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Scott S

Bridge Parchment Source

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Maybe I have found a good limited source for bridge parchment, maybe not. This seller has ten more of these documents to sell and has verified to me that this is real goatskin parchment. I bought one about two months ago, have not glued it yet, it seems kind of waxy in appearance and feel. The thickness varies from .004" to .007". It rips just a bit harder than paper. There is more than 100 square inches of unprinted area on this 12" by 15" document. I paid about $5 for mine, a great price if this is the real thing.

Any ideas, thoughts or opinions? Is this the real stuff?

Scott

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Maybe I have found a good limited source for bridge parchment, maybe not. This seller has ten more of these documents to sell and has verified to me that this is real goatskin parchment. I bought one about two months ago, have not glued it yet, it seems kind of waxy in appearance and feel. The thickness varies from .004" to .007". It rips just a bit harder than paper. There is more than 100 square inches of unprinted area on this 12" by 15" document. I paid about $5 for mine, a great price if this is the real thing.

Any ideas, thoughts or opinions? Is this the real stuff?

Scott

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Maybe it was impregnated with wax or oil after the printing, to make it last longer?

Try soaking a piece of it in acetone for a day. That might remove any wax & oil, & even the print.

I think it's easier to just use an old head from a drum, banjo, or tambourine, and sand or scrape it thinner. - Of course, those could ALSO have wax on them. Hmm, never thought of that before.

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If it is waxed I have some automotive wax and oil remover that would make it glue better. My concern is, do I just have a cheap novelty here that is printed on something that just resembles goatskin parchment? I am suspicious because whenever the seller does make a claim that it is real goatskin, in the ad and in the email, there are mispellings in strange places. He states in the email that it is "eal" goatskin parchment.

Scott

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The thickness sounds right to me...and that "waxy" feel is just the gloss of the parchment itself.

A trick I picked up in the Strad Magazine is to shape your little parchment as desired, then hold a piece of clear sticky tape over it (about 2 inches long) with the little parchment centred in the middle lengthwise, and pick it up with the tape. Now apply that glue that sticks your fingers together to the little piece and use the tape to "wrap" it over the bridge and hold it in place till the glue sets up, which is in mere minutes.

Best regards,

E

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I don't know much about parchment, but I would think that if it "rips a little harder than paper" it is not nearly strong enough. But I could be wrong.

Yes, you may be right. Where does the strength of the parchment application really come from? Does the strength come from the glue, the parchment or the lamination of all three of the materials? If the strength is from the glued lamination then wouldn't any paper product have the same benifits as the skin parchment? From some peoples posts (mostly on another forum)it is evident that some are using bakery and craft parchments that are really paper products.

Scott

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I have no excuse for starting another boring bridge parchment topic, other than, I like to be noticed :D . I know that this is not proof of the real thing but the paper that I have measured around my desk here varies very little in thickness while this "parchment" in question varies quite a bit in thickness.

Scott

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I have no excuse for starting another boring bridge parchment topic, other than, I like to be noticed :D . I know that this is not proof of the real thing but the paper that I have measured around my desk here varies very little in thickness while this "parchment" in question varies quite a bit in thickness.

Scott

I have some thin parchment(really, scraped calf skin) from banjo heads I've replaced or trimmings from installing new heads. It is quite a bit stronger than what is being described on this thread. Send me your land address and I'll send a year's supply--maybe trade for a clapped out but nice ebony fingerboard?

Dave Gardner

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Where does the strength of the parchment application really come from? Does the strength come from the glue, the parchment or the lamination of all three of the materials? If the strength is from the glued lamination then wouldn't any paper product have the same benifits as the skin parchment?

Possibly. I actually used a piece of masking tape once, when I had nothing else. I intended to replace it later, but it lasted for years. It's still on that fiddle.

It might be the glue (hence people using JUST superglue, or it could simply be that maple end grain is exceptionally susceptible to that type of abrasion. -but if nothing else, parchment, Ivory, & other solutions present a nicer aesthetic.

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Having never heard of bridge parchment before, I looked it up on Google and found this link where luthier Robert Wood gives the following advice:

What I do now on the E and A strings is to put on a drop of cyano-acrylate glue (Super Glue) in the string groove and let it dry. It gets very hard and will last a long time. If the string finally wears through the glue, just put on another drop, Any excess can be filed away and smoothed off. The string groove can be lubricated with a pencil point to help the string slide across when it is being tuned.

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I just used this parchment, whatever it is, on a 3/4 size bridge that started to cut through very quickly on the first stringing up. I cut the parchment with a hole punch and used actonerns method of scotchtape with superglue. I made a light pencil mark on each side of the string notch and used these marks to position the questionable parchment. I installed the parchment with the bridge on the violin and put the E string over the parchment and notch before the glue dried with a little string tension. I'm satisfied.

For those who haven't done this before... In retrospect, second guessing and in hindsight...I wouldn't want to use any thicker material. Even though I didn't use much glue, applied it and spread it out with the tip of a pencil, I would use half as much glue next time.

Scott

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A friend of mine owns a music store / repair shop that specializes in banjos, violins, guitars, mandolins etc.

Natural skin banjo heads are what you're after. He gave me a few damaged heads and they have lasted me for years.

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Many years ago I used to buy or cadge old parchments from solicitors, until I spoke to an archivist who chastised me for cutting one up. I urge anyone who has old parchments that have been written on, however insignificant the content may seem, to preserve them and to purchase and use new parchment instead. New parchment works better anyway.

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