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Nick Allen

Store bought varnish? I think I've found the right stuff?

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So I work at a Rockler store now. It sells products for woodworkers and the like. We have this stuff called "Tried and True Varnish Oil"

Says no distillates, or dryer metals. No petroleum derivatives. Just polymerized linseed oil and resin. 

I'm hoping that it's all cooked together to make a proper varnish. 

Has anyone used this or heard of it? 

Would it make a proper violon varnish?

Thanks!

 

 

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Didn't Joe Robson used to make it? 

Is the oil content too high or something? 

4 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Very familiar with the stuff. Even know the guy. Not sure this is what you're looking for as a violin varnish all by itself, but all the tried and true products are good stuff.

 

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I did try it in a test piece of wood here. It seems to want to seep into the wood. But with a ground coat, that wouldn't be an issue? 

I don't know. It's probably too good to be true lol. 

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That will be mostly oil with just minimal resin content. There are several similar products. I've got a can of something like that, smells nice, just oil with resins added. I thnk it is from CLOU. they are designed to soak into wood and dry there, if you seal and apply it over that it will be way too soft and will easily rub away.

From commercial varnishes Epifanes spar varnish is often recommended as very good product (many top makers of mandolins use that or equivalent varnish), it is however based on tung oil, They used to make an resin additive to make is less fatty... I cannot see it in the catalogues now...

edit: I found it: the recipe calls for 1:1:1 mix of clear varnish, epifanes resin accelerator and thair thinner...

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4 hours ago, duane88 said:

I think that he still IS Tried and True.

My wife and I manufactured Tried & True for 22 years.  We sold the product line 4 years ago.  She is now aggressively retired and I am full time in the violin world...work wise anyway.

The products remain as I designed them.  Varnish Oil is  not a proper instrument finish

 

on we go,Joe

 

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11 hours ago, phutatorius said:

What is wrong with tung oil?

It wants to wrinkle very badly.  I like it for necks, though, as it dries very hard and waterproof.  You just have to rub off all you can while it's wet, leaving almost nothing behind.

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Tung oil was amazing for some ebony knife handles I made. The tactile result was a pleasure, which is especially good because you people have to hold your knives for days. Might as well want to.

On a violin, I can't imagine it (edit: except on the neck, as residue as DN described). And T & T is not really varnish. Not how I think of it. It would be like using Super Nicko as varnish. 

When it comes to varnish, one thing I can really say with authority is: don't try to find some secret hack for how spendy these products are. Spend the money. If it takes 300 hours to make a violin, why risk it with furniture polish, or food grade walnut or linseed oil, or why even use a diy varnish if it's not better than anything else?  There are some varnish products that are never discussed here...

Eugene Holtier

Alchemist Mediums

James Groves

etc...

I wish we could be discussing what is good to use and how to use it, instead of asking about whether deck stain works awesome on violins...

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I didn't mean the way that came across. It seems kinda obvious to me that violin varnish is a highly specialized product. 

I went through a moment when I thought I could wash flax oil a dozen times and use it, add siccatives, heat it with lead, etc. The obvious observation someone had for me at the time was along the lines of "Even if you could, why would you do that?" And flax and linseed oil are not the same. There was that too. I think it is appealing to come up with an idea that no one else has had, some great amazing idea...but the spoiler is that everyone thought of everything, and no, deck stain is not awesome on violins. And there are people who are great at these processes. At the risk of another Magister-proportion retail apocalyptic event occurring, why not just trust those specialists and pay them accordingly for doing the research, and the tedious and dangerous work of instrument varnish making?

I'm probably being rude, but I am actually trying to help because I have been through this some.

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1 hour ago, not telling said:

...food grade walnut...

I thought I was going to be on safe ground using food grade walnut oil in my varnishes - from your comment, I take it that this is not the case? If so, do you know af any alternative sources of walnut oil I would be better looking into?

thanks,

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10 hours ago, notsodeepblue said:

I thought I was going to be on safe ground using food grade walnut oil in my varnishes...

I never saw a walnut oil for human consumption that didn't have something else added, vitamin E is common, to keep the oil from becoming rancid. Any food additive would probably make it act differently, dry even slower, etc. It's important to source fresh and cold-pressed walnut oil with nothing added and then keep it cold and use it reasonably soon. There are sources but I can't think of the places now. Kremer obviously... maybe someone else can say where to get walnut oil for varnish.

 

Edit: looking at the various products online, I am seeing no mention of any kind of additive to the walnut oils by Spectrum, Hain Celestial, Sulu, LifeFlo, Smart Century, none of them have any mention of additives. I can't find one that does. It's really weird. This was a real problem when I was doing research several years ago. But now, apparently it is not.

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4 minutes ago, not telling said:

I never saw a walnut oil for human consumption that didn't have something else added...

Thanks very much - that's really useful. I went lookiing for "100% walnut oil", it didn't even occur to me to pay attention to the traces that might be have been added without making it into the headline description...

thanks again,

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Of course if you are trying to copy work of cremonese masters you'd better use similar stuff to theirs. But htere are many violinmakers who experiment with amber and other extra durable resins and various exotic varnish mixes, then I think the phenolic or similar commercial varnish is nott too far... BTW, the Epifanes varnish is known for it's ease of use and nice level finish even in thickly applied layer so they somehow figured the wrinkling of tung oil...

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1 hour ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

Store bought varnish is never the answer unless you could be so lucky as Strad and del Gesu were and have a finishing shop up the road that did all the varnishing for you to order.

They didn't finish their own instruments?  Where did you find that ?  

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Tad Sturgeon's website is pretty interesting because he, like Roger Hargrave, washes any oil he gets for artistic use. He's written up a nice piece explaining why which gets posted in these forums periodically. Roger believes in leaving some fatty acids (with his pouroff method) and Tad Sturgeon does the sand/saltwater method to remove as much as possible. Either way, it's just the tip of the iceberg as far as ancient knowledge, artist materials, etc.

If you do use a food grade oil, you will want to do more washing maybe. I think it is best to buy the good stuff and wash that rather than taking a risk, but you can probably get by with food oil. I believe that it is a risk, but my opinion isn't that important.

 

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