sugar ground first?


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Im almost ready to start my varnishing. I bought the dvd by ricardo flores from IVC. He starts with a sugar ground then clear varnish. Would a gelatin coating or an arabic gum mix ground still be needed or benificial. If so would it come before or after the scorched sugar ground.

Ive read so much it makes my head spin and it all gets muddled together.

Kathy c in ky

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In his video he wets the wood first so the sugar solution doesn't soak too far into the wood. So a gelatin coating or gum Arabic would help seal the wood and accomplish the same thing. Maybe too well.

Gum Arabic also adds stiffness and a base for the growing to adhere to. Vernice Bianca which is a combination of Gum Arabic, egg albumen, sugar and honey is also a too sealer which is used.

Applying his burnt sugar on top of zGum Arabic would almost be a Vernice Bianca coating. I've actually just used Gum Arabic and egg albumen alonewit h no sugar as a sealer.

I tried making his scorched sugar but could never get enough color when applied to the wood.

Have you had any better luck making his sugar solution?

Joe

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I'm almost ready to start my varnishing .... I've read so much it makes my head spin.

 

 

Have you done any testing on scraps of wood? I'm always surprised by the way people spend all this time and effort on doing their woodwork, then want to start experimenting with their varnishing process on it. 

 

It all depends on what you are wanting to achieve, but it's a good idea to work this out on something unimportant first. 

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Yes Im testing on scrap.After 6 months of work Im not that silly to just wash anything on that is why Im asking these questions. I am very new and this is why I asked. I am more wondering on what the different solutions will do to the wood. 

So if I use the sugar I dont need the other or vice versa. This is what I was wondering.

My back is rather thin so I dont know if maybe the gum arabic mix would be better.

I scorched the sugar outside . I didnt add any water and really let it go . Then added water to the candy it made. I thought it had a nice yellow tint to it.

 

Kathy C in ky

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testing on scraps is a good thing,  however it doesn't always work the same way on the main thing that you are building as I recently found out.   I had a thinned down ground sealer that soaked into the test sample but when I put it on the project I was building it sealed so good I almost couldn't get anything else into the wood.  The scrap came from the project I'm working on but two different behaviors. 

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Have you done any testing on scraps of wood? I'm always surprised by the way people spend all this time and effort on doing their woodwork, then want to start experimenting with their varnishing process on it. 

 

It all depends on what you are wanting to achieve, but it's a good idea to work this out on something unimportant first. 

 

I think unless you've made 50 or so violins and settled on a approach to your own style of varnishing, isn't every varnish attempt an experiment?  No matter how many scraps of wood I try to varnish, the ground color is never the same and it always just looks different than when its on an actual violin.

 

Yes Im testing on scrap.After 6 months of work Im not that silly to just wash anything on that is why Im asking these questions. I am very new and this is why I asked. I am more wondering on what the different solutions will do to the wood. 

So if I use the sugar I dont need the other or vice versa. This is what I was wondering.

My back is rather thin so I dont know if maybe the gum arabic mix would be better.

I scorched the sugar outside . I didnt add any water and really let it go . Then added water to the candy it made. I thought it had a nice yellow tint to it.

 

Kathy C in ky

 

I got my sugar scorched as well but never could seem to get much color to adhere to the wood. But I didn't try gum arabic or Vernice Bianca on the wood as a sealer either.  Just water like the Flores did on the video.  Maybe with a dried surface of a sealer it would let the color "stick" better dissolving into the sealer a bit, rather than soaking into the wood.  Sounds like its worth a try.  I have a test strip of spruce already coated with Gum Aranic I could try that on.  And a bare one I could try using Flores wettign technique and compare the results using the same sugar mixture...

 

Joe

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Plagiarist ! :lol:  I suggest doing samples on scraps...I'm not sure of his procedure, however I am very familiar with sugar based coatings. Either toping it with gelatin or light shellac works well. 

 

Dark colors can be obtained by using various types of sugar that have trace color, once carmelized the trace elements will blend with the carbon from carmelization  and you can get very dark colors. Honeys work well...

 

It is a known fact that many people use gelatin/glue washes as a base coat. Some have issues with sugar, thinking that they are going to have a problem because of its hydroscopic nature, However it would be very similar to using a gelatin, which is also very hydroscopic, and once a hydroscopic material has been coated with a varnish, it generally remains very sound.

 

If you google "Jessupe sugar seal" I think you can find some info in old posts. We have hashed it out quite a bit here.

 

Good luck

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Thank you all. The test scrape I had looked nothing like what it turned out on the fiddle. The scrape was a pretty light golden and the fiddle a med golden brown but still pretty. I couldnt figure out why so dark. I got to thinking when I tried it yesterday all the caramelized sugar had not dissolved yet into the water. 

I am learning so much . Each mistake I write down in my next time book so I wont forget. 

Again many thanks and for the link jessupe suagr seal.

kathy c in ky

 

wow no more moderation on my posts I can post real time now.   :)

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Thank you all. The test scrape I had looked nothing like what it turned out on the fiddle. The scrape was a pretty light golden and the fiddle a med golden brown but still pretty. I couldnt figure out why so dark. I got to thinking when I tried it yesterday all the caramelized sugar had not dissolved yet into the water. 

I am learning so much . Each mistake I write down in my next time book so I wont forget. 

Again many thanks and for the link jessupe suagr seal.

kathy c in ky

 

wow no more moderation on my posts I can post real time now.   :)

One of the cool things about sugars is that it can be one of the best ways to put color directly onto the wood, it does not have "blotchy" issues like many stains do nor does it need any sizing coat to ensure even absorption rates as the water contained therein acts as a "grain popper/even'er outer" as it is applied. 

 

Sugar can also be used as "clear" coat, by simply not cooking it at all, just let it dissolve in water, then apply. This would be similar looks wise to using a blonde shellac as a base.

 

There are many interesting scientific things going on with sugar as a coating, one of the best is that once dry, it creates a super duper bond to the wood that is "anchored" deep and molecularly to the wood fibers, yet disallows varnish of any base {besides water} to penetrate past it. Or in other words the varnish will not soak into the wood past the sugar line.

 

It automatically creates a "nano matrix" resin shell that is dis-similar from any other "nano matrix" such as a salt in that it actually has a resin like quality whereas salts do not. This allows for a continuous "shell" that swaddles the entire piece. 

 

The real key is getting the mix right, not having too much sugar. When dry the wood should not have any sticky feel at room temp, nor any "shell" build up.

 

Have fun junior member, and remember as tempting as it is, do not lick you violin. :lol:

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Hi Jezzupe- Sorry that I have to question some of your statements.  Your statement sugar is the best way to stain wood is very questionable, there are many ways using natural stains that will create a beautiful uniform (which many times you don't want) color. Sugar is very hygroscopic, no question there, and that it "creates a super bond with wood fibers", can you provide the literature/pathway for this  reaction.  And the statement it automatically creates a "nano matrix" resin shell, I have never come across this in the related chemical literature as a descriptive term in resin literature. I try to keep my statements in varnish making and related subjects within the bounds of the published literature, and it is always tempting to go beyond that because you feel  what you think is true and it is posted. Sorry for asking for some clarification. fred

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One of the cool things about sugars is that it can be one of the best ways to put color directly onto the wood, it does not have "blotchy" issues like many stains do nor does it need any sizing coat to ensure even absorption rates as the water contained therein acts as a "grain popper/even'er outer" as it is applied. 

 

Sugar can also be used as "clear" coat, by simply not cooking it at all, just let it dissolve in water, then apply. This would be similar looks wise to using a blonde shellac as a base.

 

There are many interesting scientific things going on with sugar as a coating, one of the best is that once dry, it creates a super duper bond to the wood that is "anchored" deep and molecularly to the wood fibers, yet disallows varnish of any base {besides water} to penetrate past it. Or in other words the varnish will not soak into the wood past the sugar line.

 

It automatically creates a "nano matrix" resin shell that is dis-similar from any other "nano matrix" such as a salt in that it actually has a resin like quality whereas salts do not. This allows for a continuous "shell" that swaddles the entire piece. 

 

The real key is getting the mix right, not having too much sugar. When dry the wood should not have any sticky feel at room temp, nor any "shell" build up.

 

Have fun junior member, and remember as tempting as it is, do not lick you violin. :lol:

 

Interesting... Is there any similar evidence for how sealers like gelatin, or gum arabic, or Vernice Bianca react with the wood?  VB has a small sugar component plus gum arabic and egg albumen plus a little honey for good measure -- a little bit of everything and perhaps it is the right stuff (proper proportions of sugar as you say) for a good sealer coating and foundation for varnish.  :) 

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Hi Jezzupe- Sorry that I have to question some of your statements.  Your statement sugar is the best way to stain wood is very questionable, there are many ways using natural stains that will create a beautiful uniform (which many times you don't want) color. Sugar is very hygroscopic, no question there, and that it "creates a super bond with wood fibers", can you provide the literature/pathway for this  reaction.  And the statement it automatically creates a "nano matrix" resin shell, I have never come across this in the related chemical literature as a descriptive term in resin literature. I try to keep my statements in varnish making and related subjects within the bounds of the published literature, and it is always tempting to go beyond that because you feel  what you think is true and it is posted. Sorry for asking for some clarification. fred

 

Hi Jezzupe- Sorry that I have to question some of your statements.  Your statement sugar is the best way to stain wood is very questionable, there are many ways using natural stains that will create a beautiful uniform (which many times you don't want) color. Sugar is very hygroscopic, no question there, and that it "creates a super bond with wood fibers", can you provide the literature/pathway for this  reaction.  And the statement it automatically creates a "nano matrix" resin shell, I have never come across this in the related chemical literature as a descriptive term in resin literature. I try to keep my statements in varnish making and related subjects within the bounds of the published literature, and it is always tempting to go beyond that because you feel  what you think is true and it is posted. Sorry for asking for some clarification. fred

I believe the words I used were "one of the best ways" which would include whatever methods you are talking about. One of the best ways is not saying "the best way"

 

Wood is cellulose based , sugar is cellulose based. Sugar molecules in the individual form are one of the smallest individual molecules that there is, on the order of 1nm. The molecular bond occurs via confusion of similarity. Meaning this, the wood fibers themselves are chock full of naturally occurring sugar and biopolymers of sugar, when liquid sugar is applied to the surface of the wood it penetrates into the fibers. Sugar in its liquid form automatically reduces the crystal to its smallest individual form. By traveling into the wood, in its individual state, based on the woods structure being accepting of thess molecules as it naturally resides in the fibers, the 1nm individual molecules are able to literally slip into the wood fibers and in essence chemically bond to the surface. Sugars, beside salts, are one of the few naturally occurring products that have the ability to reduce to nano size by simply adding water. However unlike salts, sugars will form molecular interconnectivity or a matrix which have the ability to create a monolithic shell that not only encapsulates the entire piece assuming complete coating has occurred, but by not being soluable in oil solvents or alcohol solvent the monolithic shell creates a impenetrable barrier that does not allow other coating to get passed it.  Anyone who has seen candy glass or a candy coating sees this monolithic connectivity that is occurring on a molecular level.

 

Bruce Tai's findings related to his research discovered a "cystal nano matrix" at the deepest layers of Strads varnish. I'm pretty sure that he did not have an understanding of nanotechnology, so he was not manufacturing "nano crystal molecules"  and I would still like an answer as to what Strad would have available at his disposal that could form nano particles? besides salts, which do not have the ability to form a resinous shell. Sugar being considered a resin or not would depend on ones definitions and or parameters of what a resin is. Honey, Propyls, Tree saps are all sugar laden resins that are naturally occurring, that seems quite elementary.

 

I don't have any literature that I can steer you to because I do not think from my research that sugar as a varnish has been studied or written about much. Carlo found some very old recipes that contained sugar, but after that, I really have not seen much writings on the subject at all, so really unless there something I missed, there not much literature to steer you to. However the basic things I have outlined are "basic" science related to sugar.

 

Most of clothing is made from cotton, or a cotton mix, cotton a plant/wood like fiber will also demonstrate this molecular bond, we could call it a real world easy scientific test that proves the ability for sugars to bond to cellulose fibers by simply staining some cotton with something sugary, allowing it to set, and then seeing how many times you need to wash it in order to get the stains out. Sugar stains are a dry cleaners worst nightmare. There are many wedding dresses that show stains from sugar from the cake that are very old. sugar sticks to wood because really they are the same thing in many ways.

 

I don't think anything I'm saying is pseudo science nor am I trying to steer anyone into using sugar as I do not work for the "Sugar" council and receive compensation.

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Not meaning to hijack this thread, but a related idea is Wm. Johnston's recipe for cooking rosin with sugar.  I have done this. I use denatured alcohol to dissolve the dark matter which results. Then filter. I like this as a wood coloring, even as a sealer coat, when

more rosin is disssolved in the alcohol. Balsam would probably be better than rosin.

 

I presume after going through the cooking, you don't have sugar anymore, but you might. Johnston's recipe is here.

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Interesting... Is there any similar evidence for how sealers like gelatin, or gum arabic, or Vernice Bianca react with the wood?  VB has a small sugar component plus gum arabic and egg albumen plus a little honey for good measure -- a little bit of everything and perhaps it is the right stuff (proper proportions of sugar as you say) for a good sealer coating and foundation for varnish.  :) 

I think there is a similar quality, VB and glue washes also create a barrier coat based on the dissimilarity of bases going on top not having resolvent properties. Protein chains in glue and egg white are quite tiny and also can form a nice monolithic shell. Gum arabic is like a light thin resin, and so when the 3 are mixed together it makes a pretty decent ground imo.

 

I'm not a huge fan myself simply for the optics, I think it kills some of the "pop" in highly figured wood. Or when compared to sugar straight, it's maybe a little more "cloudy" looking because of the "haze" that the eggwhite glair imparts.

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Not meaning to hijack this thread, but a related idea is Wm. Johnston's recipe for cooking rosin with sugar.  I have done this. I use denatured alcohol to dissolve the dark matter which results. Then filter. I like this as a wood coloring, even as a sealer coat, when

more rosin is disssolved in the alcohol. Balsam would probably be better than rosin.

 

I presume after going through the cooking, you don't have sugar anymore, but you might. Johnston's recipe is here.

I think its a pretty cool idea, I've messed around with incorporating sap into it. Sugar can be used in many ways and it's a good thing to have in your bag of tricks

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Hi Jezuppe-  I don't want to get into a semantic argument, but I still feel your statements lack sources such as personal observation, clear literature reference  to some of your statements. I spent my working life as a biologist at a large Fed laboratory  and  reviewed papers being submitted for publication in the field I specialized, so I do have some understanding what constitutes acceptable or questionable statements. That junior MN member initiating the post at least realizes to also consider my posts in making any conclusions. Do you agree?  fred

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Hi Jezuppe-  I don't want to get into a semantic argument, but I still feel your statements lack sources such as personal observation, clear literature reference  to some of your statements. I spent my working life as a biologist at a large Fed laboratory  and  reviewed papers being submitted for publication in the field I specialized, so I do have some understanding what constitutes acceptable or questionable statements. That junior MN member initiating the post at least realizes to also consider my posts in making any conclusions. Do you agree?  fred

I think if the poster has questions that she/he should contact the guy who sold the dvd and varnish system if they want direct questions answered about the system they paid for.

 

I'm not sure why you would think that anything I say should be held to scientific standards that the Fed or any other body requires for publishing, this was a violin making forum last I checked. But from what I have gleened you seem to have some problems with my statements. I'll try a q and a style going over some of the things you seem to have issues with

 

1. Is sugar a resin, technically no, because it is water soluable, but it practicality it is in that it can be suspended in a vehicle and once dry forms a film/shell

 

2. "nano crystal matrix" . It is a fact that the average sugar particle is 1nm, it is a fact that sugar is a crystal, it is also a fact that when submerged in water , once dissolved from its refined state, that it reduces it down to its smallest size. It is also a fact that when liquefied and then spread,poured,applied to an object or in this case say a glass plate, that once dry, sugar naturally will connect and form a continuous film, As I said this is easy to observe or seems like pretty common knowledge for anyone who has made candy. So its nano { 1nm} its crystal and because it forms continuous carbohydrate chains, it connects...ie forms a matrix...is there anything you disagree with?

 

3. Bonding "super duper" well to wood..

 

Ok one more time. If I have pile sugar A and pile sugar B, and then pour X amount of water into pile A {in a cup} and then pour it onto pile B in a cup, assuming there is enough base liquid to submerge pile B...We could determine the following are most likely true. 1. pile B has now been reduced from its refined state to its nano state...ie. it dissolved.

 

2. that once pile A and pile B have been mixed in a liquid that it would be impossible to separate the two back into their respective piles, or once A and B are mixed, they equal C and will never go back to the way they were. Meaning you will never be able to separate the actual molecules from C that were specifically in A and B

 

3. Once mixed A and B will form connectivity and in essence be the same solution through and through.

 

4. It is a common knowledge fact that sugar resides in wood in significant quantities in different states. It is also a fact that sugars in wood will react with water the same as they would if they were extracted, they will solvent while wet

 

5. If I take a cup that has an appropriate amount of sugar water solution {cup A} and apply it to the wood {cup B...ie suspended sugar residing in the wood, hydrated by bound and free water molicules} that when the 2 meet, they will do just what they would do if you mixed them in cups...or a and b now equal c...or in other words they mix, bond and are now chemically interlocked or stuck together, and or your sugar water has now bonded to the sugar that was in the wood which is bonded to the fibers. And thus as I have seen used so many times in scientific lit, a "super duper bond is formed" and or the sugar "slipped" into the fiber

 

all this seems quite elementary, provable, researchable and all that, but I still have no idea why you would expect me, an instrument maker/contractor, to make statements that would pass a scientific review panel? I don't think I suggested I was a scientist to the poster or anyone here, and I guess your pointing it out because you feel that I am playing one on the internet :lol:

 

Anyways if you have any debates over any of the seeming common facts just ask. I'll try to explain, but somehow it doesn't seem like it needs much explanation.

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I guess I should caveat: tried it all: scorched sugar is for poop.

haven't tried it on poop yet, but there's still time. And actually, I'm not a huge fan of putting color directly onto the wood. I prefer lightly cooked sugar that is much more of a clear coat, or even just heated in a pan for a bit with water. It can make nice dark colors if you use honeys and things with trace colors, or scorch table sugar, and as well as it works, I don't often if ever apply color straight to instruments. Works great as a stain for furniture, trim,floors and such. But I like instruments to have clear color sealers and then impart colors in the succeeding layers.

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I have used sugar and it works great, some dark sugars benefit from clarification.

 

One italian recipe from the 1700's

 

Clarified Sugar : it is clean Sugar. This is the manner to clarify it. Take four or five pounds of Sugar at a time, make it liquefy with clear water, and place it above fire, firstly having beaten an Egg white into it; once it boils, it will rise as if it is going to exit the pot, to stop the pride, pour over it a little cold water, when by the second time it raises, remove it from fire, and leave it to rest for a quarter of an hour, and while the boiling lowers; now it will sweetly foam, and remove the black fatness that lays above ; pass the Sugar through a humid white napkin, and this way it will be clarified. 

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Chris is starting to sound like me. Bad night?

I was trying to figure out how to gently suggest looking into mineral grounds, gums, and protein insulations (which I have tried) over burned sugar (which I have not tried). It is difficult to come up with an argument when most available 'how-tos' do not cover the pros and cons of every idea and neither can I, although I might think I have some awareness in this area. But then, who doesn't? I understand wanting to have a complete method just ... presented, even if it may not be the greatest. One argument. ..sort of...is that Sacconi did a variation with propolis, honey, and burnt sugar. His varnish, arguably, already hasn't held up.

There is a document on the old wood varnish site that covers the grounding options in pretty plain language. I recommend reading it and related documents and then simply playing around with materials on tanned scrap.

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I think there is a similar quality, VB and glue washes also create a barrier coat based on the dissimilarity of bases going on top not having resolvent properties. Protein chains in glue and egg white are quite tiny and also can form a nice monolithic shell. Gum arabic is like a light thin resin, and so when the 3 are mixed together it makes a pretty decent ground imo.

 

I'm not a huge fan myself simply for the optics, I think it kills some of the "pop" in highly figured wood. Or when compared to sugar straight, it's maybe a little more "cloudy" looking because of the "haze" that the eggwhite glair imparts.

 

Thanks for the reply... I hadn't considered the slight opaqueness the egg glair had introduced.  Initial application does bring out the flame detail but perhaps other sealers would bring it out more.  I've seen some instruments with with what I perceive as what you call "pop", and they often strike me as being too much of a good thing.  Like turning up the contrast setting in a photo.  At this early stage in my varnishing experiments, I haven't had to worry about that yet.  :D

 

Joe

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  I've seen some instruments with with what I perceive as what you call "pop", and they often strike me as being too much of a good thing. .  :D

 

Joe

 

Somehow I can't see that ever being too much of a good thing.  I love to see that pop like a polished jewel.   :)

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