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reepicheep

Latest eBay Purchase - in a Maine attic for decades!

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On 1/24/2019 at 7:32 AM, Rue said:

And what if the OP violin was bought in the white and finished by Oma Irmgrid while she was babysitting Hansel and Barbel? Is Oma's misguided varnish worth saving?

Every time I read that, I see the name as Ermigrd, or “oh my god.”

And even though It’s completely wrong, I laugh really hard anyway. You’re funny even when you’re not trying to be

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11 hours ago, martin swan said:

Very nice French violin ...

I would also think that's to do with some previous exposure to extreme heat.

So are you one of these people who might quite like such a violin in original condition? Would you have it in your collection if it had been stripped and revarnished?

This violin sounds exceptional, best we have in fact; I wouldn't sell it.

 We absolutely love the varnish, it creates a 'reaction' in viewers.

I would go further Phillip and say 'expletive deleted fifty two times' Barbarian Philistine shouted from the Mouth of Odin, Zeus, Vishnu and Jehovah with echoes from Thor, Apollo, Kali and Baal. 

We hear the explanation that it is caused by extreme heat regularly.

I do not subscribe to this view as I have observed changes in five years without extreme heat - we don't leave our best violin in the attic. It is played every day, but the crazy paving effect continues to develop.

The short version for those who can't be bothered to follow the links is the molecules in fat/oil  change with age (akin to rusting iron) and different layers/oils/turpentines/resins dry age at different rates.  

I am with Blank face on this one - it is an inexorable inherent feature of the varnish formulation.

And Phillip, I say this in the nicest possible way, did you notice Martin the resident french violin expert comment "Very nice french violin"?

If I told you it was a JB Vuillaume for instance (it isn't) would that change your attitude?   

But as you don't know the maker of this violin or the OP.......... it is somehow less?

I only reject re-varnishing, not your repulsion to the finish and your choice to on-sell.

 

 

https://eclecticlight.co/2015/02/01/fat-over-lean-understanding-oil-paint/

https://www.thoughtco.com/oil-painting-techniques-fat-over-lean-2573785

https://www.justpaint.org/defining-the-difference-between-a-crack-and-a-craze/

http://phin42.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-three-oil-painting-rules-fat-over.html

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1 hour ago, Amateur Dieudonne said:

I would go further Phillip and say 'expletive deleted fifty two times' Barbarian Philistine shouted from the Mouth of Odin, Zeus, Vishnu and Jehovah with echoes from Thor, Apollo, Kali and Baal. 

 Yes indeed, I did hear “nice french violin“  And if it were a genuine JBV, I would shake my head. It is however, a nice French violin that sounds good.

So, sadly, you are correct. I dwell in caves in the far mountains, and I eat my meat raw and bathe rarely.

Let the flogging commence...

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2 hours ago, Amateur Dieudonne said:

"Very nice french violin"?

 

I'm intrigued to know who made it - to be honest I've never seen this degree of craquelure on a French instrument.

At first glance it looks a bit like HC Silvestre or Blanchard - I have a feeling I've seen a Boulangeot with craquelure.

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3 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I'm intrigued to know who made it - to be honest I've never seen this degree of craquelure on a French instrument.

Maybe it was revarnished. :D:ph34r:

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18 hours ago, Amateur Dieudonne said:

A picture of the aforementioned  crazy paving violin......I realised how to fix the up- load problem I was having. 

DSCN4977.jpg

I have a pet peeve about re posting a pic over and over again,,,,,But!

I think that this looks amazing,,

Absolute perfection.

There is no way I would ever consider re varnishing this for any reason. In fact I would love to do a series of these just because,,, talk about al'naturel, the movements of nature is all over it! There is no place to stop looking, it just leads your eyes around on a leach, just looking for a bit more satisfaction. People spend thousands of dollars to go to some far away land to view the natural sights, get out in nature and enjoy yourself, take in the fresh air and gaze aimlessly,,,,, infatuated by the majesty of  the mountains, or sitting beside a mountain stream pouring through moss covered rocks and ferns strewn haphazardly every where,,,,,

Absolute perfection.

Geeze,,, don't know what I was thinking,,, better get a bulldozer and level it all out and put in a parking lot,,,,maybe better strip it and put on some nice boring varnish after all,,,,

Evan Absolutely Weird

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15 minutes ago, reepicheep said:

I like it, too.  I'm a sucker for the individualistic underdog... as I stated at the beginning of this 5 page thread!  :D

 

I may have missed it in the five pages, but how much did the eBay violin cost?

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6 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

The varnish on @Amateur Dieudonne's violin is in much better condition than the OP's, and it is beautiful. I would not even think about revarnishing it, and I'd be happy to play or own it as is. 

I would love to see some more pictures of it!

I will start another thread then with some more piccy's. Title 'Crazy Paving Violin'

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On ‎1‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 9:06 AM, Dave Slight said:

This kind of heavily crazed varnish is quite typical for Mittenwald instruments of this period, and is what one would expect to see.

The condition of the varnish is not affecting the use of these instruments, they sound fine as they are. While the appearance is not for everyone, to strip it and revarnish still falls under the category of vandalism.

it is the composition of the varnish and colouring agents which lead to the heavily crazed pattern, not from being in an attic in Maine. It happens to the ones which have been looked after and played on constantly too.

To this extent? The top and back are  fairly typical but the scroll and ribs are pretty extreme. This is certainly not just crackle due to drying from the surface down. There is more involved here. My own feeling is that under no circumstances should an instrument be revarnished but amalgamation retouching etc. can be beneficial depending on the skill of the restorer and how much the appearance might be improved. 

There are all kinds of varnishes which crackle and heat can definitely speed up the process. I have seen two instruments salvaged from burned houses which really did look exactly like the ribs and scroll of the OP's violin and which according to the owners did not look like that before the fire. And I have seen a really beautiful Joseph Hel which was removed  from England to Australia and developed a really very nice crackle, such as Blank face"s first example of this thread, within a couple of years. My guess would be that the Mittenwald reds discussed here have a general tendency in this direction but that heat was also involved in this particular case.

I'd be interested to hear from some of the more scientifically knowledgeable people here what physical (re)action in the varnish would result in the beading of varnish in this way. I would speculate that this requires a film with extraordinary affinity for itself and a very poor bonding with the substrate.

 

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40 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

To this extent?

Yes, there was a period in Mittenwald where they used this varnish. It has nothing to do with "heat" or the like, but has crackeld due to ist composition. Period. After a while they stoped using it.

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19 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Every time I read that, I see the name as Ermigrd, or “oh my god.”

And even though It’s completely wrong, I laugh really hard anyway. You’re funny even when you’re not trying to be

Lol, I'm glad I'm that entertaining! ^_^

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3 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

To this extent? The top and back are  fairly typical but the scroll and ribs are pretty extreme. This is certainly not just crackle due to drying from the surface down. There is more involved here. My own feeling is that under no circumstances should an instrument be revarnished but amalgamation retouching etc. can be beneficial depending on the skill of the restorer and how much the appearance might be improved.

Hello Nathan,

Yes, to that extent or even more extreme.
At first, I too assumed that these instruments had been exposed to heat, possibly from attics in summer and getting frozen in winters. I have now revised my opinions, having seen quite a number of them where exactly the same kind of beading has occurred.
It seems to happen to them all, even those which have not been neglected.

I would agree that the reds seem to be most affected, and not only from Mittenwald, as another poster has shown.
 

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All righty, it's a rip-roarin' Saturday night, and the top is off!  

Here are some more details:

Well graduated to Strad numbers, thin in the bouts.

The purfling has ebony blacks and maple centers 

The blocks are spruce, and the linings are a mixture of willow and spruce. 

At least two other repairers have opened it, judging by the work on the cleats.

LOB 359 

The neck is set in 9mm 

There are enough non-professional things about it, and other characteristics to conclude that it is American

The scroll may be German

The fingerboard has a "batman" style end. 

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, reepicheep said:

All righty, it's a rip-roarin' Saturday night, and the top is off!  

...

Lol!

Well - it looks remarkably good from the inside!

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1 hour ago, reepicheep said:

There are enough non-professional things about it, and other characteristics to conclude that it is American

The scroll may be German

The fingerboard has a "batman" style end. 

Thanks for the pictures! Why did you take the top off? 

Your conclusion that it is American based on "enough non-professional things about it" is unfounded. It looks pretty nice to me. And experts seem to agree that the varnish is characteristically Mittenwald. What do you see as "non-professional" or were you being funny?

I like the Batman style end of the fingerboard!

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Oh, I didn't take the top off, my Actual Professional Luthier friend did :)  I wouldn't ever try that!  Also, the top was almost all off already, and we wanted to see inside! 

I'm a collector that apparently hasn't yet learned to stop bringing fiddles like this to him, much to his chagrin!  I am not familiar with construction techniques, and I'm definitely not a luthier or an expert repairer.  I'm  just one of those people who keeps trying to find a gem on ebay, then drags it to my friend's shop for inspection.  This is just my report back about the conclusions after somebody who knows a WHOLE lot more than I ever will has looked at it in person.  

As I recall some of the "not necessarily what a professional luthier would do" things were the weird neck blocks and end blocks, the wonky bass bar placed at  a ??? angle, the neck set in way too far at 9mm,  and the overall "tubbiness" of the pattern.   He mentioned there are also characteristically American qualities in general which in combination with these construction methods point towards that being the origin.     

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Thanks for the new photos!

It's interesting that people, looking at the same things, can come to very different conclusions.

The features you're mentioning are in my point of view rather evidence of a refined, personal and highly professionel style. It's clear now, that the violin isn't from Mittenwald. The rib construction excludes this, instead of using the Mitenwald inside mould method it seems to be built on the back, but the short inserted C bout linings are probably meant to give the impression that it was. The neatly curved end blocks are also nothing I would associate with non-professionel, and I can see nothing weord with the form or position of the bass bar, too. The bat-like FB end I've noticed a few times before at handmade boards from the 19th century of different origin.

All in all I would assume (not being familiar with "american" styles) as a starting point that it was made in the South German, possibly Austro-Hungarian region by a maker somehow related to the Mittenwald school, but probably using a Markneukirchen/Schönbach made box (or just the rib cage) as base. This would put it more in the mid or 2nd half of the 19th century period, as well as the Guarneri dG model, which isn't in any way "tubby" in my eyes.

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The distinctive shape of the lower block reminds of the way Buchstetter made these block, though both his model and otherwise construction was different. But there were some makers working in his tradition, especially from the Thumhard family, so I would start to look in this direction first.

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