark oil paint or other pigment.

Anyway, it's fun and I find it more of a challenge than doing a straight varnish job, which has it's own set of challenges.

Ben, I just saw your slide show. Very nice stuff.

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Setting aside for the moment the question of craquele...I think there is a great deal to be learned by trying to understand the texture of the varnish surface. From it we can make observations about how the wood was treated prior to varnishing, as in that fine Guadagnini pinholes picture. Things are revealed about the components of the varnish and application methods used. As Jeffery noted, the classic Cremonese varnish when preserved in the [rare] unpolished or retouched state, has a surface that reminds me of worn saddle leather: shiny but supple, but by no means smooth or polished. The surface shines without being shiny and therefore avoids those silvery white reflections we see on many more modern instruments. I find this kind of surface very attractive and I work to reproduce it in my own varnish work. Martina has done this very well on the instrument that she had at Oberlin. It was a tasteful and composed surface that gave the varnish a look of being gently used.

These pictures show that surface quality from an untouched Cremonese varnsh. #1 is on the back, #2 is on the spruce.

Joe

post-6284-1246588747_thumb.jpg

post-6284-1246588763_thumb.jpg

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Apologies for the delay...DSL troubles.

I reckon this'll be my last rx in this thread because I suspect I'm on the verge of getting people irritated (I know: too late)

to Jeffrey: I'm not trying to be contrary, honest! I'm only trying to express my perception (and total inability to share what seems to be a communal perception).

to Strado and David: perhaps the Pantheon didn't like the crinkled effects either, but shrugged them off with a grimace and headshake because they reckoned that the only way to get rid of them was by Descent To Bowling Alley. I.e., the choice was between varnish that was very good for the fiddle but that would inevitably fail under human contact, or varnish that wouldn't react to anything less than a company of sappers, but would give their fiddles all the warmth and charm of a bowling alley floor. Eh?

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  • 11 months later...

Since my name has been mentioned a few times:

My goal has been to have a varnish which exhibited some of the natural aging characteristics observed on 17th century Italians. When experimental varnishes have failed to exhibit these characteristics, these were what I considered to be the failures.

Accelerated aging tests were done by exposing varnish samples to prolonged sunlight; by putting varnish on a frequently used knife handle; by keeping a sample in a pocket, close to the body, for extended periods.

Hi David,

You offered the comment above having quoted something I wrote:

"The belly of my 20 year old fiddle (made by David B.) has just that texture, and I find it both beautiful, and somehow fascinating.

'Reminds me of an endless maze."

It's an old thread, but I just realized that I never asked about one aspect of the texture that I find so lovely:

Why might it appear only on the belly of my fiddle? There is not a hint of the texture on any of the maple.

Sincere thanks for any thoughts,

A.C.

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