Stradivari's golden ground varnish


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20 hours ago, sospiri said:

There is nothing new that I can tell you or John Harte that I haven't said before, other than the refinement of my method to thinner overall finish, which hopefully is more senstive/responsive to the player.

In spite of my name being mentioned a couple of times, up until this moment I have not had any part in this thread.  I also don't recall expressing any strongly formed opinion in any Maestronet thread as to whether the interpretations of various researchers are correct or not.

For the record, I suspect the jury is still out in terms of what the various old Cremonese makers used for their ground systems...

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12 minutes ago, John Harte said:

In spite of my name being mentioned a couple of times, up until this moment I have not had any part in this thread.  I also don't recall expressing any strongly formed opinion in any Maestronet thread as to whether the interpretations of various researchers are correct or not.

For the record, I suspect the jury is still out in terms of what the various old Cremonese makers used for their ground systems...

Hi John. Michael Molnar said you had an explanation about Echard having missed something. Or have I misunderstood?

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2 hours ago, sospiri said:

Hi John. Michael Molnar said you had an explanation about Echard having missed something. Or have I misunderstood?

I suspect that Michael was referring to him having an explanation.  I don't have any answers, only questions...:)

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Rather than yelling for help, it is time to go back to the literature.  Bruce Tai wrote a very good review:  "Stradivari's Varnish--A Review of Scientific Findings"  in J. Violin Soc of November 2009.  He has a section on proteins and carbohydrates which you will all find interesting.    And yes, Echard has found proteins in a lute, a violin, and a viol.  Tai says "In summary, there is fairly convincing evidence that at least a small amount of protein was incorporated into some classic  Italian violin finishes."

I found a very recent paper of Echard on varnish:  "Reconstructing Historical Recipes of Linseed oil/colophony varnishes:  influence of preparation processes on application properties."  J. Cultural Heritage.  September 2017.  First author is Sophie Tirat.  Colophony goes from 20-66.6 W%, temperatures 170-250 C, and times at temperature of 10-100 minutes.  The best varnishes seem to have spent the most time at the higher temperatures.  Some varnish which were inadequately cooked appeared to have separated on cooling.

Mike E

 

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I'd like to point out perhaps more blatantly than before that we have someone in our midst that has produced wood finishes at a high level for three decades, with a specialty in instrument finish research for the last two. We don't need conjecture, we need to listen to voices of experience.

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I believe what Jackson is referring to is our recent conversation about this thread.

I had hoped that my posting the pictures of aging linseed oil would provoke a different discussion.  

There are countless ways to ground and varnish an instrument.   Grounds like linseed oil,  casein,  sugar, pop, mineral ground, shellac,  varnish,  pine resin can all produce beautiful and satisfying effects.  Materials may be made with historic intent or not [I make both].  Scientific analysis is a great help...fun when it agrees with you, less when it doesn't.  

In my  not so humble opinion,  it comes down to 2 things: our ability to see without prejudice and our ability to choose and apply the materials and methods which create the effects we seek.

Again,  there are many ways to finish the instrument.   However the path to the classic Cremonese Varnish and particularly the Stradivari Varnish is narrow and rocky.   To follow it if that is one's choice must be predicated by a visual understanding of the master works.

Here's hoping that the new year brings lots of varnish fun to you all.

on we go,

Joe 

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10 minutes ago, sospiri said:

From photographs, the old grounds look like linseed oil to me. I can't help but feel that people will go to extraordinary lengths to skirt around the issue?

There are some extraordinary photos available particularly in the Stradivari Varnish Book.  However one cannot understand the appearance we are discussing from a still life image.

on we go, 

Joe 

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For those who do not already know him, this video conference allows a good knowledge of Echard's theories explained by the author himself. Often reading the papers the author's certainties (or not) may not be fully clear.

As a side note, on the same youtube channel you can find many other interesting lutherie conferences also on acoustics and, contrary to those of the VSA, publicly available.;):)

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40 minutes ago, joerobson said:

There are some extraordinary photos available particularly in the Stradivari Varnish Book.  However one cannot understand the appearance we are discussing from a still life image.

on we go, 

Joe 

So how can one understand the appearance we are discussing from a real life image?

Bear in mind that my original inspiration was an old violin that I own.

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15 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

For those who do not already know him, this video conference allows a good knowledge of Echard's theories explained by the author himself. Often reading the papers the author's certainties (or not) may not be fully clear.

As a side note, on the same youtube channel you can find many other interesting lutherie conferences also on acoustics and, contrary to those of the VSA, publicly available.;):)

Grazie mille Davide. Felice anno nuovo.

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1 hour ago, Davide Sora said:

For those who do not already know him, this video conference allows a good knowledge of Echard's theories explained by the author himself. Often reading the papers the author's certainties (or not) may not be fully clear.

 

Thanks, Davide. That looks really good.

14 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I'd like to point out perhaps more blatantly than before that we have someone in our midst that has produced wood finishes at a high level for three decades, with a specialty in instrument finish research for the last two. We don't need conjecture, we need to listen to voices of experience.

Lots of people have been studying and experimenting  with varnish formulations and appearance for three decades or more. Should there be a presumption that someone who bottles and sells their varnish knows more than those  who have not?

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48 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Thanks, Davide. That looks really good.

Lots of people have been studying and experimenting  with varnish formulations and appearance for three decades or more. Should there be a presumption that someone who bottles and sells their varnish knows more than those  who have not?

That is not a presumption I would make.

I do however trust the results of my making, a studied eye for finishes and the experience of varnishing hundreds of instruments....not counting the ones I had to strip and start again.

I, like you, have been given the privilege to study some great instruments. 

on we go, 

Joe 

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2 hours ago, sospiri said:

So how can one understand the appearance we are discussing from a real life image?

Bear in mind that my original inspiration was an old violin that I own.

You are privileged to have one to study.  It is increasingly difficult to see great instruments,  but take every opportunity that comes your way to do so.

on we go, 

Joe 

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2 hours ago, joerobson said:

You are privileged to have one to study.  It is increasingly difficult to see great instruments,  but take every opportunity that comes your way to do so.

on we go, 

Joe 

Mine is not one of those. It was made by an English autodidact William Webbe in 1924. His interpretation of Nicolò Amati.

It is roughly made but has a very interesting sound. Very loud and with something different in damping from anything else I had played before I bought it.

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Thank you, Davide.  I found this video very useful.

At the end, there was a question about proteins, but I did not understand the answer.  I think it concerned whether there were proteins under the varnish.  Could anyone help me interpret what was said?

best regards

Mike D

Edited by Mike_Danielson
added a question
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1 hour ago, Mike_Danielson said:

Thank you, Davide.  I found this video very useful.

At the end, there was a question about proteins, but I did not understand the answer.  I think it concerned whether there were proteins under the varnish.  Could anyone help me interpret what was said?

best regards

Mike D

Mike, I asked the last question, unfortunately in an extremely clumsy disjointed way.  (It was something like 4am my time and I was half asleep....)  However I am sure that this is not the question you are referring to.  Can you provide a time point at which the question you are interested in is on the video?

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19 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

For those who do not already know him, this video conference allows a good knowledge of Echard's theories explained by the author himself. Often reading the papers the author's certainties (or not) may not be fully clear.

As a side note, on the same youtube channel you can find many other interesting lutherie conferences also on acoustics and, contrary to those of the VSA, publicly available.;):)

Wow! What a resource, with only 250 views!

For those with less time, skip to the 55 minute mark.  General summary is lower stratum is a drying oil without evidence of a mineral pore filler.  Upper stratum is a drying oil with a pine resin signature.  Some instruments (golden and later) show evidence of pigments, primarily Mexican cochineal likely imported through Spain.

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On 12/26/2020 at 4:16 PM, Don Noon said:

This one?

amati.jpg.da29e367b9a5a8f72a854031dd079aac.jpg

Looks like a simple formulat to me: 

  1. apply a clear-ish varnish
  2. allow varnish and wood to age 450 years

Stradcentrism or Cremonacentrism with the focus of finding out exactly what they did I think is doomed to failure without accounting for the aging effects on wood and varnish.  If you want to copy the appearance today, you have to do something other than exactly what they did.

Don, but that was done in the Messiah, in Del Gesu`s "Alard", and we don`t see the ˜time magic" there...

 

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1 minute ago, MANFIO said:

Don, but that was done in the Messiah, in Del Gesu`s "Alard", and we don`t see the ˜time magic" there...

Maybe it needs the extra 150 years to develop ;)

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On 12/26/2020 at 9:16 PM, Don Noon said:

This one?

amati.jpg.da29e367b9a5a8f72a854031dd079aac.jpg

Looks like a simple formulat to me: 

  1. apply a clear-ish varnish
  2. allow varnish and wood to age 450 years

Stradcentrism or Cremonacentrism with the focus of finding out exactly what they did I think is doomed to failure without accounting for the aging effects on wood and varnish.  If you want to copy the appearance today, you have to do something other than exactly what they did.

Never mind the varnish (wich  is impossible to see from images). look at the purfling work, unbelievably perfection! I have looked at some Amati images lately and they(Strad & dG) should have slowed down a little. 

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1 hour ago, John Harte said:

Mike, I asked the last question, unfortunately in an extremely clumsy disjointed way.  (It was something like 4am my time and I was half asleep....)  However I am sure that this is not the question you are referring to.  Can you provide a time point at which the question you are interested in is on the video?

The question about proteins starts with Christian at 1:26:21.  

Thanks in advance

Mike D

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2 hours ago, Mike_Danielson said:

The question about proteins starts with Christian at 1:26:21.  

Thanks in advance

Mike D

Mike, thank you.  I would not have easily found this as a discussion on proteins did not eventuate.  While Christian did ask about proteins, Jean-Philippe for some reason limited his comments to where micro-sampling had taken place.  Maybe he didn't pick up on the full extent of Christian's question.

Jean-Philippe has addressed the issue of protein presence in several of his publications.  Very broadly speaking his investigations reveal the lack of a discrete protein layer in the Cremonese examples he has considered.  This has been in contrast to what he found in examples from other schools.

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