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MikeC

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I changed my mind about using bass wood and used some maple left over from making the neck.  Glued it last night and trimmed it up flush with the existing neck root / heel this morning..  The black color is from chalk fitting except I used carbon but I think it will clean up well enough.  

Looks like I have some work to do cleaning up the edges of the fingerboard too.  

 

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The neck is fitted and ready for gluing,  however I made the mistake of permanently gluing the fingerboard and don't really want to take it off.  So I'm thinking I may need to put some finish on the belly  before gluing the neck on while that area is still accessible.   I could at least put ground on the belly first then glue the fingerboard and then varnish.   I could reach a varnish brush as far as I can under the fingerboard with a small brush, perhaps leaving some of it unvarnished Strad style.  

What all this means is that the next step in the process is I have to finally decide exactly what I'm going to use as a substance of first contact,  a ground,  and whether or not to suntan it for some darkening.   There have been so many ideas on ground here on MN over the years that it becomes difficult to decide what to use.  

I'm pretty much settled on a stain and protein like substance but then what to use as a clear coat to bring out the grain and reflectivity of the wood...  amber shellac has a nice color or there is copal varnish,  amber varnish,  straight linseed oil,  uncolored rosin oil varnish... the list goes on and on and on like that rabbit with the battery it just keeps going.   And speaking of rabbits, there's that too... 

 

Here it is with the maple piece glued in for the extra length.   I probably should have turned it 180 degrees for a better grain match but oh well it's good enough.  

 

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29 minutes ago, MikeC said:

What all this means is that the next step in the process is I have to finally decide exactly what I'm going to use as a substance of first contact,  a ground,  and whether or not to suntan it for some darkening.   There have been so many ideas on ground here on MN over the years that it becomes difficult to decide what to use.  

I'm pretty much settled on a stain and protein like substance but then what to use as a clear coat to bring out the grain and reflectivity of the wood...  amber shellac has a nice color or there is copal varnish,  amber varnish,  straight linseed oil,  uncolored rosin oil varnish... the list goes on and on and on like that rabbit with the battery it just keeps going.   And speaking of rabbits, there's that too... 

That's it in a nutshell, there are too many things on the list. No matter what you do there will always be different opinions on what and what not to use.

Some don't mind a little unevenly stained or blotchy spruce top. Personally I try to avoid that. Some want the stained maple to be really dark coming close to burning the figure. Still others want the wood to be transparent and sparkle and prefer no pigmentation while others prefer "more body" and use pigments...and as you said it goes on and on.

The choice is yours...I know you know this Mike but whatever you choose try it out on samples first because stripping sucks, especially these days since they took the good strippers off the market.

 

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yeah I saved all the cutoff scraps from the plates and the neck so I have plenty to test with.   For the clear coat I was thinking bout the manilla copal that I have.   One time I tried to heat it up melt it to make an oil varnish but it turned into a hard brown mass and I threw it out.   But copal is soluble in alcohol and now I have linseed oil that is also soluble in alcohol so if I mix the two then that would be a copal / oil spirit varnish..  maybe.    Like you say,  test samples!   

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I like the idea of giving the wood some kind of base color redish brownish that may complement the eventual color of the varnish, perhaps also mitigate the whiteness of the wood along with some sun tanning.  So I'm thinking some kind of extract of madder and or cochineal or a combination of the two.  Since cochineal is a bug there will be some protein presence but not a deliberate separate sealing coat just as a byproduct of the ingredients.  Something like an alcohol tincture perhaps.  I know others have mentioned a tincture in other threads and some old samples I have look good. I also haven't ruled out something chemical.  I tested out some nitrates or nitrites I forget which but it darkened the samples and had a good appearance.   I definitely don't want to put anything on it that would burn the flames of the maple or make the spruce blotchy.   

I was reading the translation of Librum Segreti de Butegha  and it said to use gum tragacanth as a sealer but that is water soluble so I don't think I want to go that route.   

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  • 2 weeks later...

Neck root close to finished,  made this after watching Davide Sora video.   Also a small jar of madder tincture.  

 

madder tincture.jpg

Neck root.jpg

 

Also we went to the North Ga mountains this weekend.  Here's Ice dripping off the side of the cliffs by the road. 

 

Ice.jpg

 

And I probably shouldn't show this because I don't have much artistic talent but while we were up in the mountains we did some painting. 

 

painting.jpg

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I have some lac dye on order.  I was thinking of how to use it as a coloring agent in varnish.  Still thinking of using a spirit varnish with alcohol soluble linseed oil and other alcohol soluble resins.  Lac dye is water soluble but I don't know if it will dissolve in alcohol.  

The madder tincture has a nice effect on maple but causes grain reversal on a spruce test sample. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

A few pics.  The maple scrap turned out kinda dark, still very reflective though. The medulary rays really stand out although it doesn't have much curly grain.   I'm not sure how accurate the color is in pics, in person I would call it sort of a bronze color.   Same for the handle for my sliding bevel, now that has some nice curly figure in it.  

It's not bad but it's kind of monotone.  I was hoping for some deep red in the dark part of the curly figure and that didn't happen in these tests.  

At least it's not paper white anymore!  :D 

ground2.jpg

ground1.jpg

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Testing some varnish on a sample.  Someone sent me a small amount of varnish some time ago.  I think it has madder lake in it but not sure, looks about the right color for that though.   At first I thought my ground made the wood look too dark but maybe not.  It's not quite what I envisioned but it's not bad.  So this is an oil varnish but I'm still considering a spirit varnish.   I would kind of like to get a hint of gold in the ground.  The book I was reading mentioned Barberry bark for a yellow but I couldn't find that so I have some fustic on order since it seems to be a similar and related plant material but this offwhite with brown tones looks good.    

Using a white towel as a background helps give the sample an accurate color in the picture and shows that it no longer has that fresh wood whiteness that is undesirable.  

Varnish Sample.jpg

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My version of a Rorschach ink blot test.  On the left we have Merda di cavallo e piscio di coniglio.  Next to that a madder tincture of sorts which is completely not what I was expecting,  then lac dye and far right is Old Fustic.    Just playing around with colors.  

Colors.jpg

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Playing around with finishes.  A sanding block and the marker that I use for the plate edge overhang.  

I'm trying to figure out how to get a video off my phone and onto youtube.

This piece has a lot more curly figure than my fiddle back so it looks pretty dramatic.  I like the good contrast but I didn't get the red changing to gold that I was after. 

ground2.jpg

and this has the same ground but also has some red varnish on it. 

 

marker.jpg

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Thanks!  It's not a bad look,  nice darkness in the wood, mitigates the stark whiteness, enhanced contrast in the maple figure,  but still not quite the effect I'm after so the testing continues....

At least I'll have the best looking sanding block in the neighborhood!  :D

 

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I have decided to use a varnish that someone sent me that has madder lake in it.  It's a nice looking red.  So wanting to get some color into the wood that complements the color of the varnish I put a red dye (madder tincture) directly on the wood as a sort of base color.    It's not so noticeable on the back picture but is apparent on the end pic that shows the neck mortice for a color reference with the sides.   I applied this on the spruce also, there is no apparent blotchyness.  It does have some slight bearclaw figure so that is more apparent now but I think it will look good finished.  

A test sample with horse/rabbit sauce looks good and I think when I put uncolored varnish on it as a ground it will look even better.

The linoxin varnish that I was thinking of using will have to wait for a future build as I need to do more testing and experimenting to determine the best way of doing that. 

This morning I had a scare.  I was sitting at my desk and heard a loud pop.  I thought oh no, one of the glue seams popped open but upon close examination all glue joints seem solid.  So I'm not sure what that sound was! 

Here's the back, side and a sample with varnish. 

 

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side 2.jpg

Varnish Sample.jpg

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Here's the belly.  Darker stain under the fingerboard area since I'm going to glue the neck on and will leave that area kind of unfinished old Cremona style but wanted to put something under there so it doesn't look bright white.   What appears to be blotchiness is the bearclaw figure.  

belly.jpg

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