Strasbourg turpentine

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On 9/19/2019 at 11:09 AM, lpr5184 said:

How do you use it?

You replied that you use it for "ground".  Do you use it in the raw state or cook off the turpentine and use the rosin? I've heard of makers doing both. ST is a great balsam for reflectivity. Larch has already been mentioned. Canada balsam is also a very good balsam to use but expensive.

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21 hours ago, arglebargle said:

Raw, cut with turpentine and or spirit, colors added as needed.

I really liked the look and was getting pretty comfortable with it. On to something else!:rolleyes:

Thanks for repyling. I have never felt good about appying straight rosin as a ground. Mostly because of the fear of adhesion issues to subsequent coats.

A recent question in another thread to me about my varnish process was asked and my response was...

"I've spent thousands of dollars and hours buying and experimenting with many commercial and homemade varnishes and procedures. As such I have alot of different material at my disposal to use. So depending on what feels right at the moment I can choose to vary the material and processes which is how things go with me when I varnish".


I have no set process. The varnishing may end up a little different each time. I like having options especially if the instrument has been stripped. That introduces yet another set of options.....

In all my experimenting I've never applied raw balsam to raw wood. The effects must be great but I would worry about a chippy varnish, unless that is the desired goal.


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12 hours ago, Michael Szyper said:

You can dissolve Colophony to get the same effect. The balsam dries horribly long. I like the effect of 80/20 short oil varnish more than pure colophony and it isn’t that chippy, too. If you know how to prepare the varnish it is way harder than pure balsam and adds less damping to the wood.

Dissolved resin does have a dramtic affect no argument there. For me it comes down to the desired outcome. If you are antiqueing (which I don't do) then I would think a varnish that is easily removed would be preferred over a varnish that holds up over time. 


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I'd like to see more photos of instruments by the makers who don't antique or artifically wear their varnish to see how the varnish wears on it's own naturally. Makers like David Sora, Michel K and others who apply straight varnish films intending to last for decades.

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