Baroque

Sticky varnish

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Hi, I have applied a varnish according to Michelman, and it remains rather sticky on the surface, even though I use siccative. It takes long time to become non-sticky, and after it has hardened, it remains sticky beneath, that is, using sandpaper high grit to polish does not "glide" on the surface as dry, but remains stuck in friction. I am afraid this may worsen the acoustics, and am irradiating the violin heavily with strong UV lamp.  Any ideas what I should do?

 

Thanks

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22 hours ago, Baroque said:

Hi, I have applied a varnish according to Michelman, and it remains rather sticky on the surface, even though I use siccative. It takes long time to become non-sticky, and after it has hardened, it remains sticky beneath, that is, using sandpaper high grit to polish does not "glide" on the surface as dry, but remains stuck in friction. I am afraid this may worsen the acoustics, and am irradiating the violin heavily with strong UV lamp.  Any ideas what I should do?

 

Thanks

I'm sure others who are more experienced with Michelman will respond.  My concern is about your referencing sandpaper for polishing.  Are you talking about sandpaper between coats of varnish?  If so, you might try putting a drop of mineral oil on the paper before using it which will help with the friction issue -- assuming the varnish is dry enough for sanding.  Or water in lieu of oil for a more aggressive leveling.  Sanding with sandpaper as a means of polishing after the final coat of varnish has been applied sounds overly aggressive.  A fine abrasive like rottenstone, on the other hand, is used by some of the folks here on MN and you can find some instructive threads by googling maestronet[colon] and the name of the material about which you want to read.

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Thanks. I will try to sandpaper using some turpentine and oil together, so it will dry the sticky layer. Do you have experience in that UV irradiation dries also the coating below the "sticky" surface with time? I am wondering if UV transforms even the sticky sublayers, which appear when sanding.

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I worked with the Michelman varnish starting in 1965.   It is not stable;  after two or three decades it continues to oxidize and eventually has sever "alligatoring"  making small islands about 3-4mm in size.  The problem is that it is a cold-mix varnish without the pre-polimerization that comes with a cooked varnish.

The only reason it became popular was because it provided a way to make a colored varnish.  In fact,  most makers seem to be attracted to whatever varnish has a color.  As for me,  I like glaze coats that are not pigments, and which are very thin.   Also the supporting varnish is transparent and also very thin.  Michael Molnar will attest to the fact that one can make a water-borne varnish that contains silex to hold a glaze and is also only about one ten-thousandth of an inch thick.  Still,  it is rugged.  A completed finish on a violin is no more than 3 thousandths of an inch...  you can convert that to mm or microns as you wish.

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I can only help you with future projects...No one seems to want to take the time, or it just does not cross their mind, but the BEST thing you can do in situations like this is to ALWAYS test a varnish out on scrap wood prior to using it on the 'work" .If this varnish is bad/wrong and not going to work out, it's nice to know that on scrap rather than newly finished  work.

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On 10/10/2019 at 10:16 AM, Baroque said:

Any ideas what I should do?

Varnish stripper, and a different varnish.  And as jezzupe says, test it first.

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12 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

Varnish stripper, and a different varnish.  And as jezzupe says, test it first.

I am with Don Noon here.....  it will impossible to play or sell a violin in this condition. Revarnish with a different varnish and go ahead.

 

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2 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Sorry to ask, what was exactly the idea of the michelman varnish? 

I've never tried the cold- mixed technique that Michaelman describes for making varnish with rosinates, but I have heard a lot of bad things. It is possible to make a cooked varnish with rosinates that is stable, and I have had nothing but success with this method. 

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On 10/11/2019 at 11:56 AM, Baroque said:

Thanks. I will try to sandpaper using some turpentine and oil together, so it will dry the sticky layer. Do you have experience in that UV irradiation dries also the coating below the "sticky" surface with time? I am wondering if UV transforms even the sticky sublayers, which appear when sanding.

I don't see why sanding with turpentine and oil would have a drying effect. If anything, I would expect it so soften the varnish.

If UV dried the surface, enough UV exposure for a long enough time might eventually dry what's underneath.

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16 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

If UV dried the surface, enough UV exposure for a long enough time might eventually dry what's underneath.

Does UV also work on sticky buns?  :lol:  (That one is such a gentle lob, it probably still is floating toward the plate for you to knock over the fence, David.)  Though in that case, I have found the gooier the better.

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12 hours ago, Johnmasters said:

to make a colored, dyed,  resin which could be made into a varnish.

Also, the attraction for Michelman varnish is to avoid the cooking.  Varnish cooking is stinky and dangerous from fires (burning the house down and burns).  

It is also time to mention megilp, another varnish (medium) with a bad history, but lots of users that love it

Keep it  simple.  Reread Mrs Merrifield's treatise on painting.  Hargrave has captured the essence of it.

Mike D

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12 hours ago, Johnmasters said:

to make a colored, dyed,  resin which could be made into a varnish.

That's half of it - the other half of Michaelmans' process is to then make the varnish, which, as Mike Daniels notes, he did without cooking. 

It's useful, but seemingly difficult, to divorce the concept of rosinates (rosins modified with metal salts) from Michaelman varnish. Achille Livache wrote on the production of rosinates in the 19th century, and also described their use in varnish - cooked in, like unmodified colophony. 

 

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I think we'd all love a cold recipe that we could mix together as easily as a cocktail but as most have come to find that really doesn't exist. I gave it a bit of a go, but quickly gave up on it. I think spirot varnishes are the closest you will find to a no cook sauce that will work.

That being said, I think Don's advice of whipping out the stripper and being done with it and moving on is the best advice, anything else will be just wasting time. It's gooey, it will always be gooey if you leave it on, be gone with it.

What I suggest to any new members check here before starting off with varnish. To OP I wonder how someone can build a violin, learn of the Michaelman recipe, make it, then apply it, all of that with no help or input real time, when that help is readily available here. 

So I encourage people to ask questions  about things before they do them, I think if OP would have asked about cold sauce, there would have been many here who would have tried to talk you out of that, but, now that you are here, listen to Don.

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