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BigFryMan

varnish disaster - send help!

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1 hour ago, finnfinnviolin said:

I have no experience with joes system, but I have always stripped instruments with acetone, in my experience the ground layer ends up better after rubbing everything off and leaving only what has been absorbed by the wood. 

My ground is definitely a separate thing to the varnish I apply on top of it, I have use nitromorse (heavy duty Nasty paint stripper) and stripped my instruments, and again I feel the ground was actually better than the first time round! 

 

Stripping the the first few instruments is all part of the learning process and you shouldn’t be afraid to do so as long as you figure out what works for you. 

Why???? Ask @Jose Catoira he’s the self professed stripping king!

As incredibly frustrating as this has bee, it would be dishonest not to admit that it is a good experience for me to learn how to strip from this point and to learn that it's not a complete disaster. It will give me more confidence to try things in the future and also to learn the limits of what I can and can't do with this varnish system.

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46 minutes ago, Michael Szyper said:

I would strip it with a white spirit / alcohol mix and revarnish it, no matter if you have to redo the ground or not.

I second this motion. 

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1 hour ago, Michael Szyper said:

I would strip it with a white spirit / alcohol mix and revarnish it, no matter if you have to redo the ground or not.

Good advice. Best to get all the old varnish off the original ground and then build up from there. Anyway keep posting photos of your results please.

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Doesn't look too bad to me. Nice starting point for a creative antique finish. 

I would start to light up used areas and fill in where varnish is usual protected. 

I don't know the varnish you are using but if it can be somehow polished with alcohol only to flatten it out, there might some interesting patterns come out. 

And rule number one is the less antiquing is done the better. Scars like scratches should be placed like a stone in a Japanese garden.

i would strip it only if I'd be not satisfied with the varnish itself something like wrong color or wrong transparency. 

 

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On 8/5/2019 at 5:38 PM, BigFryMan said:

Hi guys,

I'm currently working on my third violin and up until the last couple of days the ground and varnish have been progressing nicely.

I have been using my finger to apply dabs of varnish and then the fat side of my thumb to tap and even it out. I have been using Joe Robson's ground system and then greek pitch varnishes and I can't tell you how thankful I am for his knowledge and products.

Yesterday as I was putting a color coat on the back, it seemed to be getting too thick and drying too fast so that when I started to tap to even the coats, the varnish was sticking to my thumb instead of evening out. Even after wiping my thumb clean same deal. Perhaps the turps I'd added to thin the varnish was speeding up the drying?

Anyways, I tried to double down by adding more varnish to re-wet it in desperation and as I'm sure you can imagine, it just got thicker and thicker and lumpier and lumpier :( 

Now i'm not sure what to do. Should I let it dry hard and then sand back the varnish to where it was even? Or would it be possible to wipe the last two coats off evenly with gum turps? If I do wipe the coats off, will it wipe back the last 3 layers of ground also? 


The rest of the violin seems to be coming along well so i'm feeling pretty devastated to have the ground and first coats come up so well and then to have to strip the back and then try and match it all again :(

Attached some pics for reference.

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On 8/5/2019 at 8:24 PM, BigFryMan said:

Joe's been really helpful and suggested to try and even up the patchy previous coat, but I've somehow made that worse. I've sent him another email, but he's on holiday so I thought the collective mind of maestronet may be able to help

Vanishing is fun.  If you are not having fun: STOP.   Varnishing an instrument is a balancing act.   All components must agree.  There is the opinion of the maker.  The opinion of the instrument.   And, the choice of materials and application method.  If one of them is incorrect then the task goes down the drain very fast.  In Josh's situation I think the varnish mix was too viscous for the method and maker's hand.  Also the coat was applied too thick. Changing the material in mid coat only added anxiety and the sense of being lost.  Being lost and varnishing don't do well together.

Taking a step back and getting the balance right let the fun return.

After all the work,  the varnishing is the reward.

on we go,

Joe

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, joerobson said:

 

Vanishing is fun.  If you are not having fun: STOP.   Varnishing an instrument is a balancing act.   All components must agree.  There is the opinion of the maker.  The opinion of the instrument.   And, the choice of materials and application method.  If one of them is incorrect then the task goes down the drain very fast.  In Josh's situation I think the varnish mix was too viscous for the method and maker's hand.  Also the coat was applied too thick. Changing the material in mid coat only added anxiety and the sense of being lost.  Being lost and varnishing don't do well together.

Taking a step back and getting the balance right let the fun return.

After all the work,  the varnishing is the reward.

on we go,

Joe

 

 

 

 

Very wise advice Joe, thank you!

I am learning to enjoy varnishing a lot more now and I think it was a good exercise for me to strip it back, even though it's painful. I've learnt a new skill and it terrifies me less. I do think it will come up well in the end and that's one of the main things. Also gaining a lot more confidence with the varnish. 

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9 hours ago, BigFryMan said:

Very wise advice Joe, thank you!

I am learning to enjoy varnishing a lot more now and I think it was a good exercise for me to strip it back, even though it's painful. I've learnt a new skill and it terrifies me less. I do think it will come up well in the end and that's one of the main things. Also gaining a lot more confidence with the varnish. 

My daddy always used to say "you just ain't a man until you've had to strip a violin" ,well it was either that or something about going to jail, I can't remember right now, but the point is it's an important thing to know how to do and builds psychological character in knowing that the worst that can happen is that you have to wipe it off.  

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Hey guys,

After making the hard choice to strip the back, it's all going pretty well. I am probably one coat away from the back matching up to the sides and top. Was absolutely the right call to strip and re-varnish.

This last coat I went the @jezzupe method of dabbing the varnish on whole bouts at a time and smearing with my palm. Then pat with palm and then thumb pat. Worked really well. I would warn that you'd need to make sure the previous coat was absolutely 1000% dry as I think you could easily pull the previous coat doing this at a thick consistency. 

I've had the practice from the previous coats and now the pain of stripping as motivation to get this right :D

Sorry for the iphone photos, wife currently has the proper camera overseas at the moment.

The varnish is just about the right thickness, but the color is not moody enough so next coat will be a thin coat with some lamp black mixed in. See if I can't get a little more richness.

As always, thanks for all your help and responses, couldn't learn to do this stuff without help!

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see, meh', looks great...

when I get to the varnish part on the guitar I'm working on, I really hoping I can make a short video of me applying a first varnish coat on top of bgv5, with my aim at showing how Joe's stuff has the ability to be applied and perfectly laid out with a very fast "smear and pat" method where I hope to show and speak at the same time while doing it to show how fast it can be, how good it can be, and that by understanding a few tricks, one can see how working in this very fast method is best because if there is an issue, you will still have open time to fix it, let alone it just gets it done quick and right...and after you learn how to do it, unless you are doing more complex multishade coats, its just the best way to apply it.and many other similar varnishes

 

word of caution, the more coats you put on,, the more solvents build up, be very careful with dry times for the last coats....don't rush it , use your nose, not your hands to determine dryness......good luck

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43 minutes ago, jezzupe said:

see, meh', looks great...

when I get to the varnish part on the guitar I'm working on, I really hoping I can make a short video of me applying a first varnish coat on top of bgv5, with my aim at showing how Joe's stuff has the ability to be applied and perfectly laid out with a very fast "smear and pat" method where I hope to show and speak at the same time while doing it to show how fast it can be, how good it can be, and that by understanding a few tricks, one can see how working in this very fast method is best because if there is an issue, you will still have open time to fix it, let alone it just gets it done quick and right...and after you learn how to do it, unless you are doing more complex multishade coats, its just the best way to apply it.and many other similar varnishes

 

word of caution, the more coats you put on,, the more solvents build up, be very careful with dry times for the last coats....don't rush it , use your nose, not your hands to determine dryness......good luck

Any videos of application and tips would be super useful to a lot of people (myself absolutely) so please do! :)

Really like this method of application, it’s my most even application so far. Can see a little of my fingerprints in the varnish so perhaps I needed to thin out slightly more?Only if you look carefully. The self levelling properties of Joe’s varnish is very good. 

I think the last coat I’ll apply thin and by brush. Fat to lean right?

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5 hours ago, jezzupe said:

see, meh', looks great...

when I get to the varnish part on the guitar I'm working on, I really hoping I can make a short video of me applying a first varnish coat on top of bgv5, with my aim at showing how Joe's stuff has the ability to be applied and perfectly laid out with a very fast "smear and pat" method where I hope to show and speak at the same time while doing it to show how fast it can be, how good it can be, and that by understanding a few tricks, one can see how working in this very fast method is best because if there is an issue, you will still have open time to fix it, let alone it just gets it done quick and right...and after you learn how to do it, unless you are doing more complex multishade coats, its just the best way to apply it.and many other similar varnishes

 

word of caution, the more coats you put on,, the more solvents build up, be very careful with dry times for the last coats....don't rush it , use your nose, not your hands to determine dryness......good luck

As someone with almost no sense of smell, I press my thumb hard onto different surfaces for 10 seconds to see if it will take a print to determine if the prior coat is dry enough.  Works for my varnish, maybe not for softer stuff.

-Jim

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12 hours ago, BigFryMan said:

Any videos of application and tips would be super useful to a lot of people (myself absolutely) so please do! :)

Really like this method of application, it’s my most even application so far. Can see a little of my fingerprints in the varnish so perhaps I needed to thin out slightly more?Only if you look carefully. The self levelling properties of Joe’s varnish is very good. 

I think the last coat I’ll apply thin and by brush. Fat to lean right?

If you mean thin, as in you will dilute it with "turp" or thinners, I would be very careful about doing that, solvents soften under coats....If you mean thin as in you will use very small amounts and attempt to brush it on thin, that presents problems too...

I feel the best results come from hand application and patting...related to fat over lean.....I will refer you to Joe and more historic procedures....I personally have come to like using Joes lean oil formula only , but thats mostly cause I do more guitars and the lean oil sits slightly more "bowling ball'ish" then the long oil which has a contraction like texture , which is great for violins...so procedures vary...and with that I would defer you to the man himself.

 

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