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nathan slobodkin

Transparent brown pigments

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Oded mentioned Nussbaum. Some French makers use cassals, which I think is the same thing, to add brown to the varnish. They stipple it on with a sponge between coats, very thin. Done well, it can be almost completely transparent, and add  colour and depth.

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The mention of nano oxides leads us toward a discussion of pigment particle size and the relation to transparency/opacity,  I have recently had good results with red instruments on which I used some alizarin which was sold as being unusually finely ground. But unless i am mistaken Mike Molnar who knows a lot about optics and light transmission claims this is the wrong direction to go in. Dr. Kremer on the other hand told me that the finer particles allow light to bend around them while the larger "rocks" block the light. I am afraid I am too ignorant of physics to understand what he was saying but as I mentioned my own recent experience makes me want to try these nano ground earths. 

 

EMViolins. Who or what is v88? Can I get some of this stuff from there?

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Nathan,

 

I'm probably muddying the waters but I tried using the Old Wood tube colors and liked them.  Their Walnut Brown is sort of a Brescian brown color.  The tube colors are expensive though.  I've never tried the nano brown oxide.  I would be curious to hear how that goes.  

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A photo, shot through Schmidt's nano iron oxide mixed with varnish, on glass. I thought the transparency was pretty impressive. (At the edges, the varnish surface had wrinkled a little). Ordinary iron oxide (like from Kremer) was much muddier.

 

IMG_2750%20mod.jpg

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The mention of nano oxides leads us toward a discussion of pigment particle size and the relation to transparency/opacity,  I have recently had good results with red instruments on which I used some alizarin which was sold as being unusually finely ground. But unless i am mistaken Mike Molnar who knows a lot about optics and light transmission claims this is the wrong direction to go in. Dr. Kremer on the other hand told me that the finer particles allow light to bend around them while the larger "rocks" block the light. I am afraid I am too ignorant of physics to understand what he was saying but as I mentioned my own recent experience makes me want to try these nano ground earths. 

 

EMViolins. Who or what is v88? Can I get some of this stuff from there?

Nathan, I sent you an email to the address on your website.

 

John

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Nathan

 

If you happen to gain access to some of the nano brown iron oxide dispersions would you please share your source. My recent inquiry with violins88 was that he has no more supply of the brown and is not interested in selling these pigments anymore.

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Behlen makes a series of B370 'touch-up powders' which are claimed to be soluble in oil-based and shellac-based mediums.  There are some nice, practical browns in the collection as well as burnt umber and burnt sienna.   I have not tried them; so, I am just passing this on.  They are not very expensive

Mike D

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I washed out of chemistry after my first year of college, but have liked my results making ferric chloride rosinate, which could be used to color an existing varnish (sorta like a lake) or cooked into linseed oil to make a very nice, transparent oil varnish. Others here have made and used such, including Don Noon, who may share some thoughts should he choose. I told a real chemist what I was doing and he claimed that the color should remain stable, but some have had experiences with unstable iron (not sure if ferrous or ferric) rosinate varnishes blackening over time, so your mileage may vary. 

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On 8/26/2014 at 6:51 PM, nathan slobodkin said:

I am wondering what others have used for brown pigments that don't add opacity.

 

I have accidently made a nice brown varnish by cooking dark turpentine but don't care for the toughness of the film. I'm currently using paler or redder varnishes and adding pigments to add strength to the color but find that the brown oxides tend to look muddy (perhaps because they are, in fact, mud).

 

I have tried asphalt in the past and like the color but fear the long term problems associated with that additive such as bad crackle and drying issues.

 

Joe Robson has suggested bone black but i find it a bit too, well, black.

 

Any suggestions?

 

 

 

Best brown you will get is Hemp resin brown. Just find some dude with a well used glass pipe and tell him you'll clean it for him. Soak it alc until all the resin melts into the alc, then strain well.

I have yet to experiment with it with turp.

This hemp/alc can be used straight as a tincture alc dye, it may be cut and thinned or it can be evaporated and thickened. 

The actual resin itself has interesting properties in that it is solvable in all bases, water,oil,alc. It can be used straight, or it can be added to shellac to modify it.

The color is primarily coming from carbon but the resin is somewhat like a plant derived creosote that has more to the color than plain old gilsonite for example. 

I would generally apply a few thinned coats and then coat with waxfree shellac as a base coat...

Its a super cool brown that has lots of gold in it

This is a pic I just took of a super funky thing I built when I was just starting to get into all this, so this is just hemp alc with shellac ontop....It's about 13 years old, not well taken care of, but it does show it's stability, it's cool golden color, how it "evens" things out as the oak sides and maple back were quite different base colors

 

edit; this resin/alc mix can further be modified by adding it to other natural tints, such as puirple thundercloud leaf, which is purple at first but then turns brown

CIMG0166.JPG

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3 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Dang, pot really does fix everything.

ya of course I don't need to find some dude, I am that dude :lol:

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3 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I washed out of chemistry after my first year of college, but have liked my results making ferric chloride rosinate, which could be used to color an existing varnish (sorta like a lake) or cooked into linseed oil to make a very nice, transparent oil varnish. Others here have made and used such, including Don Noon, who may share some thoughts should he choose. I told a real chemist what I was doing and he claimed that the color should remain stable, but some have had experiences with unstable iron (not sure if ferrous or ferric) rosinate varnishes blackening over time, so your mileage may vary. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, David Beard said:

Though less fun, the pot idea is closely related to using asphalt or mummy as transparent browns.

The best tars from pipes and chimneys are low in soot. Carbon is an opaque pigment, but the resinous tars can be very transparent. The issues, I imagine, are stability and chemical compatibility in a varnish.

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59 minutes ago, Michael_Molnar said:

 

 

Right, though that's using the original method, using ferrous sulfate rather than the later method using ferric chloride. The chemistry, while similar, is not the same. Time will tell - my sample pieces remain the same, though it's only been three years.

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1 hour ago, Michael_Molnar said:

The best tars from pipes and chimneys are low in soot. Carbon is an opaque pigment, but the resinous tars can be very transparent. The issues, I imagine, are stability and chemical compatibility in a varnish.

So many things fell out of favor with the industrialization of pigments, paints, and binders.  

Asphaltum for example is mentioned for artistic use as a warm transparent brown from Roman times through the 18th century.  Then all of a sudden it isn't good enough. Suddenly it's inferior and unstable.

Same as saphron, a princely prime color until industrialization, then phew!

I tend to think these dismals have more to do with commercail motive and a forgetting of how to use these them well, rather than any true failing in these centuries proven materials.

 

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11 minutes ago, David Beard said:

So many things fell out of favor with the industrialization of pigments, paints, and binders.  

Asphaltum for example is mention for artistic use as a warm transparent brown from Roman times through the 18th century.  Then all of a sudden it isn't good enough. Suddenly it's inferior and instable.

Same as saphron, a princely prime color until industrialization, then phew!

I tend to think these dismals have more to do with a combination of forgetting how to use these things well, and a contrary commercial motivation from industry, than any true failing in these centuries proven materials.

 

Personally I feel one of the things when using these more natural types of colorants is to be able to factor in "the change" that many varnishes can go through as time goes by. There are 3 levels of color change happening in most cases, we have how the varnish and or any "liquids" applied to the wood and how they react with uv and time, then we have the wood itself and how it acts, and finally we have the initial surface of the wood where both the varnish and wood together meet, all three of these "layers" contribute to the final aged look. I;m a firm believer that many of the "classic" instruments are simply "clear coats" that have aged along with the wood, thus demonstrating the colors we see today. I am aware that "pigments" have been found, but something tells me that people who are "coloring" violins now, to get them to look like "strads" will have "dark' looking violins after they are dead and gone.

I would add that in my experience with the coatings industry that the chemical and petro kings who supply all the toxic goo to the "industry" are very much behind the "better living through chemistry" and are responsible for many "good old fashioned things" to be phased out. Anyone who knows the history of Hemp knows it was intentionally demonized via constant propaganda in order to stop it's threat to multiple industries.

IMO we should have many more Joe Robsons than we do, but I'm just glad we at least have the one Joe, because the more you understand what he does and provides to "us" the more you know how precious what he does is to the community.

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19 hours ago, Michael_Molnar said:

I recently examined PBr 25 Mahogony Brown, and like it. Very transparent and lightfast. 

http://www.artiscreation.com/brown.html#PBr25

Kremer sells it.

 

I haven't used it on an instrument yet, but a sample on glass looks nice.  It doesn't look very "brown" to me, but more of a an orange brown.  

Since it has been ~5 years since my earlier posts in this thread, a few updates are in order.

-Gilsonite:  Still no negative effects for my sample on glass, or the instruments I've used it on.  Still one of my favorites if I want to tone down the color.   It does slow down the drying, but it does dry just fine, and you don't need much of it.  I understand Gilsonite was used in the original black of the Ford Model T, although as a lacquer and not an oil varnish.

-Iron rosinate (per Michelman):  I just started experimenting with this 5 years ago, but it has become one of my favorites.  It starts out as brown, but during drying turns a nice reddish color.

Both the Gilsonite and iron rosinate are fairly dark colors.  Since I start with dark wood, using these ends up with a very dark colored instrument.  I will likely start using some lighter/brighter transparent(ish) pigments.

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On 8/28/2014 at 8:18 PM, Matthew Noykos said:

Nathan,

 

I'm probably muddying the waters but I tried using the Old Wood tube colors and liked them.  Their Walnut Brown is sort of a Brescian brown color.  The tube colors are expensive though.  I've never tried the nano brown oxide.  I would be curious to hear how that goes.  

Matt, was this their walnut dark brown?

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13 hours ago, David Beard said:

So many things fell out of favor with the industrialization of pigments, paints, and binders.  

Asphaltum for example is mentioned for artistic use as a warm transparent brown from Roman times through the 18th century.  Then all of a sudden it isn't good enough. Suddenly it's inferior and unstable.

Same as saphron, a princely prime color until industrialization, then phew!

I tend to think these dismals have more to do with commercail motive and a forgetting of how to use these them well, rather than any true failing in these centuries proven materials.

 

All of the ancient organic pigments are fugitive. (Mineral pigments can be quite stable.) As they fade or are worn away we are left with brown, the color of the ground. The most stable of the varnish organic reds is alizarin in madder, but even that pales (good pun) to modern replacements. 

Asphaltum NBk6 has issues which are mentioned here:

http://www.artiscreation.com/black.html#.XXEwFdEpChA

Note how asphaltum is not necessarily stable and agreeable to making varnish. It takes experimenting to make it work as @Don Noon has. We need to warn other makers about these problems and not lead them down a rosey  path to hell.

You can use the old pigments at your peril. I use one for my ground only because I know more chemistry than the Cremonese and can stabilize it to what I see today in a museum. However, I think the classic pigments for varnish are a waste of time only because I cannot control their fading to what l see today. With stable modern pigments, I have control and good varnish properties.

So before you empty your bladder on modern pigments, read the sources in that link. 

I hope you will have an example or two of your work at the 2020 VSA in CA. I look forward to meeting you and examining your work. 

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