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varnish as usual

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  • 1 month later...

Hey Joe.  Is it ok to use the Gold aged wood coloring during any stage of the 4 stage process, and can it be added to the final Balsam ground varnish?  Just curious.



You can use the AWC Gold in the #3 and #4 Balsams preparations, but they do not have much impact.  The usual way is to apply #1 then #2 without color.  Then the Aged Wood Color can be added to a thinned solution of the #2 balsam.  This is maximum impact + maximum control.

Do not add the Aged Wood Colors to the Balsam Ground varnish...or any other varnish.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Looks nice Joe.  I take it the instrument white before AW gold was applied?  How much darker does the wood get if you give the wood a sun tan first, then proceed as above?


This was a white instrument.  Suntanning is always beneficial.  Also one can adjust the color with AWC Red brown/Gray-geen/and or Dark Brown.  The choices are basically limitless.  However only the Gold goes through this light related transformation.


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I did not have the nerve to use the AWC on the cello I made, but I did use the AWC red/brown on a guitar to age it. It worked very well. I made it look like it's 40  to 50 years old or more and very natural color. It warmed the top color and made the back glow. I learned a lot. Next time I'll know what to do on the viola. 

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 It is primarily red/brown, with a bit of gold. (80 to 20 ish) Applied only after the first balsam, and not added to any other step.

I am quite pleased with the results, so thanks!


The spruce is always a tricky part for me in this process, as it drinks the stuff up so easily. I wonder if maybe adding the color to the top later in the process (after step 3?) would mitigate some of the quick absorption and disperse the color a little more evenly?


Anyway, as always I have something I can easily work with as I add varnish and color.

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Red-brown AWC is quite 'strong' and can produce too much of an uneven effect on spruce. Can look too much like 'burning in'.


Tilting the balance to more Gold leaves a more harmonious colouring. after the green tinge has faded.


I agree.  I think the Aged Wood colors should be added in or after the  #2 Balsam which will make absorbtion more even and controlable.


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  • 3 months later...

I guess this thread would be a good place to ask.   Would there be any use for Kaolin in varnish making?  maybe as a filler with the ground?     Just wondering because there are kaolin mines near me and ocasionaly I see it scattered along the roads  

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Would there be any use for Kaolin in varnish making?  maybe as a filler with the ground?     


I tested Kaolin clay, gypsum, 5 micron silica, and fumed silica.  The fumed silica is different... it thickens without adding much weight.  The other particulate types add filler without thickening so much, and they all seemed to look quite similar: fairly transparent, but with some milkiness in heavier concentrations or thicker layers.  I tend to use the silicas, as the materials tend to be more strictly controlled, and they are (to my eye) more transparent, but not by a lot.

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