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Violin neck finish by Hill's (ground?)


laustephen498
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Hello,I have a violin with the neck graft done by Hill's. I wonder how the Hill's finish the neck? It has passed 40 years and the neck is still intact with a glassy look. I have heard that the Hill bow maker finish their bow with boiled linseed oil. Is that the thing they used in finishing the neck? Any ideas?

 

 

Some image of the neck

https://s13.postimg.org/4ad3bz1br/Whats_App_Image_2016_08_23_at_14_59_05.jpg

 

https://s15.postimg.org/8bpybugob/Whats_App_Image_2016_08_23_at_14_59_05_1.jpg

 

 

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That is the finish that I  used on gun stocks and inst necks, you rub in linseed oil ( can't remember if boiled or raw is used) with your sweaty hand, repeat until a gloss is developing, and sweat, humidity do not affect it, area is always slick and shiny.

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Most of the Hill neck grafts I've seen appear to bear a polished finish.  I suspect that if it's shellac, it's a variety (grade) that is pretty impervious to sweat, as the necks seem almost pristine after a long period of time.  If Roger Hargrave (or one of the other ex-Hill luthiers in our community) happens to see this thread, maybe he (or they) can fill in the blanks.

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That is the finish that I  used on gun stocks and inst necks, you rub in linseed oil ( can't remember if boiled or raw is used) with your sweaty hand, repeat until a gloss is developing, and sweat, humidity do not affect it, area is always slick and shiny.

 

Hi Fred - Over 55 years ago was shown by a Holland & Holland trained stock-man how to finish a gun stock using a 50/50 mixture of raw linseed oil and turpentine oil.

 

The turpentine oil does two things...

 

i) it acts as an accelerator in the polymerization process (which is why they add metallic based driers to boiled linseed oil)

ii) it reduces the viscosity of the linseed oil so that it penetrates the wood to a greater depth.

 

An essential part of getting a good finish was to apply the thinnest coating possible and rub it in as vigorously as possible. His words were "rub it until you can smell your skin beginning to burn". Repeat at weekly intervals - this gives the new coat time to fully polymerize (needs access to oxygen to do this) before adding another layer.

 

cheers edi

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Really nothing beats a Hill neck for feel and playability - they are smooth to just the right degree, as has been remarked the finish lasts forever, and they have a warm natural feel quite unlike a shellac finish.

Whatever the technique was, i would love to know. I think Edi's gunstock treatment is probably something like it. Certainly the way the yellow seems to get right into the flame makes me think of linseed.

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After being on this forum (or “Board” as Jeffrey would say) for a year or two, the topics start going around in circles. We have had this theme before too, and I will try being economical with my time by linking to what I said then (others made interesting coments too!)

http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/333834-ground-on-violin-neck/?p=709205

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I can't imagine that a pure linseed finish, built up to that level of gloss, would work.  I think it would be rather gummy and sticky, and get even moreso with sweat.

 

It does look polished with something... French polish would be the first guess, but if it's alcohol-resistant, there could be other resin/solvent combinations that could be used for polishing.  The possibilities are endless, so it would be best to hear from someone who worked in the shop for clues as to what might have been used.  The possibilities get even more infinite when you consider that it could be several different materials applied in different layers.

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Hi Fred - Over 55 years ago was shown by a Holland & Holland trained stock-man how to finish a gun stock using a 50/50 mixture of raw linseed oil and turpentine oil.

 

The turpentine oil does two things...

 

i) it acts as an accelerator in the polymerization process (which is why they add metallic based driers to boiled linseed oil)

ii) it reduces the viscosity of the linseed oil so that it penetrates the wood to a greater depth.

 

An essential part of getting a good finish was to apply the thinnest coating possible and rub it in as vigorously as possible. His words were "rub it until you can smell your skin beginning to burn". Repeat at weekly intervals - this gives the new coat time to fully polymerize (needs access to oxygen to do this) before adding another layer.

 

cheers edi

55 years ago boiled linseed oil was a different material.

Joe

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Really nothing beats a Hill neck for feel and playability - they are smooth to just the right degree, as has been remarked the finish lasts forever, and they have a warm natural feel quite unlike a shellac finish.

Whatever the technique was, i would love to know. I think Edi's gunstock treatment is probably something like it. Certainly the way the yellow seems to get right into the flame makes me think of linseed.

 

I honestly have no idea what was used. Martin... but various resins and different grades of the same resins can feel very different from one another. If it's not a form of polish, and we're going by feel, it feels related to Danish Oil to me.  That really doesn't mean much, though!   :)

 

It is true that the stuff on Hill necks is not easily dissolved by alcohol, but I believe the Hills used a grade of shellac for crack filler during the mid 20th century that exhibited the same behavior once it was fully cured (I hate that stuff).

 

I know there are one or two ex-Hill restorers besides Roger who occasionally visit.  Maybe they'll chime in.

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