Sign in to follow this  
sabaugher

First time varnishing.... grounds?

Recommended Posts

Hi guys!

 

So, I'm getting ready to varnish a fresh, bare patch of spruce on a violin top. But, it's my (shaky) understanding that one must first coat the bare wood with something to "seal" it-- meaning, something that will 1. Protect the wood if the upper layers of varnish are ever worn off, and 2. keep the varnish from soaking all the way through the wood and stiffening it, thus diminishing its tonal qualities. 

 

I'm about to do my first varnish, a simple spirit varnish (with some pre-mixed varnishes.... because this is a rush-project for a friend of mine who needs to violin soon)...... what would be a good ground coat for a beginner?

 

I have hide glue at my disposal, but I've heard that diluting that and using it as a ground coat tends to muffle the tonal qualities of the wood. I also have tripoli powder, sandarac, and methylated spirits at my disposal. Could I rub tripoli powder into the wood as a filler/sealant? Or could I use a VERY dilute coating of sandarac dissolved in spirits?

 

 

Advice is very much appreciated! I've not been able to find a lot of background on this topic that is geared toward beginner varnishers (rather, I see a lot of writing arguing about Cremonese techniques :P .....). 

 

Thanks, guys!!!!!

 

- Sarah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Choose something which gives it a little color, and then proceed. The problem with choosing between soaking stuff in, not letting stuff soak in, is that there are folks who get fantastic results on both sides of the fence. If you're going to soak stuff in, make sure your woodwork is beautifully scraped on the endgrain, to avoid burning. If you're going to seal the wood off, your tripoli with some oil varnish isn't a bad start. Neither is hide glue. I used violin rosin dissolved in alcohol for my first few forays.

Try something! You can always take it off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys!

 

So, I'm getting ready to varnish a fresh, bare patch of spruce on a violin top. But, it's my (shaky) understanding that one must first coat the bare wood with something to "seal" it-- meaning, something that will 1. Protect the wood if the upper layers of varnish are ever worn off, and 2. keep the varnish from soaking all the way through the wood and stiffening it, thus diminishing its tonal qualities. 

 

I'm about to do my first varnish, a simple spirit varnish (with some pre-mixed varnishes.... because this is a rush-project for a friend of mine who needs to violin soon)...... what would be a good ground coat for a beginner?

 

I have hide glue at my disposal, but I've heard that diluting that and using it as a ground coat tends to muffle the tonal qualities of the wood. I also have tripoli powder, sandarac, and methylated spirits at my disposal. Could I rub tripoli powder into the wood as a filler/sealant? Or could I use a VERY dilute coating of sandarac dissolved in spirits?

 

 

Advice is very much appreciated! I've not been able to find a lot of background on this topic that is geared toward beginner varnishers (rather, I see a lot of writing arguing about Cremonese techniques :P .....). 

 

Thanks, guys!!!!!

 

- Sarah

You say you are going to use spirit varnish?  A thin shellac coat,  maybe two, put on lightly.  Perhaps the first one could be clear or slightly yellow.  They say not to put spirit over oil.  I never tried that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought that over polishing (French Polishing) was pretty common in the 19 th century. Some must have been Oil under that Spirit. 

If you have a very light coloured Shellac, seal with that. I'm not sure about Sandarac, I've only mixed it with other resins in Spirit. Isn't Sandarac the one that scratches White? May not matter if it's used just as a sealer. More experienced users will know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys!

 

So, I'm getting ready to varnish a fresh, bare patch of spruce on a violin top. But, it's my (shaky) understanding that one must first coat the bare wood with something to "seal" it-- meaning, something that will 1. Protect the wood if the upper layers of varnish are ever worn off, and 2. keep the varnish from soaking all the way through the wood and stiffening it, thus diminishing its tonal qualities. 

 

I'm about to do my first varnish, a simple spirit varnish (with some pre-mixed varnishes.... because this is a rush-project for a friend of mine who needs to violin soon)...... what would be a good ground coat for a beginner?

 

I have hide glue at my disposal, but I've heard that diluting that and using it as a ground coat tends to muffle the tonal qualities of the wood. I also have tripoli powder, sandarac, and methylated spirits at my disposal. Could I rub tripoli powder into the wood as a filler/sealant? Or could I use a VERY dilute coating of sandarac dissolved in spirits?

 

 

Advice is very much appreciated! I've not been able to find a lot of background on this topic that is geared toward beginner varnishers (rather, I see a lot of writing arguing about Cremonese techniques :P .....). 

 

Thanks, guys!!!!!

 

- Sarah

Hi Sarah- if you gave more detail about colors of wood and varnish you would get more helpful response. There are members on MN who could make a counterfeit dollar better than the original. fred

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys, 

 

Thanks for the responses!

 

In answer to Fred, I'm going for a ruby red varnish. 

 

Chris, thanks for the perspective and ideas! The hide glue method would be really convenient for me, since I already have some mixed up. If I used a thin, dilute coat of hide glue, should I add a colorant? What would you recommend? Also, the violin rosin in alcohol sounds interesting. Would you recommend light or dark? I have a range of scraps left over: dark brown, orange, golden and light yellow. Which do you think would work best as a base for a red varnish?

 

Thanks so much! You guys are the best!!!!

 

Yaay! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys, 

 

Thanks for the responses!

 

In answer to Fred, I'm going for a ruby red varnish. 

 

Chris, thanks for the perspective and ideas! The hide glue method would be really convenient for me, since I already have some mixed up. If I used a thin, dilute coat of hide glue, should I add a colorant? What would you recommend? Also, the violin rosin in alcohol sounds interesting. Would you recommend light or dark? I have a range of scraps left over: dark brown, orange, golden and light yellow. Which do you think would work best as a base for a red varnish?

 

Thanks so much! You guys are the best!!!!

 

Yaay! :D

 

Sarah,

The deeper the red in the top coats the more likely you are to see the wood underneath as "white" or "pink".  To avoid this try something darker [actually golder or browner] under the red varnish.  Dewaxed orange shellac is good.  I would avoid adding pigments to the shellac but there are a lot of alcohol soluble dyes.  This one may be useful to support the ruby red: lac dye :[http://shop.kremerpigments.com/en/search.html?page=search&page_action=query&desc=on&sdesc=on&keywords=lac+dye]

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For wht it's worth, I refinished a cello a couple of years ago, purchased all my supplies from International Violin.  One of the recomendations was to use shellac as ground.  I used an amber colored shellac and then seven coats of gold oil varnish and two coats of clear oil varnish.  The shellac seemed to work pretty good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.