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Touchup and watercolors


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Following my other post about touchup and pigments, I purchased good watercolors (both transparent and very lightfast) and tried to paint over the varnish.

I tried the Saran Wrap thing but the area to cover is so large that I always had bubbles and wrinkles disturbing me. Thankfully, watercolor can be washed if I do wrong (or, it seems that it can be washed).

After some try and errors, I have a few questions for you guy. Thanks again for your commitment in helping newbs like me, I can’t understate how valuable and appreciated it is.

1. the color layer gets very matt. I guess it is normal, but I need to be sure about the sheen before laying down varnish.

2. I can also see brush bristles marks and water evaporation marks. This one I’m not sure it is normal. I tried to apply the watercolors as dry as possible to avoid « drops » to form à the beginning and end of a brush trace. When such a drop dries, it leave and almost opaque round of color.

3. About color intensity: should I really be able to see a coloration difference with just one layer of color? In other words: should add several layers of color before sealing with varnish? It seems to me the undesired opacity can come with either too much color in the palette mix or too many color layers one on another without varnish to separate them. Both come to the same thing to me, if I think about it. I added successive color layers because I’m afraid of building too much height on the varnish.

4. I try to follow the Brian Epp steps here, but I have no access to the liquid dyes mentioned (ColorTone or TransTint) and haven’t found an equivalent in my country yet. In the book, it says that a « Day-Glo blob » can happen. What does that mean? From searching, it appears to be a super strong blob of color. Am I right?

5. Finally, I intend to alternate between watercolor and colored varnish layers. Is it okay? Maybe it can keep the number of layers a bit lower. For your information, I need to touchup a luth where the table frets where misplaced and glued with a non soluble glue. The frets being very low, I’m a bit afraid of build-up.

Thanks again!

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You have very nicely expressed a lot of the problems with trying to use watercolors for touch ups. They are opaque, and hard to get on thin enough, and even enough for touch up without having them look literally like paint. You can buy all the soluble dyes that you need from Hammerl.

https://www.hammerl.com/fr/teinture/peinture-en-poudre-soluble-dans-l-alcool.html

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Watercolor is usually used in tiny dots to break up the line of difficult to clean cracks. I have also seen it used to mimic some types of reflective flecking underneath other retouching. I have never used watercolor for the general color of a large retouching.

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12 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Watercolor is usually used in tiny dots to break up the line of difficult to clean cracks. I have also seen it used to mimic some types of reflective flecking underneath other retouching. I have never used watercolor for the general color of a large retouching.

Agreed... though I also use them (pretty dilute) to fine tune the color/tone of new wood when required.

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5 hours ago, fiddlecollector said:

Does no-one use paraloid 72 or laropal resins in touch up??

I haven't yet run into someone who does. I don't know if this indicates problems with it, or if people just like to keep using what they have been familiar with the longest.

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2 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Does anyone use magic markers on cheap violins, they use aniline dyes which is what many touch up varnishes use, people say they're going to fade, but then wouldn't the touch up varnish fade the same if it used the same dyes?

 

I've seen some school instruments come in that have been "touched up" with magic markers or Sharpies. It's very seldom a good thing.

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3 hours ago, David Burgess said:

I haven't yet run into someone who does. I don't know if this indicates problems with it, or if people just like to keep using what they have been familiar with the longest.

I have these that i use  for  touch up of old oil paintings (very fine pigments in paraloid 72)  ,alternately with laropal and pigment mixes that i make myself.

I have used them occasionally for touching up old instruments and they work quite well once you learn how to control the glossy look of the paraloid. Quite expensive though.

 

 

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P1170666.JPG

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6 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Does anyone use magic markers on cheap violins, they use aniline dyes which is what many touch up varnishes use, people say they're going to fade, but then wouldn't the touch up varnish fade the same if it used the same dyes?

 

Back when part of my job duties had to do with helping to come up with strategies to maintain a fleet of rental instruments, we found Copic markers to be okay on the sort of instruments in that range.  Your mileage may vary on what you consider acceptable appearance, however on a lot of these sorts of instruments shellac based retouch varnish doesn’t sit all that well on them…  

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I use Orasol dyes with a pretty weak rosin binder when I need transparent colors for touchup. The rosin is compatible with the touchup varnish and holds the color just enough so it doesn't lift too bad when I coat over it. I can also load a brush with thin touchup varnish and pick up a little color off the color pad I make up periodically. Next batch I'll probably experiment with using touchup varnish as a binder in the "paint pad". I make them up like a watercolor pad, and with a white palette for mixing color, it works pretty well, and is reversible so I can take it back and start over without losing any ground. Also works with pigments. I started out in furniture retouching and repair, and adapted some of my experience over the last 15 years.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/8/2021 at 8:44 PM, FiddleDoug said:

You have very nicely expressed a lot of the problems with trying to use watercolors for touch ups. They are opaque, and hard to get on thin enough, and even enough for touch up without having them look literally like paint. You can buy all the soluble dyes that you need from Hammerl.

https://www.hammerl.com/fr/teinture/peinture-en-poudre-soluble-dans-l-alcool.html

 

On 7/9/2021 at 1:41 AM, nathan slobodkin said:

Watercolor is usually used in tiny dots to break up the line of difficult to clean cracks. I have also seen it used to mimic some types of reflective flecking underneath other retouching. I have never used watercolor for the general color of a large retouching.

I conclude that watercolors are use to literally paint wood patterns on the violin as the base layer. I'll look into Hammerl dyes, they look promising. -And they are cheap!- [edit] No, they are not cheap!

 

On 7/9/2021 at 11:59 AM, fiddlecollector said:

Does no-one use paraloid 72 or laropal resins in touch up??

The more I read MN, the more I realize I know nothing. I know nothing about all the products you guys recommand, but all look interesting. Some many options! I guess that traditional products are prefered for traditional work on traditional instruments, but I guess that if these synthetic resins are easily reversible without  touching the original varnish, they can be better than what's usually used?

 

On 7/9/2021 at 3:39 PM, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Does anyone use magic markers on cheap violins, they use aniline dyes which is what many touch up varnishes use, people say they're going to fade, but then wouldn't the touch up varnish fade the same if it used the same dyes?

 

I used Chartpak touchup markers to colorize borders that became too white on cheap instruments. They can also be used with great results on pianos to hide big scratches. But never use them of bare wook, they colorize quite deep. I really don't use them much on violins, but if I need to, the result can be good.

15 hours ago, Michael Richwine said:

I use Orasol dyes with a pretty weak rosin binder when I need transparent colors for touchup. The rosin is compatible with the touchup varnish and holds the color just enough so it doesn't lift too bad when I coat over it. I can also load a brush with thin touchup varnish and pick up a little color off the color pad I make up periodically. Next batch I'll probably experiment with using touchup varnish as a binder in the "paint pad". I make them up like a watercolor pad, and with a white palette for mixing color, it works pretty well, and is reversible so I can take it back and start over without losing any ground. Also works with pigments. I started out in furniture retouching and repair, and adapted some of my experience over the last 15 years.

These dyes also look great, like the Hammerl ones. Makes me wonder if all these different products can be mixed…

How do you make your paint pad?

Edited by flo
Though a product was cheap, it isn't
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On 7/10/2021 at 8:54 AM, flo said:

 

I conclude that watercolors are use to literally paint wood patterns on the violin as the base layer. I'll look into Hammerl dyes, they look promising. -And they are cheap!- [edit] No, they are not cheap!

 

The more I read MN, the more I realize I know nothing. I know nothing about all the products you guys recommand, but all look interesting. Some many options! I guess that traditional products are prefered for traditional work on traditional instruments, but I guess that if these synthetic resins are easily reversible without  touching the original varnish, they can be better than what's usually used?

 

I used Chartpak touchup markers to colorize borders that became too white on cheap instruments. They can also be used with great results on pianos to hide big scratches. But never use them of bare wook, they colorize quite deep. I really don't use them much on violins, but if I need to, the result can be good.

These dyes also look great, like the Hammerl ones. Makes me wonder if all these different products can be mixed…

How do you make your paint pad?

There's a whole technique to touchup, starting with learning to match colors, then to establish a base or underlying (lightest) color and build patterns on top of that. Most important is knowing when to stop, because touchups seem to darken as they age.  I just use a paint pallet that I buy locally in hobby stores. (Started out using children's watercolor trays.) The pallets I buy now have a dozen plastic cups of about 10 ml capacity.  I put a little alcohol in a cup, around 1 ml, and dissolve about 1/8 tsp of powdered rosin, then add about 3/8 tsp of dye, dissolve and mix thoroughly, and set aside to dry to make a dry paint "block". Then I use a piece of white plastic (HDP) to mix colors on, picking colors up with a wet brush.  I always seal any surface with clear touchup varnish before I apply any color, and the binder in my color is purposefully weak so I can easily remove it when I am not happy with my progress. All I want the rosin binder  to do is to make sure my color stays in place when I coat over it. I do put my colors on with a dry brush and clear coat between layers so I can see my results.  Orasol dyes are available from Museum Services and are light fast. I only ever use about six dye colors and three or four pigments. I may change that system next time around. This works well, but I keep experimenting.

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I use these regularly...keeping in mind I do mostly violins for schools and the kitchen party types... so not exactly high end.

https://www.richelieu.com/ca/en/category/abrasive-and-finishing-products/mohawk-finishing-touch-up/touch-ups-and-wood-fillers/touch-up-markers/promark-touch-up-markers/1018930

There is a learning curve to use them effectively. I have about 10 color variations and often blend them in layers and rubs to get to where I need to be. Applying one color on top of another will also dissolve the first color... and can make a mess... so there are tricks.

It helps to have a sample board of maple and spruce with each color applied and that is a good start to matching the color you need.

I seal anything bare first with clear varnish or shellac, then apply marker in one or several THIN coats .. When done, seal with a clear varnish rub.

Can't say I have ever seen a fading issue... 

Cheers, Mat

 

 

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22 hours ago, Michael Richwine said:

I just use a paint pallet that I buy locally in hobby stores. (Started out using children's watercolor trays.) The pallets I buy now have a dozen plastic cups of about 10 ml capacity.  I put a little alcohol in a cup, around 1 ml, and dissolve about 1/8 tsp of powdered rosin, then add about 3/8 tsp of dye, dissolve and mix thoroughly, and set aside to dry to make a dry paint "block". Then I use a piece of white plastic (HDP) to mix colors on, picking colors up with a wet brush.  I always seal any surface with clear touchup varnish before I apply any color, and the binder in my color is purposefully weak so I can easily remove it when I am not happy with my progress. All I want the rosin binder  to do is to make sure my color stays in place when I coat over it. I do put my colors on with a dry brush and clear coat between layers so I can see my results.  Orasol dyes are available from Museum Services and are light fast. I only ever use about six dye colors and three or four pigments. I may change that system next time around. This works well, but I keep experimenting.

Thanks for the recipe, I will try to make these color pads. It looks fun! Is the powdered rosin you use just regular bow rosin that you crush?

1 minute ago, Mat Roop said:

I seal anything bare first with clear varnish or shellac, then apply marker in one or several THIN coats .. When done, seal with a clear varnish rub.

This makes me wanna try this for rental instruments. Never thought of this before!

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On 7/9/2021 at 11:34 AM, FiddleDoug said:

I've seen some school instruments come in that have been "touched up" with magic markers or Sharpies. It's very seldom a good thing.

If you must,  some scrapbooking stores sell markers in natural tones

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3 hours ago, B. Duckworth said:

If you must,  some scrapbooking stores sell markers in natural tones

check my link above... there must be 50 or 60 color variations... more than you'll ever need:)

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4 hours ago, fiddlecollector said:

Im in the UK ,but the markers look interesting for other uses. But is this a joke or are they really so expensive.:(

https://www.homeloft.uk/products/mohawk-m2671208-promarktm-touchup-markers-12-pk-730in-x-700in-x-170in?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIt6q_3Jri8QIVjGpvBB0SvgY9EAQYBCABEgKltvD_BwE

I'll sell you some for half that! :lol:

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