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Janito

Did Strad ever strip - a reason for variable sealer-ground-varnish analytics?

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A recent comment along the lines of "well, of course, if you strip the varnish of a violin, you are sure to leave some residues behind" got me thinking because that is exactly what I was observing.

 

Funnily enough, the concept that the Strad workshop could have stripped the coatings of a violin has never been mentioned in any materials I have read.

 

If they did do it because the fat fly walked and vomited/crapped all over the nice red varnish, could it be that the variable results reported after analysing the wood/sealer/ground/varnish materials from these Master works reflects some stuff that was left behind after a violin was stripped?

 

The clean-up diligence and re-preparation of the wood would yield more sources of variation as regards colour/pigment penetration into wood, rubble/no rubble etc etc etc.

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Good question Janito. If he did, which I doubt, what would he have used. I know I don't hesitate for a second to strip one, if I don't like it. Actually the violin I'm varnishing now has been stripped.

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A recent comment along the lines of "well, of course, if you strip the varnish of a violin, you are sure to leave some residues behind" got me thinking because that is exactly what I was observing.

 

Funnily enough, the concept that the Strad workshop could have stripped the coatings of a violin has never been mentioned in any materials I have read.

 

If they did do it because the fat fly walked and vomited/crapped all over the nice red varnish, could it be that the variable results reported after analysing the wood/sealer/ground/varnish materials from these Master works reflects some stuff that was left behind after a violin was stripped?

 

The clean-up diligence and re-preparation of the wood would yield more sources of variation as regards colour/pigment penetration into wood, rubble/no rubble etc etc etc.

Bravo,  Janito.  I have stripped a lot of violins in my time,  especially my own bad varnish experiments.  I often have liked the sound of the ones stripped better.   Unfortunately I did not take notes,  but at least many got no worse.  At least,  stripping and revarnishing for cosmetic reasons only should be done.   But I would hesitate to do that at all to experiment with tone effects of varnish (of course.)

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If the material under the varnish was alcohol soluble, then yes. If the material under the varnish was not soluble in alcohol then stripping would not effect the appearance as nothing new would get into the structure.

Joe

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The Brandmair findings did not find varnish soaked into the wood structure.

 

Would a varnish coat subjected to a stripping process still appear the same in the analytical processes?

 

In other words, does the absence of a 'varnish' signature exclude permeation into wood of a stripped coating?

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Would a varnish coat subjected to a stripping process still appear the same in the analytical processes?

I don't know but I'll ask.

 

In other words, does the absence of a 'varnish' signature exclude permeation into wood of a stripped coating?

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That's kind of vague.  What variable results have been reported?  Or what variable results are you referring to? 

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Would a varnish coat subjected to a stripping process still appear the same in the analytical processes?

 

In other words, does the absence of a 'varnish' signature exclude permeation into wood of a stripped coating?

I always used the paste methylene cloride stripper.  Yes,  I know of the dangers with CO etc.  It is so viscous that it floats the varnish up,  and not as a liquid, but more as a suspension in the paste.   I wiped well with paper towels and then a little lacuere thinner and OOOO steel wool.  No discoloration of the wood was seen.  Any sealer already below the surface stayed there.   I believe that most such sealers were water-soluable such as glue, ammonia casein,  or eggwhite.   I used only the ammonia casein myself.

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After a certain number of years of practice, you don´t strip any more! 

 

I am assuming that the environment in the 17 and 18 century Cremona was full of dust and flying matter. 

 

Would a bad flaw in the unfinished varnish coat ever need to be treated with a solvent or plasticizer as part of the correction process?

 

The question is a general one and applies to the complete removal of varnish from the whole instrument to more localised treatment.

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May I enquire why your assumption Janito? 

 

My assumption is based on simple concepts:

> Where would household waste be disposed of? 

> Where would horse and other animal excrement go?

> What would happen to these in hot damp weather?

Etc

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That's kind of vague.  What variable results have been reported?  Or what variable results are you referring to? 

 

Off the top of my head:

> Protein/No Protein

> Linseed oil/ No linseed oil in wood

> Varnish/ No varnish in wood

> Stain-pigments/ No stain-pigments in wood

> Rubble/ No rubble on wood

> Which minerals are where

 

I am sure there are others, especially when getting down to details. 

 

Some of these may be related to differences in interpretation, but some may be due to true differences in the wood samples analysed.

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My assumption is based on simple concepts:

> Where would household waste be disposed of? 

> Where would horse and other animal excrement go?

> What would happen to these in hot damp weather?

Etc

 

 

Thanks....them black matters...hot weather disaster?

I wonder if there was not a good system there already...or it was like the barbarian countries where they disposed it out the window?

Not a glamorous subject to research upon...neither good party conversation, unless you want someone to leave.... :blink: 

Better move on from this, as it may be a thread killer too...  :wacko:

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Thanks....them black matters...hot weather disaster?

I wonder if there was not a good system there already...or it was like the barbarian countries where they disposed it out the window?

 

 

Not a glamorous subject, but the sociological context for the workshops and their practices.

 

Should I expect the varnish of every instrument made by the Strad workshop to be pristine during the varnishing process through several coatings and hours sitting in the sun?

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In my reading I never came across any evidence for a Strad re-varnished in the workshop. Anyone have such evidence? Re-varnishing just doesn't make good business sense. 

 

As far as the excrement ground is concerned, isn't excrement (thankfully) fugitive?

 

I know that urine can stain wood, but so can a lot of other historical stains. The problem is a matter of detection for identification purposes. Until this issue is resolved, any stain source can be suggested. Have at it.

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To the best of my knowledge Strad was a pretty successful guy, so I'd be inclined to say no. I mean I just can't see him needing a second job like that, I think there lots of historical evidence and clues leaning in that direction; 1. he had a pretty solid marriage by all accounts, so I don't think his wife would have let him, 2. Through careful researched data I have come to the conclusion that things like stripping were generally frowned upon in the regional area based on it's strong evangelical leanings and so I don't think they would have allowed strip clubs, 3. perhaps most importantly, again, by all accounts based on descriptions of historians Strad was short, pudgy, with small hands and a commoners face and therefore women would not have paid him money to take off his clothes. I think these are pretty solid indicators that Strad did not strip. It is rumored however that Oh'my bono may have done some questionable movies in his early career.

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To the best of my knowledge Strad was a pretty successful guy, so I'd be inclined to say no. I mean I just can't see him needing a second job like that, I think there lots of historical evidence and clues leaning in that direction; 1. he had a pretty solid marriage by all accounts, so I don't think his wife would have let him, 2. Through careful researched data I have come to the conclusion that things like stripping were generally frowned upon in the regional area based on it's strong evangelical leanings and so I don't think they would have allowed strip clubs, 3. perhaps most importantly, again, by all accounts based on descriptions of historians Strad was short, pudgy, with small hands and a commoners face and therefore women would not have paid him money to take off his clothes. I think these are pretty solid indicators that Strad did not strip. It is rumored however that Oh'my bono may have done some questionable movies in his early career.

[suppresses a mental image of Tony jumping out of a cake with some difficulty] Bravo, Jezzupe!  :lol:

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As I recall from seeing a chart from the book,  B&G had fairly consistent findings among various instruments although their findings may differ from those of other researchers.  

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There is definitely a variety of levels of varnish penetration illustrated in the Brandmair work...interesting stuff to consider.  However it is better to stick to the finding as they are and not speculate about circumstances that are beyond the scope of the original exploration.

on we go,

Joe

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