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Cracked varnish colour matching?


Irishfiddler
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Hi, I just acquired a nice violin which I'd like to work on revarnishing.  Gallery here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/antiqueviolins_uk/sets/72157635944116984/

 

 

It looks like the varnish has been burned and is quite cracked and melted in parts.  I've removed some of the varnish on the back and the wood doesn't seem to have any damage to it.  

I'm wondering if anyone knows what kind of varnish was on the original from these photos?  It looks quit red and is black in some areas where it has been heavily damaged.  I'd like to try and create an old feel to the violin close to the feel of the most undamaged parts in the middle.

9965164554_1f4fb668ce_c.jpg

 

 

I'd also like to know where is Europe would be best to buy old looking oil violin varnish,  Would this be a good place to start? http://www.oldwood1700.com/

 

Thanks for any advice

 

 

 

 

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It looks as though you have found a suitable solvent to remove the finish.  Why not try reamalgamation instead of removal?  Looks a though there is plenty of finish to push around. If you are careful and patient, you might be surprised with the results, and you haven't completely removed the original finish. 

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It looks like the varnish has been burned and is quite cracked and melted in parts.  I've removed some of the varnish on the back and the wood doesn't seem to have any damage to it.  

I'm wondering if anyone knows what kind of varnish was on the original from these photos?  It looks quit red and is black in some areas where it has been heavily damaged.  I'd like to try and create an old feel to the violin close to the feel of the most undamaged parts in the middle.

 

 

It looks like a Krinner from Mittenwald from the mid 19th C. where they used creasote as a colour, and the original varnish is like that. You should just leave it alone. If you are desparate to re-varnish a violin, you should do the shity one you bought in the Scottish auction 
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The very first violin that I bought was a Krinner. I found it in a provisional auction. When I showed it to Charles Beare he told me it was a violin with built in customer resistance. A not very attractive, but absolutely typical varnish profile. Nevertheless, it is never advisable to re-varnish. Re-varnishing always devalues any instrument.

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I think the photos might make it look a lot nicer than it actually does,  it looks like some one used it to clean their carpet tbo.  Bits of hair stuck in the varnish, newspaper and other unknown dirt.  The varnish seems to be all congealed around the sides and totally warn off in other areas, not letting in much view of the natural wood below.  The soundpost has a lot of holes in it like some one tried 100 times to try to fit it without any luck.    Plus the violin its self cost hardly anything.  I don't think its a Kriner because it came in a cloth and card box which doesn't look that old or expensive and had a guitar string packet bought from Joseph Higham band instrument shop in Manchester.

 

 I'll try a basic set up to see what it sounds like and also would be interested if its a violin after Strad or Amati.  

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What makes you think that the cloth/ box  is original to the Violin?  Don't forget some of the guys replying to this thread have seen hundreds, maybe thousands of such Violins. They are expert in the field. I aren't, but they certainly are.

Anyway, it looks like it's too late (and probably too expensive) for the varnish to be saved by a professional restorer. You would have been better served if you had come on the forum and asked advice before messing with the varnish. Still, you aren't the first to think that you could improve on the original varnish.

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I talked to a luthier and he said that the varnish has probably been lade on in the opposite way so was causing the cracking.  He didn't really say if it was worth anything and suggested putting it on ebay instead of trying to match the varnish.  It seems in good condition so I'm going to try set it up when some parts come :D,  

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It does take some experience to bring back (not replace or polish out) a severely cracked surface that's gone "too far" (heat damage, etc.) without losing the texture, but it's worth the time.  Moving the varnish around isn't really the way to accomplish this.  That tends to destroy the crackle...

 

(Some on the board who attend the Oberlin restoration workshop may recognize this one)

 

post-17-0-02420900-1380587269_thumb.jpg

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Eee gads...  The short answer is carefully and over too much time.   :)  The fiddle was more than worth the effort, though.  

 

I don't have time to write the long answer...  but a synopsis is: Careful cleaning & removal of overcoats/polish/dirt/rosin, prodding the original varnish to lay down where it was originally, and some retouch to voids including matching of the crackle.

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It does take some experience to bring back (not replace or polish out) a severely cracked surface that's gone "too far" (heat damage, etc.) without losing the texture, but it's worth the time.  Moving the varnish around isn't really the way to accomplish this.  That tends to destroy the crackle...

 

(Some on the board who attend the Oberlin restoration workshop may recognize this one)

 

attachicon.gifprescorner.jpg

 

Amazing...My thought for the day.

 

If it 's been to Oberlein for show and tell is it possible to learn this craft, art  or science whatever it is called in an eviroment of study? Or is it a lifetime of knowledge failure and tricks of the trade that is being discussed? I know there are some very good manuals with hefty prices out there about restoration. But if someone wanted to learn basic retouch or how to make a crack invisible. How does one learn that craft?...Again is it from others doing this work and putting on workshops. And what about those doing this on a serious level with historic instruments? It really must be a very small community of workers with those skills. So the guilds are still sort of thriving?

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 Or is it a lifetime of knowledge failure and tricks of the trade that is being discussed? I know there are some very good manuals with hefty prices out there about restoration. But if someone wanted to learn basic retouch or how to make a crack invisible. How does one learn that craft?...Again is it from others doing this work and putting on workshops. And what about those doing this on a serious level with historic instruments?

You said it, a lifetime of failures, tricks and more.  I have attended many workshops etc and the more I learn, the more I realize there is no substitute for a lifetime of experience.   

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Amazing...My thought for the day.

 

If it 's been to Oberlein for show and tell is it possible to learn this craft, art  or science whatever it is called in an eviroment of study? Or is it a lifetime of knowledge failure and tricks of the trade that is being discussed? I know there are some very good manuals with hefty prices out there about restoration. But if someone wanted to learn basic retouch or how to make a crack invisible. How does one learn that craft?...Again is it from others doing this work and putting on workshops. And what about those doing this on a serious level with historic instruments? It really must be a very small community of workers with those skills. So the guilds are still sort of thriving?

 

Jeff W. is correct, of course... What I feel workshops do in general, and Oberlin offers in particular, is to give participants and opportunity to have access to fine restorers (with this experience) as well as to interact with others sharing ideas and experiences.  "Everyone teaches, everyone learns."

 

The workshop there is only a week long, but is packed with good stuff one can carry away.  Personally, I have never left the workshop without several new techniques, new materials, or new approaches picked up from both the guest instructors David and I arrange, and from participants.  I'd say it really takes the rest of the year to absorb the information and put these methods into practice.

 

Another advantage to attending these workshops is that one is exposed to the upper end of what's possible.  Again, personally speaking, this kind of exposure has had a profound effect on my own work over the years... nothing like seeing a truly fantastic job to inspire one to "raise the bar" on your own bench.

 

Touchup is always a subject of interest in Oberlin.  It's discussed in group sessions, and applied in individual cases.

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