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Will, your notes are good. The benzo getting a month in the sun is far beyond anything in the notes I am looking at (which are not handwritten). I guess I can do that, knowing Nebel teaches that way, but I am curious to know if that can be avoided.

Granted, the stuff I have now looks like petrified squirrel feces and I probably should have kept making the benzoin seperately (which i really was doing, my idea, until that guy i live with walked by, remarked, "that's not how you do it", and he dumped the alco/shellac in with the alco/benzoin that I had going. No kidding. That was fun). But if I had orangy or whitish benzoin I don't see the point to waiting a month to add it in, either.

I think there are several possibilities, chiefly: my husband's teacher had purer benzoin and it did not need a month in the sun, or Nebel is making a simple recipe needlessly complex...or...this is the easiest polish recipe that there is, made more difficult because I believe that the ingredients being exactly right matters. Can anything just be simple?

Guess I will order all new stuff and see. I'm out of alcohol now too. It's a grievous situation.

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...The benzo getting a month in the sun is far beyond anything in the notes I am looking at... I am curious to know if that can be avoided....

 

My class notes also say to let the benzoin dissolve in alcohol for a month.  I don't know if that long is really necessary, but my brother-in-law found that a few days is not long enough.

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Michael: Super Nicko is great.  My husband still has a tiny bit of it.  I joked around that this one is "Super Nigo" polish.  He wanted me to make some of this because he's finishing up an antiquing job.  I'm running into several problems but it'll all come out in the wash once I get lighter benzoin and white shellac and some alcohol.  This isn't supposed to be difficult.

 

The way he was taught, you literally put in the correct proportions in a jar, fill it the rest of the way with alcohol, put on the lid and shake it every few hours.  That's it.  Then when it's all liquidy after a few days it goes through a cheesecloth a few times. 

 

This is very different from what those in Nebel's class are saying.  Same recipe, very different processing.  I find that interesting, because this easy way produces a professional-quality polish too. 

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I guess that I don't remember Hans J. specifying a month to dissolve the benzoin. I just shake every so often till it's pretty much dissolved. Putting the bottle in a bit of warm water helps a bit. A couple of points. I use the same rag for quite a while, to polish several instruments over time. Just keep it in a sealed jar between uses. When getting it out to use, put a bit of fresh alcohol on it and scrunch it a few times. Then add just a bit of fresh polish. An oil lubricant is necessary for this, just like a regular french polish. I use a couple of drops of mineral oil.

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Thanks, Doug. I wonder when Nebel decided that dissolving benzoin in sunlight, for a month, is much more effective? Will someone who knows him ask him and post about that? I really should not call up random luthiers and varnish experts with random questions.

I don't know if this will help anyone, but a very high-quality tuxedo shirt--an old one (thicker than modern shirts, with the high fiber count)--is supposedly the best material to use when french polishing.

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http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/316628-what-are-the-exact-purpose-of-benzoin-in-french-polish/

 

Kremer has some relatively light Benzoin...  or you can always buy some food grade.  btw: I find the darker stuff dries a little harder (impure or not) and I find it more useful (cause I like the color).  

 

I don't use it in polish, but I know many do.

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FiddleDoug showed me Han's recipe (in one of Han's classes) and I've used it ever since.  Not happy with my choices of clothes though, need to work on that.  I made it without waiting a month(but I did bath the benzion in warm water).  Seems fine to me that way.  LOVE driving home from work with my hand smelling like Benzoin!  Tell me more about the type of cloth to use.....The one Doug had me use in the class worked great.   jeff

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Doug, Thanks for that, I"ve got plenty of nice heavy cotton material collared t white polo shirts that I've stained to use.  Another thing, I keep my material in a jar, and then I've done it in a bag.  Both have tended to dry out some even though they are sealed from air.  Am I storing them too dry?  I just add more polish, but I remember yours was quite wet coming out your storing can.   jeff

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Michael: Super Nicko is great.  My husband still has a tiny bit of it.  I joked around that this one is "Super Nigo" polish.  He wanted me to make some of this because he's finishing up an antiquing job.  I'm running into several problems but it'll all come out in the wash once I get lighter benzoin and white shellac and some alcohol.  This isn't supposed to be difficult.

 

The way he was taught, you literally put in the correct proportions in a jar, fill it the rest of the way with alcohol, put on the lid and shake it every few hours.  That's it.  Then when it's all liquidy after a few days it goes through a cheesecloth a few times. 

 

This is very different from what those in Nebel's class are saying.  Same recipe, very different processing.  I find that interesting, because this easy way produces a professional-quality polish too.

Combining all the ingredients and shaking it once in a while is how I make polish and touch up varnish as well. I was told to avoid heating at all costs because it makes it less transparent. Usually my resins dissolve in a few days to a week with occasional shaking. I also find the polish gets stickier after a year or so, so I try to only make what I can use relatively soon.

I should try the tuxedo shirt polish cloth sometime. Being a violin maker I'm not exactly familiar with tuxedo shirts, so it never occurred to me. :) I've been using 100% cotton sheets from the thrift store. I like them because the repeated washing removes the lint and they are inexpensive. I go through a lot of polish cloths when I'm removing varnish for antiqueing.

-Michael

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Combining all the ingredients and shaking it once in a while is how I make polish and touch up varnish as well. I was told to avoid heating at all costs because it makes it less transparent. Usually my resins dissolve in a few days to a week with occasional shaking. I also find the polish gets stickier after a year or so, so I try to only make what I can use relatively soon.

I should try the tuxedo shirt polish cloth sometime. Being a violin maker I'm not exactly familiar with tuxedo shirts, so it never occurred to me. :) I've been using 100% cotton sheets from the thrift store. I like them because the repeated washing removes the lint and they are inexpensive. I go through a lot of polish cloths when I'm removing varnish for antiqueing.

-Michael

Lol...you would need an old one, thicker than high thread count sheets. So look around at the Salvation Army when you're finding whatever else. Probably exactly the same result though.

Doug: if you like that website check out www.mountainroseherbs.com

There's a lot there.

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Not sure about that. I have been ordering stuff from Mountain Rose for years...clays, herbs (for tinctures and teas), and that herbal smoking blend. Smoking is bad, but...it's quite nice too. Anyway. I completely missed the varnish ingredients on that site. What I ordered before from them is consistently very high quality though.

Do you have an iron cauldron from the site you posted? If so, do you like it very much? No problems with durability? I could seriously use a good cauldron (oh no...did i just say I need a cauldron?!)

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