Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

varnishing before assembly?


JohnCockburn
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm aware that several well known makers (including some of the posters here, I think) varnish the parts of their instruments before assembly, or when the instrument is only partly assembled.

I'm curious to know what those who use this approach see as the advantages, and how any potential pitfalls may be avoided.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm aware that several well known makers (including some of the posters here, I think) varnish the parts of their instruments before assembly, or when the instrument is only partly assembled.

I'm curious to know what those who use this approach see as the advantages, and how any potential pitfalls may be avoided.

If you're trying to exactly match an old (Strad, DG etc.) plate's mode 2, mode 5, and weight it is helpful to varnish the free plate.  If you are really serious you should wait about a year for the varnish to more fully harden.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm aware that several well known makers (including some of the posters here, I think) varnish the parts of their instruments before assembly, or when the instrument is only partly assembled.

I'm curious to know what those who use this approach see as the advantages, and how any potential pitfalls may be avoided.

 

John,

I'm curious if this is actually done by any of the makers here?

Marty has answered you with a fairly understandable and concise answer. So, I believe he may be one of them. How did you hear of this method? I have never heard of this before (well I do not remember if I have) and am curious where you have heard of such a construction method? It's not that I am sold on anything, and I varnish after buttoning the corpus together fully, but, it isn't improbable that this was something used in the past either.

Perhaps Marty can answer?

Yes, I'd be curious to know what those who use such approach see as an advantage also?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't done it yet, but plan to get at least the ground on the rib assembly to prevent those dang glue ghosts.  Glue joints with the plates are not a worry, as I'll level the gluing surfaces after the ground.

 

Since I'm a firm unbeliever in the need for precision taptones or B modes, it is only practical (not acoustic) reasons I would think of taking varnish steps first.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John,

I'm curious if this is actually done by any of the makers here?

Marty has answered you with a fairly understandable and concise answer. So, I believe he may be one of them. How did you hear of this method? I have never heard of this before (well I do not remember if I have) and am curious where you have heard of such a construction method? It's not that I am sold on anything, and I varnish after buttoning the corpus together fully, but, it isn't improbable that this was something used in the past either.

Perhaps Marty can answer?

Yes, I'd be curious to know what those who use such approach see as an advantage also?

Hi Craig,

Look here:

http://www.moenviolins.com/blogs/zachary-moen-violinmaker-ann-arbor-michigan?page=5

Zak Moen used to post on here a little, and trained with Gregg Alf, so presumably Alf does this also.

I seem to recall that Christian Bayon also mentioned doing this at some point, but I could be wrong.

I also met a VSA medal winner at the Oxford Strad exhibition last year who was toting an unassembled varnished fiddle.

 

Doug: your worry would worry me too. One of the reasons I asked the question.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Craig,

Look here:

 

Zak Moen used to post on here a little, and trained with Gregg Alf, so presumably Alf does this also.

I seem to recall that Christian Bayon also mentioned doing this at some point, but I could be wrong.

I also met a VSA medal winner at the Oxford Strad exhibition last year who was toting an unassembled varnished fiddle.

 

Doug: your worry would worry me too. One of the reasons I asked the question.

 

Thanks John,

I have considered (since you first asked this question) that the top alone may have been what you were speaking of...

The entire corpus is not out of the realm of possibilities, I see, as Don offers up an interesting alternative also (leveling the (rib, I assume) surfaces after the ground...)

 

Which would make a clean or varnish free gluing surface, for both plates... 

Interesting thoughts come to mind here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's ironic that this thread popped up because I have recently considered doing something like this on my next violin. In particular, I have been thinking about holding back on varnishing the neck near the fingerboard so I can make a better when I re-attach it. Just a thought. 

 

I invite all suggestions. Please!

 

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have noticed when placing a violin in the sun for the varnish to dry, the seams can sometimes open up on some spots (due to the sun's heat most likely). Has anyone else noticed this?

 

Kallie,

I dry all of my violin making steps (varnishing included) in the outdoor New Mexico sun - but I do so in the dappled shade of a tree and under a screened in outdoor patio... (the screen top is so that the bird population, which is GREAT around here, won't ruin the violin or the finish, by flying overhead and crap-ing on my work)

 

I try to avoid direct bright daily sunlight, since it will tend (here, at least) to do things like you suggest. So, I do use the sun and the outdoor heat to dry things - but I don't use direct uninhibited sunlight, as it is much too powerful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I varnish my cellos before attaching the neck. I think this makes my neck projection more stable in the long run. It's a little extra work retouching the neck heel, but it's not that bad. I have a background in repair, so I'm comfortable with it. Also on an antique instrument it's not a big deal if the neck heel doesn't match 'perfectly.'

I do this for my violins as well, but I'm not sure it's worth the trouble.

-Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I varnish my cellos before attaching the neck. I think this makes my neck projection more stable in the long run. It's a little extra work retouching the neck heel, but it's not that bad. I have a background in repair, so I'm comfortable with it. Also on an antique instrument it's not a big deal if the neck heel doesn't match 'perfectly.'

I do this for my violins as well, but I'm not sure it's worth the trouble.

-Michael

thanks, Michael. Sometimes I find that even for a violin the neck projection can change (increase, invariably) due to being in the lightbox, which is one of the main things that got me thinking about this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kallie,

I dry all of my violin making steps (varnishing included) in the outdoor New Mexico sun - but I do so in the dappled shade of a tree and under a screened in outdoor patio... (the screen top is so that the bird population, which is GREAT around here, won't ruin the violin or the finish, by flying overhead and crap-ing on my work)

 

I try to avoid direct bright daily sunlight, since it will tend (here, at least) to do things like you suggest. So, I do use the sun and the outdoor heat to dry things - but I don't use direct uninhibited sunlight, as it is much too powerful.

 

Thank you Craig. Perfectly understandable. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John- I have noticed the same neck stability on my violins as well, but it's just a smaller problem overall with violins in the first place.

Chris- I kind of like that look too. The last violin I made there was barely a blush of varnish left on the heel anyway.

Ben- I totally agree it's easier to varnish a cello scroll without having to wrangle the body all over the place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of ( not all) the best makers I know come from restoration backgrounds where reassembling something a few thousand times more valuable than  any modern fiddle they can make is second nature. A lot of these guys make and varnish the parts separately. I think there is a lot to be said for that. On the other hand there could be said a lot in favor of doing it the way the great old Cremonese did, it.....using the same process, tools etc...If only we knew how they actually did it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I varnish all my instrument this way since 11 years, it work for me, like said Melvin, I was a restorer for 28 years before start making. Every one can find a way to be comfortable in his work. I know, before me, Rubbio was making his ground like that.

So Christian, is your restoration background the only reason for doing it this way, or do you see other benefits? What precautions do you take to prevent varnish contamination of the gluing surfaces? I'm thinking that the overhang regions of the plates could be quite tricky………..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 What precautions do you take to prevent varnish contamination of the gluing surfaces? I'm thinking that the overhang regions of the plates could be quite tricky………..

I don't normally varnish before assembly, but when I've made a new top or back for an existing instrument, the way I handled it was to trace the rib outline onto a piece of plywood,  cut it out, glue paper to the plywood, then glue on the top or back. The plywood (you can even attach a handle) gives you something to hold onto when varnishing too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...