Powdered mica in varnish


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Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone has any experience using powdered mica in varnish.

Not as a component in production, but rather as a "colorant" or visual enhancer.

I recently came across a jar, mixed a bit in varnish, and was intrigued with the effect.

I wonder how it would translate onto the violin.

Thanks!

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a-b,

Mica, small glass beads, ground raw amber, pearl dust, opal grindings, garnet grindings...what else I have tried I can't remember. All added a bit of sparkle to the appearance....but it was not enough to make me happy.

But we know I am hard to please, so experiment and see if this works for you. Please keep us informed!

on we go,

Joe

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a-b,

Mica, small glass beads, ground raw amber, pearl dust, opal grindings, garnet grindings...what else I have tried I can't remember. All added a bit of sparkle to the appearance....but it was not enough to make me happy.

Joe, did you mull the mica, or just add it straight. It looks very fine, (finer then pigments?).

I'll keep you posted.

Thanks.

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I tried grinding glass in a mortar & pestle to a fine powder but it still felt like sand paper after it dried and didn't seem to have any sparkle. Then after some threads on here I got the idea that the old cremona finish doesn't have that kind of sparkle either. Recently I noticed the soil in some areas around here has a sparkle and found some mica deposits. I rubbed some of that on a scrap of wood but turned it muddy red due to the clay content and still didn't see much sparkle.

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You can buy mica in various grinds from Kremer...It was a popular ingredient in mineral grounds until recent research suggested that the concept of a mineral ground was flawed... Treat mineral powders like this as you would asbestos in the loose form and wear a good mask at all times

what research is that Melvin?

Oded

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What about gold dust? I would think that even it its finest form it would sparkle. (no pun intended)

Most of the stuff mentioned so far has been of a transparent(ish) nature, but a metal would be totally different... completely opaque (and/or reflective), with no wood showing thru unless the concentration was very low.

I tried finely powdered diamond once, and the mismatch in index of refraction was so great that I ended up with a milky white varnish. I'm sure Mike could expound further on the index of refraction topic, but we should probably all just wait for his VSA presentation.

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I also think you can look at mica and other fine minerals as bodying agents or fillers to the varnish which alter its behavior during application and also change the surface texture, gloss, etc. of the coat. These are also important tactile/optical characteristics of interesting varnishes.

Kelvin

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Tony Rizzo in Torrance California taught me to use mica in very viscous, highly colored material as a gesso, mulling in just enough to make a paste the consistency of vaseline, then applying to the surface with fingertip, rubbing in ahd removing excess with a stiff piece of cardboard or some stiff canvas. It's a filler/gesso coat which makes an excellent surface for applying final colors. I subsequently used the same method with Magister products (alas, no more) and pumice with much the same effect. Tony has a web page. You could contact him through his page. I know he has used mica quite a lot and his instruments are very highly regarded.

Jim B

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What about gold dust? I would think that even it its finest form it would sparkle. (no pun intended)

Actualy, Ive done this quite a bit. I'm not bound to any quest for tradition. I use metal paints thinned way down and brush them on the second coats, then quickly burnish them off with a rag, it leaves just little bits of the metal flakes in the grain pits, they sparkle when light hits, very reflective, very cool, but not for traditional violins.

Another cool one is to use some crushed abalone shell for the same type of effect, but with colors.

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