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Latest post: pictures of my interpretation of the Heifetz Del Gesu. 

 

 

What better topic than to start my bench thread with varnish. 

I am about to finish now a copy of the Ole Bull fel Gesu and applied today the ground. (All ingredients top secret ;)) The only thing I can say is that I applied it with the Rene Morel method using an infrared hot light to achieve maximum penetration.

I am aiming at a yellow golden color of high intensity and glittering reflection. I am pretty happy with the result here. 

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Looks nicely holographic and quite a rich colour.
Now we will just need to bribe your former colleagues to reveal the method of using snail shells and onion skins ;)

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A varnish thread from you even on the conceptual level would be a treat.  Of course much less to talk about when cards are held tight to the vest.  Although the reason why are understandable.  

On the heat lamp varnish application, I've seen a video of it being done.  Applied with fingers and wisps of smoke coming from varnish.  What are the benefits of maximum penetration?  Maybe better to say when is it better to have maximum varnish penetration.  Does the ground varnish have to have certain characteristics for this to be advantageous?  apologies for my curiosity.  I was of the understanding the goal was to minimize varnish soaking into the wood.  Like most things, both probably true under the right context.

Cheers,

Jim

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6 hours ago, Dave Slight said:

Looks nicely holographic and quite a rich colour.
Now we will just need to bribe your former colleagues to reveal the method of using snail shells and onion skins ;)

Please bribe my former workers. But be prepared that the explanations will be in Japanese!

Actually in my workshop I don't have any hidden procedures, my apprentices know everything I am doing when they are there. However, they know as well that my recipes are permanently changeing and evolving. If you would ask me what varnish I applied on a violin made a few years ago I'd probably answer 'I can't remember, maybe I made it like this, but I am not sure.'

Often I try in my copies to copy the varnish as well so for different makers it is different anyway.

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6 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

A varnish thread from you even on the conceptual level would be a treat.  Of course much less to talk about when cards are held tight to the vest.  Although the reason why are understandable.  

On the heat lamp varnish application, I've seen a video of it being done.  Applied with fingers and wisps of smoke coming from varnish.  What are the benefits of maximum penetration?  Maybe better to say when is it better to have maximum varnish penetration.  Does the ground varnish have to have certain characteristics for this to be advantageous?  apologies for my curiosity.  I was of the understanding the goal was to minimize varnish soaking into the wood.  Like most things, both probably true under the right context.

Cheers,

Jim

Jim,

I would tell everyone my precise recipes if this would make sense. From my own experience I can only say that working yourself the way into understanding those things is the really important part not the result you are getting.  Once you get hold of a recipe you kill your own curiousity in trying to find a formula which works for you. This means as well that my formula might not work for you. 

There are too many minimal factors who play a role and for which you need to develop the right feeling and can't be really explained in words. Heating with a lamp, yes, but how much? Tanning in the sun, for how long and for which goal? Applying a layer of varnish? How thin?

This being said I have to add that I like your curiousity. So here is what I can tell you. Rene Morel had in his workshop a glass jar which contained a blackish liquid which Rene called in French 'La sauce' and he used it to imitate the ground of old Italian instruments. He applied it by heating the wood first and then brush it on the surface. The only explanation he would make is that you have to cook the varnish until it is 'calcinating' and you can see it when the smoke changes. 

Here is now the thing knowing this I worked on my own recipe and arrived at something which seems to work but is different from Rene's recipe because I looked at other parameters as well. 

The other thing Rene showed his workers was that you can see on some Cremonese instruments the ground penetrating the ribs to the inside making reddish dots in the pores. You make your own thoughts from there.

Last not least, I might change details of my recipe as well, so let's not kill each other's curiousity. It is the drive to make good varnish.

Cheers

Andreas

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Thanks for the good answer, Andreas.  I understand an evolving recipe.  I don't even completely follow my own recipe because once the cook starts I let the varnish tell me what it "wants" to continue heading towards my target.  Also, my target continues to evolve.   'calcinating' is a good clue.  Calcination is a thermal process for driving off crystalline water in minerals and solutions (one of several definitions).  Hmmm, another experiment to add to the list. :)

Thanks!

Jim

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On 10/2/2018 at 12:44 AM, Andreas Preuss said:

The other thing Rene showed his workers was that you can see on some Cremonese instruments the ground penetrating the ribs to the inside making reddish dots in the pores. You make your own thoughts from there.

This is also stated in the J.B. Guadagnini-Parma-exhibition - book. However in both sources ( Morel/ Brandmair) the penetration of ribs seems not to be the rule, rather the exception. 

One question : why the dots in the pores of Morel had looked reddish ? Linoxyn (with metal-salts) oxidized without light ?

B.t.w. :  your ground looks very fine !

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16 hours ago, Danube Fiddler said:

This is also stated in the J.B. Guadagnini-Parma-exhibition - book. However in both sources ( Morel/ Brandmair) the penetration of ribs seems not to be the rule, rather the exception. 

One question : why the dots in the pores of Morel had looked reddish ? Linoxyn (with metal-salts) oxidized without light ?

B.t.w. :  your ground looks very fine !

My explanation for red dots is the use of walnut oil. Oxidation over 100 years makes walnut oil red and linseed oil orange. 

if the penetration to the other side of the ribs was the exception doesn't matter. The  liquid is the same and was eventually applied very diluted so that it could penetrate the ribs. Like this we have luckily a view on the somehow isolated stuff. (Or at least a portion of it) 

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6 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

My explanation for red dots is the use of walnut oil. Oxidation over 100 years makes walnut oil red and linseed oil orange. 

if the penetration to the other side of the ribs was the exception doesn't matter. The  liquid is the same and was eventually applied very diluted so that it could penetrate the ribs. Like this we have luckily a view on the somehow isolated stuff. (Or at least a portion of it) 

Do you believe in any advantage of walnut-oil in comparison to linseed-oil in violin-varnish or ground ?  While I see some differences between these both oils, I don´t believe any longer in a superiority of walnut-oil for violinmaking purposes, rather more the opposite : walnut-oils is more slowly drying ( deeper penetration ) probably the "final" condition will be more soft ( more damping ). All these makers ( the most ) , who refuse the use of linseed oil for grounds, should even more fear walnut-oil.

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5 minutes ago, Danube Fiddler said:

Do you believe in any advantage of walnut-oil in comparison to linseed-oil in violin-varnish or ground ?  While I see some differences between these both oils, I don´t believe any longer in a superiority of walnut-oil for violinmaking purposes, rather more the opposite : walnut-oils is more slowly drying ( deeper penetration ) probably the "final" condition will be more soft ( more damping ). All these makers ( the most ) , who refuse the use of linseed oil for grounds, should even more fear walnut-oil.

The difference between linseed oil and walnut oil seems to be minimal as it is described in most old artists manuals. But this aside, artisans in the 17th century knew how to wash out the guey stuff which makes it soft. 

The application method suggests that it was diluted to keep the amount at a minimum in or on the wood.

 

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20 minutes ago, FoxMitchell said:

So pretty!  :wub:

Thanks. 

There is less dirt on it than the original! Heifetz seems never have thought about cleaning the top or having it cleaned by someone. 

In the Biddulph book they a kind of made it look nice with over exposed photos. Therefore I took other pictures from the Internet as additional reference.

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5 hours ago, DoorMouse said:

The varnish wear on the back looks spot on. nice work!

Thanks! 

For my antiquing o follow the Japanese garden rule while I follow the basic pattern of the original.

This means that some of the elements for the antiquing must be placed in the right spot to make a good optical balance within the general layout. Often those things come out by pure chance in the surface structure of the varnish.

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