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Hi Everyone,  

I have just started to finish my third violin and thought I would share some photo's.  

Just a recap, my first two violins are in this thread:  https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/347627-thanks/

One aspect of these violins that I was not happy with is the varnishing.  The first was too light and I did not handle the spirit varnish well.  The second, I tried darkening with potassium permanganate, and coloring with aniline dyes.   I looked very promising until the darkening and dyes (except yellow) all but disappeared under the varnish.  So, too light and the flame a little burned.  Instrument plays and sounds pretty good though.

 

Third time around, I spent some time cooking varnish and experimenting with various concoctions.  

Here is the violin after some tea, 2% Sodium nitrate and a day or so of good Aussie UV.  A sample of the the bare timber(torrefied) is included for comparison:

IMG_20211225_090343.thumb.jpg.3f9fb0747e81bd8ff8599fcee24d4d5b.jpg

IMG_20211225_090355.thumb.jpg.a0d95e02b6cd044d1295f38bd3fa5a69.jpg

 

Then, after a ground of cottage cheese with 10% calcium hydroxide, 5% linseed oil & some fumed silica: 

IMG_20211225_100456.thumb.jpg.f3b030a7dc6d95ce06fb2b32cd67eb15.jpg

IMG_20211225_100507.thumb.jpg.a0fca9aac7932257cb0d905ab7489a6c.jpg

 

Then after a second coat of the ground (without fumed silica)

IMG_20211225_103840.thumb.jpg.058aa6951fd4f7016148f9e77a46b39a.jpg

 

Next will be Davide's mastic refractive ground.......

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18 hours ago, David Stiles said:

Hi Everyone,  

I have just started to finish my third violin and thought I would share some photo's.  

Just a recap, my first two violins are in this thread:  https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/347627-thanks/

One aspect of these violins that I was not happy with is the varnishing.  The first was too light and I did not handle the spirit varnish well.  The second, I tried darkening with potassium permanganate, and coloring with aniline dyes.   I looked very promising until the darkening and dyes (except yellow) all but disappeared under the varnish.  So, too light and the flame a little burned.  Instrument plays and sounds pretty good though.

 

Third time around, I spent some time cooking varnish and experimenting with various concoctions.  

Here is the violin after some tea, 2% Sodium nitrate and a day or so of good Aussie UV.  A sample of the the bare timber(torrefied) is included for comparison:

IMG_20211225_090343.thumb.jpg.3f9fb0747e81bd8ff8599fcee24d4d5b.jpg

IMG_20211225_090355.thumb.jpg.a0d95e02b6cd044d1295f38bd3fa5a69.jpg

 

Then, after a ground of cottage cheese with 10% calcium hydroxide, 5% linseed oil & some fumed silica: 

IMG_20211225_100456.thumb.jpg.f3b030a7dc6d95ce06fb2b32cd67eb15.jpg

IMG_20211225_100507.thumb.jpg.a0fca9aac7932257cb0d905ab7489a6c.jpg

 

Then after a second coat of the ground (without fumed silica)

IMG_20211225_103840.thumb.jpg.058aa6951fd4f7016148f9e77a46b39a.jpg

 

Next will be Davide's mastic refractive ground.......

My thoughts on this:

Doesn’t look bad, but to know how this ground looks like it needs to be varnished.

Torrefied wood can have pretty dark colors, your wood looks rather light colored. Sometimes the benefit of torrefied wood is that you don’t need to think about ‘killing the white’ which helps a lot for successive coatings. 
 

Supposedly the cottage cheese coating is casein? It would be instructive to know how diluted this was applied. Ingredients is one thing but consistence in many cases more important for the optical result. 

 As a general approach for the ground I find one-step methods the best. IMO adjusting several different layers always gets a kind of complicated. 
 

For the color goal I have always ‘gold imitation’ in my head, so rather than ‘yellow-yellow’ it is more ‘ochre-yellow’. For this your ground goes in a good direction. (Could be that it is a little too dark , but this can’t be judged precisely from photos on a computer screen.)

 

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12 minutes ago, David Rosales said:

Curious to know if you solved the D string issue after you finish and set it up!

Hi David,  D string is fine now, thanks.  I did a bit of bridge trimming which helped somewhat.  It then gradually improved with time and was completely fixed when the time came for a tighter soundpost.

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1 hour ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Supposedly the cottage cheese coating is casein? It would be instructive to know how diluted this was applied. Ingredients is one thing but consistence in many cases more important for the optical result. 

Hi Andreas,  I suppose it is pretty much casein.  Most recipes call for quark however I used low fat/high protein cottage cheese as I couldn't find suitable Quark here.  When mixed with the lime it goes to the consistency of milk and I wipe-on/ wipe off with a buffing sort of action.  The reaction produces an ammonia smelling vapor.  It might be this ammonia that does the darkening?

 

1 hour ago, Andreas Preuss said:

As a general approach for the ground I find one-step methods the best. IMO adjusting several different layers always gets a kind of complicated. 

I may well be over complicating it.  I think Davide Sora uses casein under his mastic ground; he might like to confirm that, I may be wrong.  The approach certainly looked good to me on my test pieces.  

1 hour ago, Andreas Preuss said:

For the color goal I have always ‘gold imitation’ in my head, so rather than ‘yellow-yellow’ it is more ‘ochre-yellow’. For this your ground goes in a good direction. (Could be that it is a little too dark , but this can’t be judged precisely from photos on a computer screen.)

Hopefully not too dark but we will see.  It's refreshing not to be worrying about being too light though.  The colour is looking very much like an older violin that we like the look of.  

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I have just about finished varnishing violin no.3.  I made plenty of mistakes, learnt a lot but this is a vast improvement on my previous attempts.   I thought I would put up some pics.   

Here it is with Davide's mastic refractive ground:

IMG_20211226_162913.thumb.jpg.3362f05cd2d3195c8f99f1e3c2d764b9.jpg

  IMG_20211226_163054.thumb.jpg.f7f75b162809a6a9f5ab4df4b231b963.jpg

 

Here after first coat of varnish:

IMG_20220101_112518.thumb.jpg.61c3e5f796b04c922719bbecc79db909.jpg

IMG_20220101_112220.thumb.jpg.425a0e7ea632abdcf239dc5f5ea71dca.jpg

....and here we are after 2 colour coats and a clear:

 

IMG_20220103_122830.thumb.jpg.22e2740dcd89df8e40ddeddc033319b6.jpg

IMG_20220103_122643.thumb.jpg.edc5153c9dbc468cfa87525676733805.jpgIMG_20220103_122556.thumb.jpg.57c9d59ddd71b9c72849d6813cc52aec.jpgIMG_20220103_122320.thumb.jpg.bdcc7c2583e31db25f480d0474ed5974.jpg

I over-did the colour on one coat and it ended up quite uneven.  I am pretty happy with the outcome though. I suppose it gives a mild antiquing effect.  Plenty of room for improvement.

Now waiting for it to harden up a bit and I then I plan to rub it back with tripoli powder.  May need something at bit coarser here and there  to level some marks.  Pumice should do for that.

 

 

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It does seem that the group d is the most important.

Wow. That's not what I wrote!

The ground is.

It changed that one to group too. AI is such a help at times. It won't even type AI!

Edited by Ken_N
Auto spell on steroids
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I have finished my no.3 but still waiting for the varnish to harden up.  I really didn't fully appreciate how long this can take!  I think I will build a UV cabinet for next time.   I got tired of bringing the violin in and out of various outdoor locations every time the weather changed.  We get plenty of UV here but wind, rain & hot sun wreak havoc.  If only every day was light breeze & mild overcast to diffuse the UV.

Anyway, I am happy with the varnish.  Much better than my previous efforts but still has plenty of room for improvement.  The instrument plays really well.  Nice tone across all strings.  If anything, the A is the weakest link this time but not a real problem as such.  We will see how it all settles in. 

I want to thank everyone here for the treasure trove of information that has made it possible for me to be able to make a really good violin. Who would have thought!

Here are some pics:

IMG_20220114_120408.thumb.jpg.e78d6d5648a9fb128de6c1001df8c509.jpg

IMG_20220114_120306.thumb.jpg.11b918d009df6d38f7b7b92e0a965057.jpg

IMG_20220114_120248.thumb.jpg.cae80838ee6b586142470a2ac80671e3.jpg

IMG_20220114_120511.thumb.jpg.e9e22cdd3d3754b39bbbdda79675a606.jpg

IMG_20220114_120454.thumb.jpg.f63b167da39b2079912a42c422aa2605.jpg

 

 

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi everyone,

I have been tweaking setup to see what my no.3 is capable of.  Overall it is seems well balanced across all the strings, particularly nice tone on the E string and the G string.   

It had it's first outing to orchestra rehearsal yesterday and the player reported that the A & D did not project well and she had to work hard to hear them above other instruments.  I thinned the top of the bridge and opened up the heart and will see how that goes. 

In the meantime, I thought I would try a bridge tap spectrum.  Just a phone app this time but I am getting a measurement microphone for the PC soon. 

This is what I got:

No.3_20220214-144245.thumb.png.2f325ea4447328fb8e1a1b23d3487ff7.png

Ignore the yellow line, the hard to see red one is the violin.  I will look at the app settings and see if I can get more contrast.   I am not sure what this tells me but I am interested to find out.  

For comparison, this is our old German Strad:

Dad_20220214-144524.thumb.png.7917ca392a57794386a9504788d6ed61.png

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a measurement microphone now and thought I would have another try at recording some bridge tap spectrum.  Here are thee consecutive taps of the same violin, from the same recording:

V3-1.thumb.jpg.60a5a2d86035917d6d75d9415f65f6ae.jpg

V3-2.thumb.jpg.6795841db10cc248f0863e51e7336a25.jpg

V3-3.thumb.jpg.ae14c8bb7bc195e155deb4e717d9f4c5.jpg

I thought I had a consistent technique.  Obviously not! 

I think the main difference is how hard I tapped.  Which one is closest to what I should be aiming at?   What does this tell me about my violin?

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's certainly operator dependent regarding tap consistency, but the best approach is to average a LOT of taps together.  For my spectra, I use 9 mic positions, 10 taps at each position, for a total of 90 taps for one spectrum.  It takes me less than a minute.

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  • 1 month later...

The time has come to sort out tonewood for my violin number 4.  This piece of maple has a darker area down the centre.

PXL_20220511_010848848.thumb.jpg.d4a2d9b432409f18a5bf527e99143746.jpg

It can be seen on the end grain as well. 

PXL_20220511_012205411.thumb.jpg.ff9332ff2f12fbe5a31989ca2ad07dd5.jpg

 Is this likely to be an issue acoustically or just visually? Maybe it won't show under varnish.   

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It's fungus stain from improper drying (too slow inital drying for maple). I have some pieces like that and strong hydrogen peroxide (30%) helped to bleach it after few applications (after carving, it doesn't bleach too deeply into wood).

But otherwise it's just cosmetic. It may not show depending how dark your stain/ground is.

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That's exactly what I have here in some pieces. When I cut fresh maple into wedges with my friend years ago I took some pieces with me and the rest went with the friend. I stored them in corner my basement shop which had no ventilation back then and even the window was closed, and he stored the rest in his well ventilated outside shed under roof. Year later when we took all the wood back together to sort it and cut out defects we have found that the pieces from my basement all had this stain inside. outside was nice and clean only after resawing you could see it just like you. I looked up information and maple needs to get the initial drying ASAP and fast. Preferrably kick off in kiln to get humidity down below 20%, especially if weather is warm. In winter the fungus is slow but once you get the wood into warm place it grows fast.

I'm using it for mandolins and it gets lost under classic sunburst stain but on violin it may be harder to hide it.

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I remember reading in U.S. forest service studies that this type of fungus made the wood approximately

one percent weaker and one percent lighter in weight. you are lucky it didn't progress further into

spaulting, but even spaulted wood is being used these days.

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9 hours ago, donbarzino said:

I remember reading in U.S. forest service studies that this type of fungus made the wood approximately

one percent weaker and one percent lighter in weight. you are lucky it didn't progress further into

spaulting, but even spaulted wood is being used these days.

I do like spalted wood, it has a certain charm.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all for your comments in the fungus affected maple. The supplier has agreed to replace these backs for me.  There will be a delay getting them so I have decided to use a torrefied set from Switzerland that I was going to save till I had more practice.  The spruce has a density of 0.41 is very close grained.  The maple is 0.61.   My last violin had similar timber and I found the plates were very stiff.  This time I think I will lower the arching a bit.  

 

PXL_20220523_024019702.thumb.jpg.63897fcc0c39e17529aaed706cee0386.jpg

Nice to get started.

PXL_20220523_002430116.thumb.jpg.91aa138e7fd89eec9728bbc868cf00e7.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

Meanwhile, I have been distracted by trying my hand at bow making. 

A while back I had a piece of Queensland (Australia) rain forest timber for a guitar fretboard.  It had a density of 1050kg/m3 and Modulus of Elasticity of 19.2GPa.  Quite similar to Pernambuco.   I thought this was interesting and obtained another piece of suitable size for violin bows however this piece turned out to be lower density; 890kg/m3 and lower MOE; 1.57GPa. 

I went ahead with a few practice sticks and it is very nice to work with.  First attempt ended up a good weight at 38g but too flexible (according to Gianna Violins measurement system).  Second one is 41g and a bit stiffer but not quite enough.  Both are octagonal and a little over size (according to John W Stagg's book).   I feel that to get the a good stiffness with this timber, a bow will end up too heavy.  If I can get hold of a denser piece like my original fretboard it could possibly be spot on.

 

PXL_20220618_033045236.thumb.jpg.dfe05e11a4db292096efda8f3516689e.jpg

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