French (Parisian) stain on inside


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What do you assume the Parisian makers at the time of Vuillaume used to stain the inside of their instruments?

It seems to be a chemical stain that sometime develops more towards reddish brow.

Also has anyone have a sample of decades old nitrite treated wood, preferably unvarnished?

 

Many thanks in advance C

 

 

889558812_Vuillauminside.jpg

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I would agree that it is a chemical stain. I have observed some large unintentional drips and splatters of this stain under the original varnish on the exteriors of Vuillaume instruments, and in such concentrations it turns black.  I have seen the same thing on the inside of his instruments too.

 

image.thumb.png.3efefee06f6e32d5a39b73137f71ed77.png

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On 3/17/2021 at 2:49 PM, Christian Pedersen said:

The Becker 100yr stain noted in this previous thread is the closest I've seen to what you are looking for. Historically possible. 

--Christian Pedersen 

 

https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/333364-dichromate/&do=findComment&comment=697775

My guess..looks like what they used to call Barber's acid which was a weak lye solution.

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On 3/17/2021 at 1:25 AM, CSchabbon said:

What do you assume the Parisian makers at the time of Vuillaume used to stain the inside of their instruments?

It seems to be a chemical stain that sometime develops more towards reddish brow.

Also has anyone have a sample of decades old nitrite treated wood, preferably unvarnished?

 

Many thanks in advance C

 

 

889558812_Vuillauminside.jpg

Do you have more images of this violin? Do you know who made it? I didn't knew 'linings let into corner blocks' were used in Paris.

Thanks

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2 hours ago, joerobson said:

My guess..looks like what they used to call Barber's acid which was a weak lye solution.

Interesting, barber's acid, which is a weak lye solution sounds a bit contradictory... I did a bit of searching online, but I didn't find much additional information on barber's acid. Can you tell me what barber's acid consists of?

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2 hours ago, mendicus said:

Do you have more images of this violin? Do you know who made it? I didn't knew 'linings let into corner blocks' were used in Paris.

Thanks

It looks like a Vuillaume, snazzy signature and all. The blocks are made to look Cremonese - I think Lupot was the first Parisian to let his linings into the blocks, although I could be wrong on that count.

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On 3/16/2021 at 9:25 PM, CSchabbon said:

What do you assume the Parisian makers at the time of Vuillaume used to stain the inside of their instruments?

It seems to be a chemical stain that sometime develops more towards reddish brow.

Also has anyone have a sample of decades old nitrite treated wood, preferably unvarnished?

 

Many thanks in advance C

Good question...

I'm not sure it was just one thing that was used in the shop. On some of the more severely stained Vuillaumes I've *suspected* it might be aqua fortis (a form of nitric acid from  saltpeter) once widely used to stain wood... I think some still use the stuff to stain long gun stocks...

I thought I smelled a hint the nitric when working on a violin (from what was sometimes referred to as Vuillaume's "baked period"),  but not sure I trust my senses in this case. Might have been my imagination.

Not sure when nitrites were common... I've found mention of it's use in meats in the late 19th century. Anyone know if they were widely available before then and their uses?

Love to know other's thoughts/observations...

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15 hours ago, Joris said:

Interesting, barber's acid, which is a weak lye solution sounds a bit contradictory... I did a bit of searching online, but I didn't find much additional information on barber's acid. Can you tell me what barber's acid consists of?

Certainly contradictory by modern standards.

In those days barbers were also defacto surgeons.   The solution was likely some sort of cleaning agent.  My reference comes from an old cabinetmaker's text.  My guess comes from using the solution.

on we go

Joe

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Salient to the topic but off the beaten path of European tradition: The Japanese have long used a water based stain called kakishibu. It is made by fermenting unripened persimmons for a year and aging in casks for a further two years. It is essentially a strongly tannic solution, but the chemistry is significantly more complicated as might be expected of a product of fermentation. 

Its prizes in Japanese craft not only for it's color, but also it's anti-fungal and pest repellent properties: things that could be considered of value for an interior violin coating.

I have been playing with it and rather enjoy the results so far. 

IMG_20210317_203652~2.jpg

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This persimmon stain is similar to traditional walnut husk stain in that it's a tannic compound created through fermentation, and has anti-fungal and anti-parasite characteristics as well. I only just found out that the "furniture grade" "brou de noix" that I picked up years ago for floorboards and other non-violin woodworking isn't actually made from fermented walnut husks, but from an extract of Cassel earth, and that's the case with just about any "walnut crystals" any of us may have bought for wood staining or making brown ink. Real "brou de noix" is all but unobtainable from shops, and seems to have other properties and color than the commercial "terre de Cassel" stuff. I think i'm going to delve into this a bit. Anyone here have experience with the traditional stuff?

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9 hours ago, Bruce Carlson said:

J.B. Vuillaume did it for sure.

To take this a bit further, "Cremonese style" blocks and linings are something that sets the "high end" French makers, like Lupot, Vuillaume, Chanot and the Lupot successors the Gands and Bernardels, apart from the "run of the mill" Mirecourt makers. Many of the makers who worked for these shops also did interiors like this in their own high quality work. When you see french violins with simpler interiors, you are probably looking at more "high volume" lower quality work.

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54 minutes ago, Michael Appleman said:

This persimmon stain is similar to traditional walnut husk stain in that it's a tannic compound created through fermentation, and has anti-fungal and anti-parasite characteristics as well. I only just found out that the "furniture grade" "brou de noix" that I picked up years ago for floorboards and other non-violin woodworking isn't actually made from fermented walnut husks, but from an extract of Cassel earth, and that's the case with just about any "walnut crystals" any of us may have bought for wood staining or making brown ink. Real "brou de noix" is all but unobtainable from shops, and seems to have other properties and color than the commercial "terre de Cassel" stuff. I think i'm going to delve into this a bit. Anyone here have experience with the traditional stuff?

Yes, this makes sense. And unfortunately I'm not aware of a good source for true brou de noix. I assume that the predominant type of walnuts used in Europe are English (Persian) Walnuts. While those can be found in my area, Black Walnut is far more common. I have such a tree in my yard, and if I could be given guidance on its traditional preparation I could attempt it. 

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1 hour ago, Michael Appleman said:

This persimmon stain is similar to traditional walnut husk stain in that it's a tannic compound created through fermentation, and has anti-fungal and anti-parasite characteristics as well. I only just found out that the "furniture grade" "brou de noix" that I picked up years ago for floorboards and other non-violin woodworking isn't actually made from fermented walnut husks, but from an extract of Cassel earth, and that's the case with just about any "walnut crystals" any of us may have bought for wood staining or making brown ink. Real "brou de noix" is all but unobtainable from shops, and seems to have other properties and color than the commercial "terre de Cassel" stuff. I think i'm going to delve into this a bit. Anyone here have experience with the traditional stuff?

from what I understand the pigment "Van Dyke Brown" was traditionally made with the Cassel earth, whereas "Van Dyke Crystals" are unrelated, made from walnut husks and still widely available (at the least the ones from Cornelissen are)

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15 minutes ago, plasterercaster said:

from what I understand the pigment "Van Dyke Brown" was traditionally made with the Cassel earth, whereas "Van Dyke Crystals" are unrelated, made from walnut husks and still widely available (at the least the ones from Cornelissen are)

Double check that. I just verified my usual source of "walnut crystals," and they're not made from walnuts, although they're coming from a traditional woodworking suppllier.

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1 hour ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Yes, this makes sense. And unfortunately I'm not aware of a good source for true brou de noix. I assume that the predominant type of walnuts used in Europe are English (Persian) Walnuts. While those can be found in my area, Black Walnut is far more common. I have such a tree in my yard, and if I could be given guidance on its traditional preparation I could attempt it. 

When the nuts are green and begin to fall collect a 5 lb  bucket about 2/3 full. Fill the bucket with water.. Put the cover on.  Put it in a corner and forget about it for at least a year.  Filter all particulate out before using.

on we go,

Joe

 

 

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, joerobson said:

When the nuts are green and begin to fall collect a 5 lb  bucket about 2/3 full. Fill the bucket with water.. Put the cover on.  Put it in a corner and forget about it for at least a year.  Filter all particulate out before using.

on we go,

Joe

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Joe! 

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When I was a kid we would collect buckets of black walnuts in the woods and hull them  before roasting. Our hands would be purple black for weeks afterwards. Not sure if the nussbaum is the same stuff but definitely worth experimenting with. Hickory hulls also have a strong color although more of a yellow brown. 

I have a feeling that the more red brown stain is related to nitic acid and can have some unpleasant effects on the wood. I am remembering Rene Morel using nitric to color new edges etc. and fixing or neutralizing the stuff with heat from an alcohol lamp.

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6 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Yes, this makes sense. And unfortunately I'm not aware of a good source for true brou de noix. I assume that the predominant type of walnuts used in Europe are English (Persian) Walnuts. While those can be found in my area, Black Walnut is far more common. I have such a tree in my yard, and if I could be given guidance on its traditional preparation I could attempt it. 

I’ve made a simple brown stain from black wulnut husks, or husks and hulls, simply by maceration* and letting a large amount in the gallons steep in a sealed 5 gallon bucket for months. 

*maceration being drive over with a car, or hit with a hammer to get to the nuts, then a little bit more once in the bucket.

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