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sabaugher

Red coloring agents for violin spirit varnish

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Hi guys!

 

So, I'm doing a retouch on an old trade violin that has spirit varnish. I know that it's somewhat futile to discuss colors without actually showing an example (I'll be approved for pictures soon!), but I'm looking for a varnish that's deep cherry red... much more red than brown. I've thought of making my own 1704 varnish and adding dragon's blood.... but then I saw that one could also use henna, or cochineal, or madder root.... or I could just buy red pre-made varnish from Kremer pigments, and maybe some brown in case I need to adjust the color. 

 

So basically, now I'm overwhelmed with choices. Does anyone, from experience, have some endorsements for a nice deep but vibrant red? Anyone know what would typically be used to color a cheap varnish red.... so maybe I can use the same thing or something close to the original? 

 

Also.... how much variance is there in the types of reds the common red colorants yield? 

 

This is where some first hand experience or advice from those with lots of experience would come in handy!

Thank you much for any thoughts you all may have!!!! ;)

 

-Sarah

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Welcome Sarah...I'm looking forward to your photo's. Sorry my experience with varnishing is with oil and new making. If I did have an opportunity to learn spirit touch up I would jump on it. Best to you.

-Ernie

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Hi guys!

So, I'm doing a retouch on an old trade violin that has spirit varnish. I know that it's somewhat futile to discuss colors without actually showing an example (I'll be approved for pictures soon!), but I'm looking for a varnish that's deep cherry red... much more red than brown. I've thought of making my own 1704 varnish and adding dragon's blood.... but then I saw that one could also use henna, or cochineal, or madder root....

Hi Sarah,

When retouching, colors are usually separate from the varnish proper - there are times when you want to tint the overcoat however. I recommend that you check out this thread:http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/315136-dry-brush-technique/ It will give you a good grasp on "a" method (there are many) it's a reasonable starting point.

If you really want to get back to basics, any color and opacity (well almost any opacity) can be achieved with the three primary colors in both dyes and pigments - however, many restorers will find specific colors they like to work with. Dyes by themselves have a tendency to look like Kool-aid (which maybe okay on some french fiddles), and pigments by themselves can come off looking like a coat of paint.

Jerry

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Sarah,

You may need more than just red and brown. Varnish colors are often a complex mix of several colors. That's one of the things that makes retouching so difficult. The layered approach with pigments and dyes, sealed in with clear overcoats, allows you to adjust thin color layers, and it also allows you to remove layers if you're not happy with a particular step.

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Thanks to everyone for your great suggestions! You guys are awesome!

 

Doug, I think you're right. It's been a while but I used to paint with oils, and I can see how getting the right color from combining layers of color... not just mixing individual colors in a single coat... will be challenging. And just mixing many different starting colors to get a final color will be interesting too. But it sounds like fun! 

 

Jerry, thanks so much for the dry brush technique link! It makes a lot of sense. Thanks for giving me a head's up so I don't get that runny look!

 

Michael, PERFECT link. Thanks! Now I can get a couple different colors and try to mix them as needed. The price is great and will allow me to get a grab-bag :D

 

Again, you guys are great! Thanks!

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