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Something that perplexes me is if the ground / seal is a continuous effective barrier against any colored varnish getting into the wood, how is it that red colored matter is found in the pores of some of the Cremonese instruments?

Because the Cremonese ground is not a continuous barrier.

Joe

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If it's not a continuous barrier, wouldn't the end grain and the perpendicular flame pores be susceptible to the colored varnish soaking into the pores and locking the reflectivity? Or does it just soak in the end grain in a minimal manner, compared to the parallel grain?

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Hi Bill- if you want yellow, turmeric and alcohol will give you a stable yellow. Also, i agree with Joe that a ground is porous, even a couple of coats of glue with color or for just removing hair fibers on the surface is porous. The color portion of my ground is alkanet in alcohol, spic oil, sometimes include turmeric for a little yellow, or anything else i might try (alkanet will color  linseed oil, turp, & alcohol reddish, is insoluble in water). Since this raises summer growth wood of the top plate  i'll use pumice and a wood block to smooth out the surface a few times. The final color of the inst has to do with what metal is present in the varnish, reddish brown if it contains lead drier, brown/black if iron present. fred

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Hi Bill- if you want yellow, turmeric and alcohol will give you a stable yellow. Also, i agree with Joe that a ground is porous, even a couple of coats of glue with color or for just removing hair fibers on the surface is porous. The color portion of my ground is alkanet in alcohol, spic oil, sometimes include turmeric for a little yellow, or anything else i might try (alkanet will color  linseed oil, turp, & alcohol reddish, is insoluble in water). Since this raises summer growth wood of the top plate  i'll use pumice and a wood block to smooth out the surface a few times. The final color of the inst has to do with what metal is present in the varnish, reddish brown if it contains lead drier, brown/black if iron present. fred

 

Are you suggesting a linseed oil ground with some alknet for a nice crimson color? Or glue with color?

Shouldn't it be a yellow / golden color for the ground? Like some gamboge or other yellow, then linseed oil?

What overall color expression do you achieve?

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The late del Gesù is way over towards the red, while the Montagnana is more yellow-brown. The Becker has a bit of brown... I'll bet it looks better in real life.

 

Addie,

The late de Gesu appears to be a highly pigmented...perhaps even overly pigmented ...varnish.  The Montagnana looks quite translucent, but thinned down by the use and abuse of age.  The Becker I see as the most pure orange.

Joe

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Like I said, Hunting Fiddles. You wouldn't want to take your good Strad into the bush, would you? If you set it down, the warm muted reds and browns would blend into the fall time undergrowth, and you could misplace it.  Fluorescent orange sticks out like a sore thumb. :D

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I don’t want this to come out wrong, but I think different cultures can develop different “color sense.”  Even on a certain web site that features classic Cremonese instruments, the pictures are brighter red-orange than we are used to seeing.  And that is the same region of the world that is making a LOT of inexpensive violins at the moment.  Perhaps Maestro Robson would comment?  And like Joe said, it’s also easy to do orange, hard to have subtle reds, yellows/golds, and browns all together.

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I don’t want this to come out wrong, but I think different cultures can develop different “color sense.”  Even on a certain web site that features classic Cremonese instruments, the pictures are brighter red-orange than we are used to seeing.  And that is the same region of the world that is making a LOT of inexpensive violins at the moment. 

Beats me!

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I think this has been mentioned before as a form of marketing hype.  I remember as a kid, after reading everything I could about Cremona varnish, I was somewhat shocked when I saw what it really looked like. The vivid descriptions offered by Charles Reade didn't help either, to prepare me for reality.

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My answer to this question is.......As I've read on here before, the average consumer is not looking at instruments the way that you folks do. Most people will shy away from old, used, repaired and worn. Bright and shiny (orange) says "new" to them. Orange may just be more appealing to parents who are buying these for their school age children. How many times have I told people that an instrument is "not a piece of furniture"?

 

Scott

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