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ViolinLove20

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Hello all,

 

I've decided to start this thread as a way to document my violin making adventures.

 

I'm going to start out with my most recent trials in varnishing.  I recently purchased a white violin and planned to try the following system on it:  Shellac coats (various colors) to seal and ground, then IVC oil varnish for hints of color followed by clear coats and rub down.

 

So far I've completed the shellac sealing and grounding.  The pictures below are in chronological order (going from white violin to sealed to final ground coat).  I would describe the resulting color as a light golden walnut.  

 

Feel free to ask questions or critique my process.

 

Thanks

 

post-77139-0-94056900-1420402397_thumb.jpg post-77139-0-69673700-1420402429_thumb.jpg post-77139-0-11630600-1420402456_thumb.jpg

 post-77139-0-45499800-1420402502_thumb.jpg post-77139-0-81629600-1420402530_thumb.jpg post-77139-0-62927300-1420402562_thumb.jpg

 post-77139-0-97429700-1420402602_thumb.jpg post-77139-0-68495300-1420402624_thumb.jpg post-77139-0-36501600-1420402649_thumb.jpg

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The pictures go: Back, Ribs then Front.  Each progression of that pattern represents another step or part of the sealing and grounding.

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It looks good so far!.  Did  you use blond shellac?    When I used shellac I used bullseye amber shellac and got a sort of gold yellow color.   

 

Where did you get the fiddle?  It has some nice figure in the maple.  

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Thank you Mike! I used clear, amber then garnet shellac in lots of very thin coats, brush applied. The violin is from 'Decor Music'. I'm really excited to put the color varnish on but have been having major troubles with my package in USPS. It hasn't moved in days (according to the tracker), also the expected delivery day was the 2nd, and they have yet to reply to an email sent asking for help so...it may be a while before any progress is made.

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hmm  they have different grades/prices of white violin but they all show the same picture so I would hesitate to buy one from them,  but looks like you got a good one.       

USPS tracking,  I've noticed they tend to be slow on updating the status.  UPS has better tracking.   

Looking forward to seeing how the varnish turns out.   

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USPS has completely destroyed my package. It finally showed up, but to my dismay, when I opened the package the bottles of varnish had shattered, spilling the varnish all over everything (including my new varnish book). I'm pretty much at a loss for words...but I won't let this discourage me too much. Being angry won't fix the problem. Hopefully things will end up okay.

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Yikes!  That looks rather gruesome! :o

 

I'd be mad.

 

The shipper should have wrapped the book in plastic as well...if they had, it at least, would have survived.

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hmm  they have different grades/prices of white violin but they all show the same picture so I would hesitate to buy one from them,  but looks like you got a good one.       

USPS tracking,  I've noticed they tend to be slow on updating the status.  UPS has better tracking.   

Looking forward to seeing how the varnish turns out.   

 

UPS blows USPS away in almost every aspect except price.

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I observed a UPS driver out of my shop window who in the middle of the day thought nobody was looking and this driver literally kicked the package out of his truck onto the ground and then threw it onto a handtruck which he missed and bounced off the ground again.

The package was a new computer. I ran out and I gave him a few choice words and he told me next time I could pick it up in town. How's that for customer service.

I have never had a problem with USPS.

Your photo looks like the shipper was at fault and not USPS.

Good Luck.

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My cousin and a good friend in the military both worked for UPS in different parts of the country.  They both had similar experiences.  UPS rides their people hard and never cuts them any slack.  UPS drove my friend back to the military, which worked out well for him.  My cousin stuck it out for 30 years.  Happiest day of his life was retiring from that job.  I haven't had any bad experiences with them personally.  I hope you get reimbursed.  Is the book salvageable?  I hate seeing books suffering untimely deaths.  You have a great attitude about anger!  

 

Cheers,

Jim

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I think, after reading these comments, FedEx is the safest option for future use? And the people at International Violin offered to replace what was broken or ruined, so we're in that process now. Also, the people and International Violin (where I by all my supplies) are always very nice and helpful. I have a good feeling that things will work out well.

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I think, after reading these comments, FedEx is the safest option for future use? And the people at International Violin offered to replace what was broken or ruined, so we're in that process now. Also, the people and International Violin (where I by all my supplies) are always very nice and helpful. I have a good feeling that things will work out well.

Second that. I am from Bosnia, but almost everything I need I buy from IV. More precisely, i buy from Ken. Very often, I do not go at the IV website at all, I just ask Ken for something I need. And this communication worth the (very expensive) shipping costs from U.S. of A. to BA.

 

Beside that, I've not seen the Hammerl's book at the IV site.

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Their unvarnished violins are kinda pricey though for someone on a tight budget.  I'd like to find a really cheap one with good flame in the maple to try a certain finish.  

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Hello all,

I have a question for you guys. After applying many thin shellac coats, I decided to rub my violin down with pumice and linseed oil. The surface is now very smooth, but the process has seemed to highlight the few 'uglies' that were in the wood. For example, before the rub out, impurities in the grain were really hard to see. Now, after the rub down the impurities seem to stand out more. Any thoughts?

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As a general rule, trying to fix light spots, peekaboo impurities, and other messes during the varnish process creates more complex versions of said problems. As much as it itches, when I see something horrid show up after a coat or two, I leave it be until all of my color layers are on, all my polishing is done, and any antiquing too. Not only will some things go away, but you'll be fixing it as a repairman might in the future, to hide it as much as possible, instead of multiplying your messes.

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USPS has completely destroyed my package. It finally showed up, but to my dismay, when I opened the package the bottles of varnish had shattered, spilling the varnish all over everything (including my new varnish book). I'm pretty much at a loss for words...but I won't let this discourage me too much. Being angry won't fix the problem. Hopefully things will end up okay.

After reading this post, I was pretty much afraid, because I had in my last order 8 bottles of coloring extract. I received the parcel from IV today and everything was in good order, very carefully protected, so the package successfully survived even the usual ruthless rummage in my Postal Customs Office. Thumbs up for IV. I hope that you too will solve the problem. Cheers, Franc

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VL20  you've inspired me to try something.    The first fiddle I made is in pieces in a closet.  I'm going to strip it and refinish it and see what effects I can get on it.  Like the first one you started with, mine has very plain maple with very little if any flame figure.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with this one once you get a new shipment of varnish.  :)    

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IV has been so wonderful when helping me with the damaged package.  They replaced the shipment (at no cost) and handled the situation like pros.  I think I will continue to buy from them.  The new shipment should arrive soon, so varnishing progress will finally be made.  I'm going to first try to achieve a deep golden base color coat, then build from there.

 

Mike,

 

I'm glad you're reviving that fiddle!  Test strips are great, but a test violin is even better!  I'd like to see how you experiment with it.

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Update on varnishing progress:

 

I received a new order from IV a day or two ago, and everything was in order.  Now the fun could begin.  The first two coats of IVC varnish went on extremely well.  I combined parts: 1/3 tbsp mineral spirits, 1/2 tbsp oil varnish, and 3 or 4 drops of color.  BUT, the coats looked pretty much like clear coats so next I wanted to add more color.  I did the same ratios 1/3 ms to 1/2 varnish, but the 3 or 4 red drops resulted in a pink color that was undesirable so I added red and brown drops until I liked the color.  By then it was around 20 drops of color.  I knew something was off the minute I put the varnish on the violin.  It was dragging a little more than usual, so I tried to wipe it off but it wouldn't come off completely.  I figured I'd at least get it as uniform as possible so I then proceeded to put the "getting sticker by the second" varnish on the violin.  I looks pretty darn terrible.  The back looks mildly acceptable since I did it first, but the ribs and sides look like murder.  Sigh.  I bet my problem was too much color extract in a small amount of varnish.  But hey, it's better to learn now then on a completely handmade violin.  I will strip it and start over tomorrow.   I'd appreciate any thoughts or advice.  Thanks!  

 

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Hello all,

 

I have finally conquered applying colored varnish evenly to a violin -phew-.  For a first attempt with the "right" varnishing materials, I feel really happy with the results I achieved.  After the previous catastrophe, I stripped the entire violin (using citristrip) and then redid the whole varnishing process.  I did sealing/ground shellac coats, one or two practically clear oil coats, and 2 or 3 colored coats.  

 

My biggest mistake is getting dust and the occasional hair caught in the varnish, then being too squeamish to try and dig them out.  Any ways to keep the nasties off a drying violin?

 

Anyways, thank you maestronet-ers for providing tons and tons of pages of knowledge for me to read and learn from.  I doubt I could've started this journey without you.

 

My next steps are to wait a few days then do a final rubdown, maybe polish with a polish I purchased, set-up (which will be a whole new experience for me), then play it record some sound clips so (if you're interested) you can hear the final product.

 

Thanks!

 

Here are some photos of the violin using no camera flash:

 

post-77139-0-63249500-1422676957_thumb.jpgpost-77139-0-75070200-1422676972_thumb.jpgpost-77139-0-79894900-1422676926_thumb.jpgpost-77139-0-51140300-1422676997_thumb.jpg

 

Here is a photo using camera flash (like I did in the photos posted earlier in the thread):

 

post-77139-0-91468400-1422677346_thumb.jpg

 

The real life color is somewhere between the two. I couldn't quite get the pictured color right during the photoshoot.  

 

 

 

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Congratulations.  It looks good!     That's some nice looking flame in the maple.    It's always hard to get good accurate color photos of varnish. 

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Hello all,

Life got busy and things got in the way of making progress on violin varnishing. Finally, today I was able to test out a new varnishing method and am pleased with it! The pictures below show:

A test strip with half tea stain and then half dye stain (with a tiny section of white wood in between for reference). The next pictures were taking later that day after the ground had been put on and the first oil color coat was drying.

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