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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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On October 14, 31 Heisei at 1:14 AM, JacksonMaberry said:

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. 

 

Well then I am probably using the better half of the Michelman recipe with a some minor modifications.

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On October 14, 31 Heisei at 4:02 AM, Michael_Molnar said:

Some makers cook the rosinates with linseed oil and get good results. 

No matter, I highly recommend adding  Michaelman's  book to your library and READ it.

Never tried that. Interesting idea. 

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On 10/13/2019 at 9:26 PM, JacksonMaberry said:

I second this. It is cheaply available as an e book. You must also read the addendum, found here: 

Modernized-Violin-Varnishes.docx 36.39 kB · 6 downloads

Hi, I noticed all the replies. In sum, the Michelman method pulverizes resin to powder by 6 nights of stirring in 1% KOH solution. The method makes nice varnish coatings, but they lack substance compared to boiled resin+oil+terpentine. What I wonder is how does one color the resin-oil-turpentine sufficiently to get a strong color compared to a "tone" of a color? I would like to make a brown/orange tone to the resin+oil+turpentine, which is applies after cooking (no use of KOH at all.)

 

Thanks!

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16 minutes ago, Baroque said:

Hi, I noticed all the replies. In sum, the Michelman method pulverizes resin to powder by 6 nights of stirring in 1% KOH solution. The method makes nice varnish coatings, but they lack substance compared to boiled resin+oil+terpentine. What I wonder is how does one color the resin-oil-turpentine sufficiently to get a strong color compared to a "tone" of a color? I would like to make a brown/orange tone to the resin+oil+turpentine, which is applies after cooking (no use of KOH at all.)

 

Thanks!

If you're still talking about the 6-night method, you haven't read the paper I posted. In the addendum, Michaelman describes a much faster method of cooking rosin into a base to create rosinates. Please read the linked paper.

Now that you have read Michaelman, you should read a much earlier source, one that Michaelman seems to have been unaware of, judging by his bibliography. It answers your above question by making a resin+oil+turpentine varnish, just like you want, but by substituting a colored rosinate instead of normal rosin. 

From Livache/McIntosh "Varnish Making and Kindred Industries", Vol II:

Oil Varnishes. — Rosinates may be substituted for resins in varnish-making. Coloured rosinates are generally used. Some — like rosinate of copper, which is of a beautiful emerald-green tint — are coloured naturally. The desired shade is imparted to colourless resinates by aniline dyes. Coloured rosinates in the dry state have a fresh appearance, and those used in varnish-making are insoluble in water ; weak acids and alkalies have no action on these resinates, but on the other hand they dissolve very easily in alcohol, spirits of turpentine, benzol, ether and chloroform as well as in melted wax, resins, oils and boiled linseed oil. This facility of solution and their beautiful colour cause them to be greatly used, and they have been advantageously applied upon metal, wood, paper, skin, glass, wax, linoleum and cloth. Preparation of Rosinates. — A rosin soap is made by heating 100 parts of pale rosin with 33 parts of soda crystals in 1,000 parts of water, and adding to the solution cooled to 50° a solution of colour ing matter ; a solution of a metallic salt is then added such as the chloride of magnesia, and the solution is filtered from the insoluble coloured resinate which is well washed and dried at a very gentle heat. The dried product constitutes in reality a true coloured lake. For toys, tin boxes, etc., cheap and quick-drying varnishes are re quired, and in the preparation of these the resins and even common rosin have been replaced by rosinates which dissolve readily in warm linseed oil, and some of these, more especially the resinate of zinc in particular, is very durable. These rosinate varnishes are made by dissolving the rosinate in linseed oil heated to about 120° C. and then diluting with the necessary quantity of spirits of turpentine. The resinates most usually employed are those of lead, zinc, man ganese and lime. A great number of aniline dyes being soluble in solutions of certain rosinates, coloured rosinate varnishes may be made of any desired hue. Fused rosinates are made by heating rosin with metallic oxides (e.g., what is called hardened rosin is made by heating rosin with quick-lime ; the product will dry better if a little manganese be stirred in at the same time). 

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On 10/11/2019 at 5:36 PM, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

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.

Thank you!!

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