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Nick Allen

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

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2 hours 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 might have bought their varnish from the local apothocary, but where have you ever heard that they farmed instruments out for finishing??

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1 hour ago, scordatura said:

I think Holtier varnish may be one of if not the best varnish you can purchase for violin making. He has recently made a full varnish system. Not cheap.  Available here http://www.oldworldtonewood.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=84

I don't care how "bespoke" this varnish is. $600 for this system is over the top. 

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3 hours 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.

Oh darn!  Addie must have left the Accademia library unlocked again.  :ph34r:

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I don't know about Gene's system, but the Brown varnish is great. The color is from the cook, as far as I know. 

Nunzio's improved (read:cooked) rosinate varnishes are quite nice, especially the brown and yellow. I didn't find the madder orange very useful, and texturally less satisfying. His Amber varnish is excellent. 

Also on Amber varnish, Jim Bress showed me some of the Alchemist Amber, and I found it to be gorgeous. 

I have no experience with any of Joe's stuff other than a 20 year old tin of copal varnish, which is a work of art in and of itself but not what I'm looking for. I hope to try Joe's more current range soon. 

I've heard good things about oldwood from people I trust. 

Between the vast swath of really good, tailor made varnishes for luthiers and the better diy techniques, we're very fortunate.

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25 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I don't know about Gene's system, but the Brown varnish is great. The color is from the cook, as far as I know. 

Nunzio's improved (read:cooked) rosinate varnishes are quite nice, especially the brown and yellow. I didn't find the madder orange very useful, and texturally less satisfying. His Amber varnish is excellent. 

Also on Amber varnish, Jim Bress showed me some of the Alchemist Amber, and I found it to be gorgeous. 

I have no experience with any of Joe's stuff other than a 20 year old tin of copal varnish, which is a work of art in and of itself but not what I'm looking for. I hope to try Joe's more current range soon. 

I've heard good things about oldwood from people I trust. 

Between the vast swath of really good, tailor made varnishes for luthiers and the better diy techniques, we're very fortunate.

I agree, we are fourtunate.  If you're (the masses) still searching around for Strads "secret" varnish, I wish you all the luck.  I truly do.

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53 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

. Also on Amber varnish, Jim Bress showed me some of the Alchemist Amber, and I found it to be gorgeous. 

I have used Alchemist Amber varnish in the past. I asked Mr. Fels what the oil/resin ratio was and was told by him that it was 3:1 oil/resin. Unless he has changed the recipe it is a fat and vicious, solvent free varnish. Lot's of open time but slow to dry which is why he recommends using a siccative. It reminded me a lot of Magister's Verice Liquida. A nice useful varnish and can be extended quite a bit by thinning.

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More recently I have used Nunzio's Amber and Copal varnishes. They are leaner than Alchemist Amber and need no thinning or siccative. They brush and level beautifully.

I have also used Joe Robson's Amber varnish in the past and liked it as well. When I asked Joe about using the T&T varnish for violins he said it was not a violin varnish.

I have not tried James Grove's Amber varnish yet or any of the Holtier varnish. I also make my own varnishes but not Amber or Copal. Those varnishes I would rather purchase from commercial varnish makers.

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11 hours ago, Nick Allen said:

I don't care how "bespoke" this varnish is. $600 for this system is over the top. 

i've used the Holtier Brown varnish -- the varnish alone is priced the same as other solutions. One bottle (~$125 will do 4 violins). It works well. colour on its own is similar to the Hargrave varnish.

I agree with E above -- the alchemist varnish is also useful - I use it as a ground mixed with pumice 

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1 minute ago, Urban Luthier said:

i've used the Holtier Brown varnish -- the varnish alone is priced the same as other solutions. One bottle (~$125 will do 4 violins). It works well. colour on its own is similar to the Hargrave varnish.

I agree with E above -- the alchemist varnish is also useful - I use it as a ground mixed with pumice 

I suppose I failed to realize that. Last time I checked, a bottle was running $100. Gotta love economic inflation.

I'm using the pumice too. I can't seem to get the consistency right. I've heard to get it like a thick honey, but when you start getting into similes things can get all over the place. I guess I can chalk it up to me being a scrublord, too.

Is there a specific reason that you use the Alchemist for just a ground, btw?

Thanks.

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24 minutes ago, Urban Luthier said:

I agree with E above -- the alchemist varnish is also useful - I use it as a ground mixed with pumice 

Me too...which is why I'm attempting to make a Vernice Liquida like the Magister sandarac based varnish. Some of my best grounds were made using it. There is a recipe for making it in Mr Fels book. Mr Fels also told me that he showed Koen Padding how he made his Amber varnish so apparently they knew each other.

Incorporating sandarac into oil is no easy task. I tried and failed in the past but the the Fels book explains the procedure well and lists a missing ingredient that I did not use in my other attempts.

Koen Padding was successful so perhaps he and Mr Fels shared the same knowledge. Either way it is worth another attempt. Just waiting for ingredients and some free time.

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Alchemist (Donald Fels Jr,) also sells high quality artist oils. He is a painter and a violin maker. So you can bet the oil he uses to make his  Amber varnish is  high quality and has been prepared carefully. I think  Mr. Fels and Tad Spurgeon have much in common.

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1 hour ago, Urban Luthier said:

I agree with E above -- the alchemist varnish is also useful - I use it as a ground mixed with pumice 

I use the alchemist varnish the same way.  I see no need for driers, at least with my application.  I also put a thick(ish) splotch on the side of a glass beaker that dried in 24 hours in my light box.

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13 hours ago, Thomas Coleman said:

I agree, we are fourtunate.  If you're (the masses) still searching around for Strads "secret" varnish, I wish you all the luck.  I truly do.

Thomas,

I suspect you didn't read the September issue of The Strad.

on we go,

Joe

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6 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Hey Joe, I don't get the Strad but will occasionally pick one up. What's the buzz on the September issue?

The article is "Scarlet Fever ".  It's the research and development of my Stradivari Cochineal Varnish.

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1 hour ago, joerobson said:

The article is "Scarlet Fever ".  It's the research and development of my Stradivari Cochineal Varnish.

Sounds to me like it has some bugs in it. :ph34r:;)

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4 hours ago, joerobson said:

The article is "Scarlet Fever ".  It's the research and development of my Stradivari Cochineal Varnish.

Joe how light fast is Cochineal? It seems uber red at first and if the Cremonese used it it has faded in addition to being worn off. Red pigments are notorious for being less light fast that some other pigments/colors. Thanks

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2 hours ago, scordatura said:

Joe how light fast is Cochineal? It seems uber red at first and if the Cremonese used it it has faded in addition to being worn off. Red pigments are notorious for being less light fast that some other pigments/colors. Thanks

Well 6 years into the project it looks good.  I think the color variations are mostly wear and color differences batch to batch.  The cochineal lake is fixed on the linseed oil and this has proved quite light fast in previous varnishes.

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On 10/15/2018 at 2:50 PM, Violadamore said:

Sounds to me like it has some bugs in it. :ph34r:;)

Yes...keeping the bugs in is the trick....otherwise it's just a good brown varnish.

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On 10/15/2018 at 11:27 AM, joerobson said:

Thomas,

I suspect you didn't read the September issue of The Strad.

on we go,

Joe

I have not.  Thanks for the heads-up Joe.  I'll add it to my reading list.

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