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Peter Lynch

Wild Turkeys, varnish and structural color

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I have a flock of wild turkeys that "live" on my property and whenever I see them, I think of violin varnish.  I always thought that the coloration of wild turkeys could a give clues as to the visual effects of really good violin varnish.  Might seem like a weird association, but that is how my brain works.  Then today I came across a facebook post talking about structural color.  I had never heard of this before.  I am still trying to wrap my mind around what this actually means, but thought I would post this as a topic and see what others thought.  Any retired scientists out there or varnish researchers who could shed some light on this or how it could apply to varnish.

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I remember I violin I saw once where at certain angles the varnish looked like it had a layer of smoke condensed on it.  At those angles it would have a slight whiteish-bluish translucent cast.   The relevance to the topic being it changed properties with viewing angle...

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We just saw 4 toms in the neighbors back yard yesterday.  I notice the colors, but what blows me away is how big they are!  You don't expect a turkey to be 4 foot tall!  Bluebirds are plain, unless the sun hits them right.  Hummingbirds are the same.  Hah, Michael just said what I was going to get to.  I think the difference is the feathers are in air, and varnish is in a solid.  The mediums are not the same.

 

Ken

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It's different physics. The feathers are dichroic while the varnish is dichromatic. I have explained this difference several times.  ;)

MIke I am starting to read some of the old posts.  A question (that might be answered as I read more).  Could a dichroic material be introduced in the "varnishing process" in some way that could introduce some of this phenomena to the varnishing process.  I apologize in advance if the turns out to be a silly question

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I always thought that the coloration of wild turkeys could a give clues as to the visual effects of really good violin varnish.  Might seem like a weird association, but that is how my brain works.

 

I think it is a common mental affliction that violinmakers have.

 

Just recently, I noticed some cooking oil (or fat, or something) had spilled from a pot onto the drip pan under the stove burner, and it was a lovely reddish-brown color.  Varnish immediately came to mind.

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Just recently, I noticed some cooking oil (or fat, or something) had spilled from a pot onto the drip pan under the stove burner, and it was a lovely reddish-brown color.  Varnish immediately came to mind.

Has anybody made a varnish that smells like roast turkey?  Better than than that piney smell or that hundred years in the cellar smell.

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Structural Color:

   At least 2 Causes -  1)  Example   CD recording.  The CD is just metal color.  The color (rainbow) is because of the many tiny lines cut into                                             the surface to make the recording.  You can see the same in vinyl records, but the scratches are bigger and the effect                                         is less.   Think the fine structure of maple!  Think of Turkeys.

 

                                   2) Oil Slick.  The oil does not have the color.  The color bands come from very thin layers of oil on water.   Think Very thin                                           layers of different varnish.  This depends on light reflecting from Different layers, (different index of refraction)

 

Both examples depend strongly on the position of the light source and the detector (eye)!

 

Structural colors are spectacular when they happen.  

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I think it is a common mental affliction that violinmakers have.

 

Just recently, I noticed some cooking oil (or fat, or something) had spilled from a pot onto the drip pan under the stove burner, and it was a lovely reddish-brown color.  Varnish immediately came to mind.

I hit an cut my head during a storm last weekend. It bled pretty profusely. Washing the blood out of my hair in the bathroom (it looked a bit like a scene from a slasher movie) I thought gee, that's a good red colour, how could you get that in a varnish ... (Yes, I have seen the Red Violin)

Tim

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You can buy paints and pigments that are based on interference. I know Golden makes a line of acrylic paints with these pigments, you could probably find someone that makes them in oil paint and then mix them into the varnish. It probably wouldn't look too good.

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Structural Color:

   At least 2 Causes -  1)  Example   CD recording.  The CD is just metal color.  The color (rainbow) is because of the many tiny lines cut into                                             the surface to make the recording.  You can see the same in vinyl records, but the scratches are bigger and the effect                                         is less.   Think the fine structure of maple!  Think of Turkeys.

 

                                   2) Oil Slick.  The oil does not have the color.  The color bands come from very thin layers of oil on water.   Think Very thin                                           layers of different varnish.  This depends on light reflecting from Different layers, (different index of refraction)

 

Both examples depend strongly on the position of the light source and the detector (eye)!

 

Structural colors are spectacular when they happen.  

So structural color is already present in some maple when you see that iridescence red/blue shimmer you sometimes get in certain maple ?

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Hello everyone, I am new to violins, having surprised myself with a sudden urge to play violin, but I am somewhat acquainted with the concept of structural coloring. The main thing that structural coloring does is to create the circular polarization of light through helliclly arranged structures that occur in layers, such as the scarab beetle and colored lobsters which have crystaline shells. I have been curious about the magic of old violins, having acquired one which I now play. Since the violin seems to have been created during the age of alchemical science, it seems clear that violin makers would turn to the natural world for the sealing of wood and also the varnish. I know of at least one maker that uses bee propolis as a sealer, which not only seals the wood, but also crystallizes when properly rendered, making a perfect tone transfer structure, and could create the structures needed for structural coloring. I am not sure what is used for varnish, since most makers don't seem to be very free about that information, but  they are done in layers, and could explain the change to an old varnish when overly polished since that would tend to reflect, rather than refract. I first became interested in the topic when studying the circular polarization of light when crossing magnetic boundaries of planetary objects  , but it also relates to the quality of bifringence which occurs in Icelandic spar, which is at the cutting edge of invisibility research, as well as historical research concerning the use of Viking Sunstones. Anyway, I find this topic fascinating, and would be curious as to what types of materials were used for old varnishes, one of the violins I have has a remarkably 3 dimensional effect when looked at closely, wish I new who made it.

Edited by Pylorius

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The old Cremonese finishes were fairly simple and in some cases not all that remarkable although some are remarkable.   I have seen  something in one that looked sort of iridescent in a way.  Similar to my sample pictured earlier.   I don't know of any evidence in the various analyses that they used bee propolis.  Of course that doesn't mean you can't come up with something new that they didn't use that looks good.     Could this be the return of otter?  

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 " I don't know of any evidence in the various analyses that they used bee propolis."

The violin maker Richard Perras propsed the idea, and has used it for his Stainer violins, I guess it can explain the bacteria and volcanic ash found in Strad violins, because bee propolis acts as an antibacterial agent in the hive and could have also trapped airborn ash, as it is very sticky, it's the stuff beekeepers scrape off to keep things from sticking together, it can be obtained for free or very inexpensively. There is a page,  http://violinresearch.com/ground_006.htm%C2'> , that gives some info. Anyway, structural coloring may not be involved, I just got a little excited about the possibility when I saw the topic of conversation, I've only been playing for about 6 months (violin & viola), so please forgive me if I am speculating to wildly, I am here to learn.

 

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I really don't think you're going to find interference colors in any varnish.  Unless, of course, you want a sort of garish result--or should I just call it "modern" to be polite?

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There are a number of things that B &  G found but I don't think bee propolis was one of them.  But I don't have access to the book so I don't know for sure. 

 

Wild Turkey might make a good spirit varnish  :D   but I'd rather use it for something else. 

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