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joerobson
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9 hours ago, ctanzio said:

If this was generally true, I would not expect the technological advances we have seen over the past decades. I will not dispute that there are researchers more concerned with their reputations than the pursuit of truth. But at least in the areas of physics and materials research, the ones I am most familiar with, publishing error-free research and correcting mistakes borders on a psychological sickness.

I have to say, haven't read your posts with care in the past, my mistake!

Usually I notice knowledge, I do not know why I have let your posts un noticed, I'll change that!

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19 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Researchers try to find something other researchers did not find so far. Therefore it is natural that research A is different parameters than research B. In serious research papers you find a long list of previous published materials and this is at least a reference to what has been taken into account for the research itself. 

Scientists usually don't apologize for or correct previously made mistakes. It would harm their reputation as a scientist. (Back in the late 1980s there was a scientist who discovered the astonishing number of 12 different layers on a Strad varnish, including a layer of pure soot! And this stirred up the violin world, making him the research hero! (Can PM you the name) I am still waiting for a correction of this finding because he presented layers of dirt and polish as Strads varnish. (I would call this scientific misrepresentation) The really funny thing about it is that in scientific terms you can base on this finding further research and claim it to be a sort of truth as long as there is no refute or correction to it.)

Another interesting thing about science is that, scientists (naturally) talk about the things they CAN find with a given method, but they don't talk about what they can't find. I see this as the assumption of a scientific mind that everybody must know what they can't find with a given method. However often this is not so evident for the laymen we are facing science. 

So I stopped to think about why research A is different from research B and why researcher A is not talking to researcher B to find out the reasons why there is a contradiction. I fact we can't expect them to solve problems we are facing in a workshop to build good sounding instruments. They can only give us clues what to do and eventually what to avoid.

On 6/4/2021 at 8:36 PM, sospiri said:

The Casein preparation may be very loud and projecting better than my method. 

I would be interested to know more about this. Is it in your previous threads? (I might have missed it because I am participating here actively since 2018)

I haven't mentioned this before. But both Davide Sora and Edgar Russ both use this method in Cremona and the researchers are saying this is the protein layer.

I'm saying this is not responsible for the old sound, which has a distinctive timbre and feel due to a linseed oil ground. The 'Old Cremona sound'.

What Davide and Edgar are providing is a new sound for volume and projection beyond the old sound. 

I believe that I am offering an obvious conclusion for both methods. The old sound is richer, the new sound is brighter and even louder. It's a bit simplistic, but realistic.

 

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7 hours ago, charliemaine said:

Question @ Joe Robson, when making an oil varnish what unit of measurement do you use for the resin and oil?

Is resin by weight and oil by volume correct? or should oil also be measured by weight? 

Raw pine resin + linseed oil

Both by weight

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46 minutes ago, joerobson said:

Raw pine resin + linseed oil

Both by weight

OK, Thanks Joe.  This video of Edgar Russ making amber varnish confused me. He started with 300g of amber and after running it it reduced to around 100g. He then adds 325ml of oil, I don't know what that would weigh but it seems like alot of oil for only 100g of resin.

I've always measured in the resin/oil in weight like you said.

Getting ready to make some amber varnish so I just wanted to check with you.

 

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2 hours ago, sospiri said:

I haven't mentioned this before. But both Davide Sora and Edgar Russ both use this method in Cremona and the researchers are saying this is the protein layer.

I'm saying this is not responsible for the old sound, which has a distinctive timbre and feel due to a linseed oil ground. The 'Old Cremona sound'.

What Davide and Edgar are providing is a new sound for volume and projection beyond the old sound. 

I believe that I am offering an obvious conclusion for both methods. The old sound is richer, the new sound is brighter and even louder. It's a bit simplistic, but realistic.

 

Beginning with a conclusion and evaluating evidence based on if it agrees or not is a questionable method if you value truth.

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1 hour ago, charliemaine said:

This video of Edgar Russ making amber varnish confused me. He started with 300g of amber and after running it it reduced to around 100g. He then adds 325ml of oil, I don't know what that would weigh but it seems like alot of oil for only 100g of resin.

0.93g/ml for linseed oil x 325ml = 302g of oil, so basically a 3 to 1 oil to amber by weight.

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27 minutes ago, ctanzio said:

0.93g/ml for linseed oil x 325ml = 302g of oil, so basically a 3 to 1 oil to amber by weight.

 So this batch of Edgar's varnish has the same 3 to 1 ratio as Donald Fels' Alchemist amber varnish.

Lots of open time with such a fat varnish but I think I would prefer a leaner ratio.

Thanks.

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Joe, thanks for being bold enough to crack open this can of worms. I hope that we can all hold this very interesting topic of discussion together, on topic. If so, maybe we can get a lot of interesting ideas out there. 

I want to point out that the way Joe framed the topic, it's an open ended discussion about grounding. It's not specifically about what Strad or Andrea Amati or DG or Stainer did, although those are fair game here. It's about ground writ large.

What do you do? Why do you do it? What do you like about it? What do you wish were different about it? What do you believe it contributes to the overall result? Let's have a good natured, productive exchange. 

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11 hours ago, Don Noon said:

"Scientists usually don't apologize for or correct previously made mistakes."

Andreas, I think you are confusing scientists with politicians.

Sorry about that, with my apologies. Each time I think of those 12 layers found in Strads varnish I am getting upset. 

Mostly because the same scientist has his own production line of violins selling them with the 'proven scientific evidence' that they have Strad sound qualities.

(Rant over)

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4 hours ago, sospiri said:

I haven't mentioned this before. But both Davide Sora and Edgar Russ both use this method in Cremona and the researchers are saying this is the protein layer.

I'm saying this is not responsible for the old sound, which has a distinctive timbre and feel due to a linseed oil ground. The 'Old Cremona sound'.

What Davide and Edgar are providing is a new sound for volume and projection beyond the old sound. 

I believe that I am offering an obvious conclusion for both methods. The old sound is richer, the new sound is brighter and even louder. It's a bit simplistic, but realistic.

 

I am making my own experiments at the moment with protein layers. It seems to be  somehow a decision between 'just loud' and 'more expressive'. But if you ask me, I think the really great makers can combine both.

However, I would never dare to claim that just a certain wood treatment gets the magic result of sound power. I think it is a little bit more complex. First, the conditions must be created that the use of whatever ground layer has a positive effect. To underline my argument: A casein layer on a too heavily built instrument won't have any effect, on a too thinly built instrument it will have too much effect. To create the right conditions for a ground layer is IMO VERY important.

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I have to confess my thoughts when finishing an instrument are almost entirely focused on creating transparency and color.  

As for sound, my concerns are very limited.  I want my total coatings to be *not too stiff, *not too massive, * full of particles of whatever nature also aides beauty so that for sound my coatings are less like a coating rubber and more like an asphalt.

This last is just an unsupportable personal belief that a layer of particles in goo will transmit the musical signal more faithfully than a layer of just rubbery goo.

As for the visual, *I in layers with some layers having color goals, *I think of wetting as very significant to transparency. Since balsaams and oils continue wetting fibers and particles and fibers more and more over time, I try to infuse balsaams into the wood surface and insure all my particle content will increasingly be wetted by oils or balsaam overtime.

I believe that within those guiding principles, many varied materials can be used to create visually and acoustically great finishes.

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I have re-read the three excellent articles by Fiocco and co-workers (attached below). 

Although they did not identify new ingredients, their X-ray tomography (micro-CT) study on stratigraphy is excellent. 

Fiocco's conclusions are quite different from the Brandmair and Echard(who favor no mineral particles), and somewhat closer to Nagyvary's older studies (who favor mineral particles). 

Brandmair and Echard mostly focused on Strad violins. Fiocco and Nagyvary studied mostly Cremonese and old Italian cellos (basses). Maybe that's why they come to different conclusions. 

In my recent AsiaChem article I presented a figure mostly based on Barndmair and Echard ideas . Now I made a new figure incorporating Fiocco's ideas for old Italian cellos . There are lots of contradictory observations and instrument limitations, but I try my best to use a cartoon to show the range of techniques employed by old masters. 

 

Notes on chemical compositions

Strad violins system

1. wood

2. wood surface sealer/stain: protein, colorants (non-film-forming) [ground]

3. pale varnish: oil-resin

4. color varnish: oli-resin, colorants

Old Italian cello system

1. wood

2. sealer layer: mineral particles, proteins [ground and filler particles]

3. color layer (proposed by Fiocco): colorants, mineral particles (?), the medium being oil-resin and/or proteins (?)

4. pale varnish: oil-resin

5. color varnish: oli-resin, colorants

 

The new color layer proposed by Fiocco is quite confusing. Is it possible that protein can be mixed with oil resin with added colorants and mineral particles? They are not very sure either, the evidence is still weak. This may be the emulsion color varnish idea that has been proposed many years ago. In the old Italian cello system there is the liberty to change the order of layers 3-5 and even apply additional layers. My cartoon is just showing the range of techniques possible. I never studied any antique varnish samples so I am just offering objective summaries of published research. What I have not shown in the cartoon is the crushing of top wood cell layers. This is seen for some instruments, possibly using burnishing stone or scrapers. 

I believe that the basic themes of old Italian varnishing have been mostly uncovered. There could be many variations on top of these basic themes. 

 

Snap 2021-06-06 at 11.40.35.png

Fiocco 2017 comparison of Amati Stradivari Guarneri varnish.pdf Fiocco 2018 guarneri cello varnish layers.pdf 347239661_Fiocco2019Brescianvarnishprotein.pdf 2026683730_2020AsiaChemCoverStory.pdf

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1 hour ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Sorry about that, with my apologies. Each time I think of those 12 layers found in Strads varnish I am getting upset. 

Mostly because the same scientist has his own production line of violins selling them with the 'proven scientific evidence' that they have Strad sound qualities.

(Rant over)

Some of those twelve layers are not original. So I would focus on the first 3 or 4 on top of the wood. Not sure how many layers are later additions. 

Nonetheless, we do see the combined effects of all twelve layers with our eyes. So it still helps explain the visual appearance. Titian sometimes put 30 glazing layers on his oil paintings to achieve amazing effects. God bless his poor assistants. 

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2 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

What do you do? Why do you do it? What do you like about it? What do you wish were different about it? What do you believe it contributes to the overall result? Let's have a good natured, productive exchange. 

What grounds have you tried that did not work out well or you did not like and why?

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37 minutes ago, nplusplus said:

What grounds have you tried that did not work out well or you did not like and why?

Oh lordy, that's an entire thesis into itself! Remember that personal preference is paramount, and I am not any kind of authority - I am a violin maker seeking to fulfil my own aesthetic ideals. 

I did not care for hide glue ground because of its hygroscopicity. Once you wear through the varnish, the ground becomes ugly and dirty quickly. 

I didn't care for a casein ground because of the rigidity of it - I want a ground to provide damping in certain areas and not in others. Casein did almost the opposite of what I wanted.

Of both of those protein grounds, I did not care for either of them from a refractive or reflective standpoint.

Shellac is a visually stunning ground, but again I am not convinced by it's acoustic impact.

I have never cared for any mineral grounds that I have tried (and by no means have I tried every possibility). Dry mineral mixed into a clear varnish came closest, but still left me underwhelmed in terms of visual impact. Damping wise, I was more inclined, though I think it has more to do with the other content than what ultimately boils down to rock dust. 

Joe Robson's ground system is the closest I have ever encountered to giving me everything I wanted. Anyone who wants something reliable and excellent shouldn't hesitate to contact Joe. 

What I have come to that I like best is a very simple combination of linseed oil and resin, both prepared in very specific ways. Please forgive me for not going into more detail.

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7 hours ago, Bruce Tai said:

So it still helps explain the visual appearance.

I don't think so.

I f you ever had the chance to remove old dirt and polish from a good varnish it is like unearthing a treasure. Most of the times you have before some brownish smeared up paste and after cleaning off all what has not been original you get finally to see the real thing with its transparency, depth of reflection and its real color. 

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16 hours ago, sospiri said:

The idea scares the heck out of people in the violin world. I don't really know why.

I recall the first time I applied varnish on wood thinking I had already had the surface sealed/grounded.  The wood soaked it up like a sponge and I felt it just wasn't right for that to happen.  

A thicker bodied varnish probably would be o.k. though - my stuff is pretty thin viscosity wise.

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If you soak a violin in linseed oil to the point where it soaks at least halfway into the wood, you won't be able to glue cracks that appear because the linseed oil spoils the ability of the hide glue to attach to the surfaces, early in my career I had read about how soaking with linseed oil made the violin lighter, I tried it on a stripped violin, that had quite a few cracks, suffice it to say that the violin was a loss, unrepairable because of the effects of the soaked in linseed oil.

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2 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

I don't think so.

I f you ever had the chance to remove old dirt and polish from a good varnish it is like unearthing a treasure. Most of the times you have before some brownish smeared up paste and after cleaning off all what has not been original you get finally to see the real thing with its transparency, depth of reflection and its real color. 

Can you tell me if there is a Strad violin a) with no varnish left on it b) revarnished completly and if that makes a difference in the sound and maybe how ? Maybe there is some recording ? It was told to me that the good tone last for only as long as the varnisj is there.

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3 minutes ago, VicM said:

Can you tell me if there is a Strad violin a) with no varnish left on it b) revarnished completly and if that makes a difference in the sound and maybe how ? Maybe there is some recording ? It was told to me that the good tone last for only as long as the varnisj is there.

Depends what exactly you define as 'varnish'.

Color varnish has worn off more or less on quite many Strads and you probably won't see the total degree of wear because it was cosmetically repaired in most cases. To name an instrument (from the top of my head), it seems that the 'Benno Walter', a late period Strad, has not much color varnish left. Can't tell you if there are any recordings with this instrument.

If anything has an influence on the sound it is rather the ground (everything which penetrates the wood) than the varnish and research in this field seems to support this.

 

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