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Hi, I am an amateur maker, having completed a course of violin making at South Thames College in Morden Surrey. I am currently completing a viola and I would like to tan the wood (spruce front, maple back) using a UV chamber. I have constructed a cabinet which I have lined with cooking foil. A small electric motor rotates the instrument one revolution per minute to provide uniform drying/ tanning and there are three 18watt UV lamps. So far I have tried test pieces of maple only, but after 48 hours there is no distinguishable difference in colour. The three UV lamps are 60cm 18w Actinic fluorescent tubes, distributed evenly around the cabinet. They are intended for insect traps. My question is whether these are the wrong type or simply not providing enough total power - or whether I should expect to have to wait longer. 

Foggy

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Actinic lamps I think are the wrong choice, peaking at 420nm wave length, and dropping off very rapidly so there is very little energy in the UV spectrum.  You need UVA lamps, blacklight or 350 nm type.  Actinic might do something over a very long time, but it's not the right one to use for this purpose.

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Thanks for the tip Don. I spent some time researching online and in the end chose the Actinic type because Old Wood specified them in their plans for a UV chamber. If I change to the shorter wavelength, what power rating would you recommend?

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Power is usually dictated by the size (mostly length) you have and the fixture.  My lightbox uses the same size and power of your actinic bulbs (although I have 4 of them).  I don't use it to tan, but on experimenting with tanning, 2 days seems a bit short.  Those who actually use a lightbox for tanning could probably give a better answer.

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I use 6 Actinic 18 w Philips tubes for  tanning and curing varnish. Varnish layers are dry within 6-8 hours but  tanning takes a long time compared to sun light. Usually I take the violin out after 7 days because I want to start varnishing.

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Wrong person to ask.

A sun is that bright thing in the sky every day that makes it scorching hot all the time (from Tucson, Arizona).

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15 hours ago, Kimmo89 said:

Peter, what is a sun?

 

15 hours ago, Don Noon said:

Wrong person to ask.

A sun is that bright thing in the sky every day that makes it scorching hot all the time (from Tucson, Arizona).

Yeah,

I have heard there is such a thing called the sun, that some people enjoy all year round :angry:

It really is depressing times we have ahead of us. Soon it will be dark when we go to work in the morning and dark when we come home.

At the moment it's dark 18:24 and days are shortened ~7 - 8 min/day

 

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But we do have this thing called Midnight sun

North is in the middle of the image, I bet your sun is incapable of doing that Don?  :)

Midnight.thumb.jpg.4176700e6e59121bb2e4f10b8554898d.jpg

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Foggy,

Sorry for posting nonsense on your bench.

Actinic tubes works well for curing varnish. But as Don also said they aren't powerful enough for tanning.

 

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