Don Noon

Durable, sweat-proof varnish or polish

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On 10/17/2020 at 5:19 PM, Don Noon said:

After looking around a bit, I'm getting more confused about the different types of shelf liner or book covering.  Kittrich manufactures the "Con-tact" brand of films, with a book covering product on Amazon that is the same dimensions as the linked eBay item, but the image is different.  I wonder if the eBay listing is an out-of-date image, or if it's actually a different product. The material I used, which is Kittrich Con-Tact shelf liner, seems like it should have less demand for adhesion than a book cover.  

The book cover material on Amazon is cheap enough, so I'll just get some.  Mark; if you want to send me a sample to compare, it might clear up some of the questions.

I got the Con-Tact book covering material, and it's exactly the same stuff as the Con-tact shelf liner... same matte, same thickness, same low-strength adhesive.  Just smaller roll.  I don't know yet if it's the same as the material Mark Norfleet linked to on eBay, but I'm going to guess it's the same (I'll post the results when I get a sample).  In any case, now I have a huge supply of non-stick backing sheet if I want to do the packing tape routine.

 

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7 hours ago, Mike_Danielson said:

Linseed oil is used to create a protective coating  (traditional) on gunstocks.  Coat after coat is applied in thin layers until a build is created.  It has been used for a long time (since there were guns?).  I do not think it has been forgotten.  For example, I think it is used on those hand-made English shotguns (something I would like to own).

It suffers from poor water resistance and is delicate.  But, it is easily repaired.  I cannot understand the point of using it on a musical instrument that is subject to wear.

Mike D

Back when I was first introduced to by-the-numbers weapons care, linseed oil was the standard dressing for U.S, military walnut gunstocks, going back time-out-of-mind.  Something similar is done on marine teak woodwork.  IMHO, the method is both water-resistant and rugged, but it involves saturation and continual application, and is totally unsuitable for stringed musical instruments.

IMHO, again, you have two incompatible choices here with regard to sweat/skin oil protection.  You can either focus on tradition and reversibility, and periodically restore the damaged varnish, extended with plastic band-aids, or else focus on durability, and go with a permanent, non-traditional finish on contact areas.  I'd incline towards using traditional approaches on historical and "fine" instruments, and reserving something permanent (such as urushi) for student, rental-pool, and backup fiddles.  :)

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11 hours ago, Mike_Danielson said:

Linseed oil is used to create a protective coating  (traditional) on gunstocks.  Coat after coat is applied in thin layers until a build is created.  It has been used for a long time (since there were guns?).  I do not think it has been forgotten.  For example, I think it is used on those hand-made English shotguns (something I would like to own).

It suffers from poor water resistance and is delicate.  But, it is easily repaired.  I cannot understand the point of using it on a musical instrument that is subject to wear.

Mike D

So you don't subscribe to the oil ground hypothesis of Stradivari instruments?

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On 10/15/2020 at 8:27 PM, Mark Norfleet said:

I don’t use the shelf paper with wood grained, flower, animal or geometric patterns. 

 

Some of my favorite bandages were emblazoned with cartoon characters. But I will agree that most high-level fiddle players would not be eager to go that route, applied to their fiddles.

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22 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

That's the thing, however. People keep offering valid reasons for why they prefer not to use poly and you keep hammering on it as though you've only been told "I just don't want to!". That is not the case. If you are passionate about the use of poly in this application, why not run some experiments of your own and get back to us? If I recall correctly, you work in the sciences. Why not approach this scientifically?

:blink:

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10 hours ago, Violadamore said:

or else focus on durability, and go with a permanent, non-traditional finish on contact areas. 

What is non-traditional about Joe R's  great suggestions?  Amber varnish or shellac?  I would be very interested if someone  has recently proven that neither are historical possibilities on the old master instruments?  

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35 minutes ago, violinsRus said:

What is non-traditional about Joe R's  great suggestions?  Amber varnish or shellac?  I would be very interested if someone  has recently proven that neither are historical possibilities on the old master instruments?  

Nothing.  Those are traditional violin varnishes.  I was contrasting those with solvent-ignoring finishes such as urushiol or polyurethane, which are non-reversible.  :)

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50 minutes ago, violinsRus said:

What is non-traditional about Joe R's  great suggestions?  Amber varnish or shellac? 

They would be close enough to traditional for me... but the question is, how well do they really hold up with a player with sweat that has properties similar to alien blood?

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I've been using "spar" varnish for my mandolins and pure shellac for french polishing over that. I've used Hidersine oil varnish, Tru-oil on some of the first instruments as well. One of my first mandolins was made for a player who has that "alien blood" sweat. He corrodes new strings within few tunes - the plain steel goes completely black. The shellac on the mandolin I made  took probably four-five months to become gummy, sticky, dirty mess on all areas exposed to bare hand touch. I cleaned it and the oil varnish below was perfectly fine. Another mandolin made at the same time for another player with all same finish schedule is still fine with the shellac on top. The varnish was either the Hidersine or perhaps my first use of synthetic oil varnish / likely CLOU alkyd-urethane varnish.

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