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Stanley5184

Varnishing on the Cheap

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Stanley, the cost of shipping 'flammable liquids' in Europe can be staggering. Some firms simply will not post them, and insist on a courier service, but others will send them by post, at a much smaller cost, so shop around.

I immagine that most of the commercially available varnishes are very thick, a bit like treacle, with very little solvent in them, and I'm sure they would be safe to post. Don't be put off by one shipping quote.

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do you have any recommendations on where i can get some commercial varnish that wont break the bank? I really am open to all options at the moment.....any companies you highly recommend? it doesn't have to come straight from the manufacturer.

Thanks again, really acknowledge the help your providing

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if you werent worried about what your viola sounded like, you could use anything you wanted for varnish, when i reccomended joe i was recommending something that is at least closer to traditional italian varnishes in appearance and sound, if youre happy with the sound and appearance of factory fiddles of the 20th century, then you have a lot more varnish options,

consider the analogy of a first time violin maker that doesnt want to pay for planes or chisels, making violins costs money and some things arent worth cutting corners on, and in my opinion varnish is definetly one of them

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consider the analogy of a first time violin maker that doesnt want to pay for planes or chisels, making violins costs money and some things arent worth cutting corners on, and in my opinion varnish is definetly one of them

I learned a lot from making tools, and some of them will do things which no commercially available tool will do.

If the priority is taking the easiest and most reliable path to a completed violin (and maybe the cheapest, too), why not just buy one?

A big reason many people get into making is because ....... they like to make stuff. :D

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Try a few different commercial varnishes on wood, choose one you like. Imagine at Strad time he did not have choices

Violin suppy shops have them in bottle available too. It is a great time nowaday you can do as much by hand yourself.

Go to a violin shop they will show whatever violins (finish products) you like , cheap or expensive,old or new. Chinese or Italian.

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do you have any recommendations on where i can get some commercial varnish that wont break the bank? I really am open to all options at the moment.....any companies you highly recommend? it doesn't have to come straight from the manufacturer.

Thanks again, really acknowledge the help your providing

+++++++++++++

Why worry about the cost? Never expensive. Only the work to do the varnish you should be worried.

Preparing the surface, brush stroke, drying time, keeping the dust out, do not breathe the vapor.. etc. that sort of things.

At a secend thought it might be expensive if you make mistake.

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yeah and from the one strad ive heard up close, it doesnt help the highs at all, i mean this one had coats and coats of shellac, and a really hard almost distorted top end, just like shellac varnished violins, the rest of the range sounded good though, if not a little muted

Did you hear this particular instrument before it was overcoated? If this is the only Strad you have ever heard close up, what is your reference for comparison?

Close listening isn't the best way to judge the tone and carrying power of an instrument anyways; usually this is done at some distance in a room with high ceilings and moderate reflections.

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I seriously couldn't care less if the way i varnish isn't like how it was done hundreds of years ago....as long as i got an outcome thats good, it doesn't really bother me if my methods are traditional. As for it lasting...i cant say for sure following traditional methods will work, at least not everytime, there are just too many variables. As for the sound....i dont believe it will affect it that much, and if it does, there are way more other things e.g the room your in that will affect it much much more. As long as it turns out looking good, i'm fine with it. The spar varnish option sound easy and cheap but i need some confirmation buy not just one person who disagrees and someone who endorses it to make my decision on whether i should get it based on final finish/looks. Going by picture in a previous thread, i'm liking the look except its incredibly shiny, however there are ways to dull it and make it more matte so that's not really an issue. The instrument did look nice however which is looking good for the spar varnish.

Thanks again

What's in a name? Tear the label off the can and reprint your own that reads: Genuine Cremona Varnish; This should appease the people that want to condemn the product based on the label. Heck, if you print a good enough looking label, Lyndon might even buy some from you and use it for restorations at his used violin yard sales.;)

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not sure if this applies , but while reading a book on wood turning, the man said " make you bowl a good shape , don't worry so much about the wood, I have seen a lot of old bowls and they all turn so dark you can't tell what kind of wood it is or the grain pattern." Now these may have been french polished or oiled again not sure it the analogy is applicable.

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A big reason many people get into making is because ....... they like to make stuff. :D

You hit the nail on the head....i'm making it for the fun and experience, not for the viola. I already have one....its also the excitement of making one better than my current one. I suppose i shouldn't be thinking that because it will likely end in disappointment.

Try a few different commercial varnishes on wood, choose one you like.

This brings me to my next newby question. I'm buying a white violin so i wont really have any left over wood to sample on....would you know where i could get some cheap??...does it have to be maple or spruce or can i just use any ordinary wood from a hardware store?

I also got a PM from a member who suggests venice turpentine as a seal because it brings out the beauty in the wood.....what are you thoughts? Aparrently all thats in it is pine rosin dissolved in turpentine. Would it be good for violins as well as for horses hoofs.....thats what i've been told its used for.

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And if you go with "spar varnish", don't assume that just any spar varnish will work OK. That term is used for products with a wide variety of formulations. I didn't intend to endorse every product with that name, just one (the only one I have experience with), and I also wanted to take issue with the person who poo-pood everything which could be described as "boat varnish".

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Stanley,

I hope that you will repay all of the advice with a report of what you decided to do. I look forward to reading that. ;)

Mike

Let's see some pictures too. Hope it turns out nice! :)

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I hope that you will repay all of the advice with a report of what you decided to do. I look forward to reading that. ;)

I definitely document my whole experience and try to be as detailed as possible!

And if you go with "spar varnish", don't assume that just any spar varnish will work OK.

I've pretty much made up my mind that i wont be using it due from the advise given by some members and have thought that it would be better off to get a system that is proven to work like joes, but he hasn't replied to my PM for nearly a week.....i wonder what hes doing. Can anyone else get through to him?

thanks again

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This is the product that they most likely meant:

http://kremerpigments.com/shopus/index.php?cat=0211〈=ENG&product=62010

The horse lineament is made from a different resin/balsam.

Oded

Thanks but i'm pretty much 100% sure he meant hawthorne venice turpentine....which is usually used for horses hooves. Something like this - http://ovedshorseandpetstore.com.au/Horse-Products/Hoof-Treatments/2519-Hawthorne-Venice-Turpentine-16-oz.html

Thanks again

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I'm the one who mentioned the Hawthorn venice turpentine. It is not 'real' venice turpentine' it is not tree sap from a larch tree. But looking at the MSDS it is some kind of pine resin dissolved in turpentine. Smells nice, smells like a pine tree. :)

It's cheap, only around $10 for a can. It has high viscosity so doesn't penetrate deeply into the wood, only penetrates the few uppper cells / fibers. It brings out the chatoyance of maple really nice and a full day in the sun and it will be dry. It does not dry in shade however. Two or three coats and the wood is sealed.

On some test samples I got real nice looking results by using this as a ground and then a thin film of boiled linseed on top of that. Because the Hawthorn seals, the linseed will not soak into the wood.

As a ground I would like something tougher more wear resistant and I have no idea how it holds up long term so it's only a suggestion.

Probably top makers would not use anything like this but if you are doing it on the cheap and want something that looks good, give it a try on some test samples.

Michael Darnton in one of his PDFs suggests dilute shellac. There are some here who would say that is bad for the sound of the instrument (Lyndon) but others think it's ok. I used it on mine and it sounds fine.

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And if you go with "spar varnish", don't assume that just any spar varnish will work OK. That term is used for products with a wide variety of formulations. I didn't intend to endorse every product with that name, just one (the only one I have experience with), and I also wanted to take issue with the person who poo-pood everything which could be described as "boat varnish".

Just out of trivia,this is the only nice looking spar varnish I can find in Brazil, I'm sure in other countries there are more options , but down here, the stuff from the large American, European or Brazilian corporations look ok at best when you apply and gain a really ugly color in 4, 5 years, interior application, super strong, but ugly, made to withstand the Tropical elements, and salt water. usually opaque. (a few chemists from these companies when I asked why? they said it's the alkid, but I have some other kind 2k poly with alkid that that does not happen, so I don't know how many kinds of alkids there are.)

I don't know the formulation of this one I use, but the main ingredients are a really tough non darkening phenolic resin, and pure tung oil from Paraguay. It costs more than twice as much as the other ones.

post-41255-0-02057700-1344613379_thumb.jpg

Edited by carlobartolini

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Ive always found a decent varnish to be relatively easy to make ,but i believe applying it is a real pain that requires a hell of a lot of experience that has to be gained through practical experience.Adding almost anything to the varnish can totally mess up how you usually apply it. Colour is another rather difficult thing to add to the pot!

Varnishing an instrument that looks like a billiard ball is relatively easy but varnishing an instrument where the varnish looks attractive from day one is alot more difficult. :)

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Any long oil varnish with linseed oil in it is going to yellow, and darken with age. Furniture finished with linseed oil alone eventually turns black. Nature of the beast.

If you want an exterior finish that stays water clear, it's not gonna be based on any natural resins, IMHO.

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Any long oil varnish with linseed oil in it is going to yellow, and darken with age. Furniture finished with linseed oil alone eventually turns black. Nature of the beast.

If you want an exterior finish that stays water clear, it's not gonna be based on any natural resins, IMHO.

No sorry! Not only do linseed oil varnishes become darker - lovely. They also become more transparent - even lovelier. Depending on their quality and the exact constituents, linseed oil/rosin based varnishes are more likely to turn reddish amber than black. Black varnishes are generally the result of iron contamination. This might be from an iron based coloring agent, a dryer, or simply from cooking in an iron pot. Moreover, if anyone is interested in producing something resembling Cremonese varnishes, all the serious analyses point to varnishes that mainly consist of linseed oil and collophony. In Venice the painters used walnut oils (readily available) which tend to crackle with time. (Any idea who had crackly varnish in Venice?) In Cremona the painter (Bernardino Campi, Sofonisba Anguissola and co) used linseed oils. This is because around 1500 Cremona was the largest producer of linen cloth (fustian) in the world. And linen is made from the flax plant, from whose seeds linseed oil is pressed. Again readily available.

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Try putting danish oil on oak garden furniture ,it turns black very quickly ,due to reaction between metallic driers not the oil itself. The same with linseed,etc... Linseed is prone to mildew though which isnt actually the oil turning black.

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Oh and I am sure that a good artist quality linseed oil will be cheap enough. Don't get a linseed oils for salads from the supermarket, it won't dry. Then get some collophony and a good recipe and get cooking (outside). It will be cheaper than boat, or spar, or whatever varnish. And more fun. And more traditional. And as long as you wear an mask and don't set fire to yourself, more healthy.

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