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Urban Luthier

Violin Varnish Book (notes and articles from KOEN PADDING)

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One of the potential problems with the mass of knowledge at our finger tips via the internet is first being able to filter out the junk from the gold nuggets.  Second, there are many ways of doing a particular process "right".  However, the bits of valuable knowledge needs to be taken into context of the process it was designed for.  So an otherwise gold nugget can be junk when used out of context.  For me this book has value in that the information comes from a source that I can trust, and the advise given is based on the same process.  Letters from Mr. Padding explaining why the customers results fell short of expectations can serve as a text for proper application (of Mr. Padding's process) or trouble shooting guide when things go wrong.  Right or wrong, these are my expectations.  However the book is in actualty, I think I will still enjoy it.  For a violin related book the cost seems pretty reasonable.

 

Cheers,

Jim

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Helen has done a magnificent job of this project. 

 

I had the pleasure of visiting her in Manchester and look through all of the stuff with her, discussing some of the materials and what they could have been used for. She was very kind to allow me to do so. 

 

There is a huge amount to be learnt only from the list of contents, it will open endless doors for curious minds to experiment and to find their own ways. 

 

 

My hat off to her in this brave undetaking. 

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One of the potential problems with the mass of knowledge at our finger tips via the internet is first being able to filter out the junk from the gold nuggets.  Second, there are many ways of doing a particular process "right".  However, the bits of valuable knowledge needs to be taken into context of the process it was designed for.  So an otherwise gold nugget can be junk when used out of context.

That's one of the things that I regard as a minor annoyance. If the method is only workable with the now unavailable products, that sort of still leaves one sitting on the fence. I know this sounds like a narrow view, and much unfounded speculation of the contents of this book, but I've wasted quite a bit of money on books that once read, turn out to be very vague and rely on proprietary product.

 

Foreign cookbooks are notorious for this: where for example, a recipe calls for 1 packet of a name brand product of an unrevealed measure, unavailable in my country. How do you make an appropriate substitute? What to do?

 

I sincerely hope that Koen's book doesn't fall into this category. Jose's comments offer some hope in this respect. I'm not someone looking for a free ride, and will happily pay the price for a worthwhile book.

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Helen has done a magnificent job of this project. 

 

I had the pleasure of visiting her in Manchester and look through all of the stuff with her, discussing some of the materials and what they could have been used for. She was very kind to allow me to do so. 

 

There is a huge amount to be learnt only from the list of contents, it will open endless doors for curious minds to experiment and to find their own ways. 

 

 

My hat off to her in this brave undetaking. 

Too Right!

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I sincerely hope that Koen's book doesn't fall into this category. Jose's comments offer some hope in this respect. I'm not someone looking for a free ride, and will happily pay the price for a worthwhile book.

 

Yes, there can be many reasons why a particular book can fall short of our expectations , or even be, in essence, a waste of time with regard to reading it. Then again, a book doesn't have to be exactly what I'm looking for, either, in order to appease my interests in it. If this is a book on violin varnishes... 

"Violin Varnish Book (notes and articles from KOEN PADDING)"

and it doesn't give information on making varnishes, then it's going to have to go a pretty long way in the "other interests" department for me not to be a tad disappointed in it.

I do understand the 'fervor' that interested parties may have in such a volume.

And I hope that they are right. I hope that that this little publication IS a gem, or at least a gem in the rough.

Regarding price - well, I think that publishing anything right now is going to be difficult and expensive, so the price seems rather fair.

But -I'm going to do the same, I believe that I'll wait a while to see what the general reaction is - before I shell out any of my hard earned duckets. 

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In fact; I've happily given most of my "violin making " library away through the years.

 

(Sacconi is about the only instructional volume I have bothered to keep.)

( - since Darnton won't get off'n his continual online posting habit, and publish HIS volume...)

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I suspect those who haven't already ordered their copy never used Magister varnish. 

 

If the confluence of Michetschlager and Padding's names don't produce Pavolovian responses from the lot of you I just don't understand that at all. I know some of you buy the books because you think you should, not because you would let something in a book change how you do anything.  My husband worked for someone a little like that, whose books were all dusty and he often didn't know what was in them.  But he had all of the books because they looked nice on his shelf or something.  No accusations, we all know that's how some people think.  It's fine, I'm just jealous.  If I had the money I would have all of the books too, and bet, they would be read.

 

I also really agree with what Jim Bress said.  It'll be like reading words from a sage, even if there's no cohesive process defined.  You know you can trust the source. The ingredient list is enough, more than enough. 

 

I don't understand the "wait and see" approach, when you know it's Michetschlager putting together the book.  Fine by me if you all don't get excited easily by books...I'm probably weird that way anyway.  But this book...if you are interested in varnish, how can you question that it's going to be worth reading? 

 

As to why I don't want everyone to cook up the Magister product, not sure, I guess that would ruin the pursuit for me.  It's not just another recipe.  The product was so good. 

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 The ingredient list is enough, more than enough. 

 

Not interested.

 

I already have lists of varnish recipes and ingredients in the Karl Roy etc.

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Maybe Ms Helen Michetschlager should make available somewhere a sample chapter of the book so people would have an idea what the book is about and the "kind" of information it contain

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It's not exactly expensive. :)  I am interested to read whatever has been collected. Not just for what has been found but for what was not.

I think it will be of interest to folk who are relatively up to date with contemporary varnish discourse or who used Magister products...

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    It's fine, I'm just jealous.  If I had the money I would have all of the books too, and bet, they would be read.

 

I don't understand the "wait and see" approach, when you know it's Michetschlager putting together the book.  Fine by me if you all don't get excited easily by books...I'm probably weird that way anyway.  But this book...if you are interested in varnish, how can you question that it's going to be worth reading? 

 

As to why I don't want everyone to cook up the Magister product, not sure, I guess that would ruin the pursuit for me.  It's not just another recipe.  The product was so good. 

 

Yes, by all means; buy and read them all. I did.

 

And one day... twenty or thirty years, and forty or fifty violins from now, you may have read enough to satiate your curiosity - and perhaps even your your desire for yet more information.

I'm not sure about this, because you may well become a mainly reader and perhaps even a writer, and never have enough, or you may become someone who is admired for your own varnish (formula and method) and if so, then I would hope that you would pass this or them along.

Who knows what we will accomplish in our lifetime?

 Perhaps much - and perhaps little. What we pass along, may well be our only really worthwhile legacy in our lifetime.

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Thank you very much Urban Luthier for your post. I've just ordered mine. I'm excited about applying these technics and give a different look to my violins...

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I sometimes think that some of you simply of you not deserve the efforts of people like Helen trying to help you. Surely having it all served on a plate is how we end up being feebleminded. What is so wrong about thinking for ourselves? Isn't that much of the fun (and heartache) of this job. Anyway, even if a simple recipe with all the correct ingredients and method was on offered, no one would end up with the same result.  

Its like the same piece of music being played on the same instrument by pupils of the same teacher.

Quite honestly, if I could not see every new instrument as a challenge, with questions needing new and exciting solutions, I would give the game up. Getting help and advice is necessary and sensible, but wanting to be led like a dog on a lead ain't.

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I suspect those who haven't already ordered their copy never used Magister varnish. 

 

I never used Magister varnish and I ordered a copy of the book ;). I always wanted to try to give his products a try but being an amateur, finishing an instrument once every few years, I just never got around to it.

 

Being an industry outsider, I heard about Koen's work through articles in the Strad and posts from those of you who used his products and corresponded with him. I saw Helen's work in a video profile published on her site. The video show's some of her varnishing workflow and even features some of the Magister products. The project sounds like an interesting one and I expect to learn a lot from the book.

 

By the way, for those of you interested in the magister products, I recommend reading or re reading the section on staining in Roger's bass book. There is an excellent discussion on the staining workflow and there is even a plausable recipe from a historical source that may mimic Koen's Primer. You can try it for yourself but i expect most of you are not crazy enough to do so. (Those who have read the section will know why;)

 

Overall i think the community, pro and amateur alike owe Helen a debt of gratitude for taking on the project. Everyone will benefit. 

 

Chris

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I'm having trouble ordering using the "pre order" link.  Anyone else having trouble or is it just my 20th Century limitations?

 

Specifically, when I started, I didn't click Paypal, and in starting over I am now up to asking for 5 copies;  it prompts me to click "edit" to correct this and I see no edit button.  I don't mind buying 5 copies, but there is a matter of principle here!   :)

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I'm having trouble ordering using the "pre order" link.  Anyone else having trouble or is it just my 20th Century limitations?

 

Specifically, when I started, I didn't click Paypal, and in starting over I am now up to asking for 5 copies;  it prompts me to click "edit" to correct this and I see no edit button.  I don't mind buying 5 copies, but there is a matter of principle here!   :)

 

I thought I had ordered one copy this morning, using a Visa debit card, but saw no acknowledgment via e-mail nor any debit to my checking account.  A few hours later, I sent an e-mail to Helen M. asking if, when she had the time, she could check to see if I had an order pending.  She replied within the hour. I didn't have a pending order.  Turns out there is a final "Pay Now" button that I neglected to hit.  I re-ordered, hitting the final button, and within moments I had an e-mail acknowledgement, followed shortly by one from the publisher confirming the order.

 

So, yes, Will, it is your 20th-century limitations.  But unless you are getting an e-mail acknowledgement for each order, you probably haven't really pulled the trigger yet.  :)

 

Hope all is well with you. 

 

Ken

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I sometimes think that some of you simply of you not deserve the efforts of people like Helen trying to help you. Surely having it all served on a plate is how we end up being feebleminded. What is so wrong about thinking for ourselves? Isn't that much of the fun (and heartache) of this job. Anyway, even if a simple recipe with all the correct ingredients and method was on offered, no one would end up with the same result.  

Its like the same piece of music being played on the same instrument by pupils of the same teacher.

Quite honestly, if I could not see every new instrument as a challenge, with questions needing new and exciting solutions, I would give the game up. Getting help and advice is necessary and sensible, but wanting to be led like a dog on a lead ain't.

I meant no offense in my inquiry regarding the contents of this book. I'm still at the stage of learning a workable varnish method, and it hasn't been an easy journey. 

 

Many of the books and articles I've read on the subject were found to be contradictory, opinionated, self-promoting, and in many cases, shown to have problems manifest themselves after some time passes. Michelman and the FultonTerpene varnishes are such an example. I don't have enough lifetime left to repeat all these same experiments and failures before I arrive at something workable in a trial and error fashion. Further complicating this endeavor is the reluctance of many successful makers who have arrived at a functional method to discuss any details. It's because of these things that I've become more selective about choosing what books to spend money on. It's not that I'm reluctant to spend the money; I just want to have an idea of what it is I'm purchasing.

 

Your Bass Build thread / book is an exception to the above, and I appreciate the knowledge you've shared.

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Thanks, Ken,

 

The problem is the prompt suggests that I can alter the number of copies ordered and then click on edit;  but I see no "edit button."  Even though I put -0- in the box and close the whole thing, the next time I open it I get an even higher number.  Like I said, I'm up to -5-.  I'm not worried about having ordered it, because I haven't even gotten that far.  Amusing. Makes me feel 73.  Wait a minute;  I AM 73.  Oy!   :)

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I sometimes think that some of you simply of you not deserve the efforts of people like Helen trying to help you. Surely having it all served on a plate is how we end up being feebleminded. What is so wrong about thinking for ourselves? Isn't that much of the fun (and heartache) of this job. Anyway, even if a simple recipe with all the correct ingredients and method was on offered, no one would end up with the same result.  

Its like the same piece of music being played on the same instrument by pupils of the same teacher.

Quite honestly, if I could not see every new instrument as a challenge, with questions needing new and exciting solutions, I would give the game up. Getting help and advice is necessary and sensible, but wanting to be led like a dog on a lead ain't.

I'll second that.

:)

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BTW, someone can argue with me but I think there is quite a bit of variation on different Strads, so it's a mistake, IMO, to think he had it nailed down perfectly and was boringly consistent.

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