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On Varnishing


Brad Morrison
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21 hours ago, Don Noon said:

Or, as George Stoppani observed, when you reveal your closely held, most valuable secrets... you find out that nobody really pays much attention to it.

It's the old adage " The best way to hide something is to leave it in plain sight."

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4 hours ago, Michael_Molnar said:

 

I wrote this from my hospital bed still on pain killers. Now, I appreciate how I should not post nor drive.

 

In that case, I should probably stick a note on my screen about not posting tomorrow. Minor surgery. It seems that the older we get, the more interventions are required. Kinda like fiddles. ;)

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34 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

In that case, I should probably stick a note on my screen about not posting tomorrow. Minor surgery. It seems that the older we get, the more interventions are required. Kinda like fiddles. ;)

Except fiddles are rumored to get better as they get older. :) Hope the surgery and healing goes well.

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18 hours ago, David Burgess said:

It seems that the older we get, the more interventions are required. Kinda like fiddles. ;)

18 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

Except fiddles are rumored to get better as they get older. :) Hope the surgery and healing goes well.

And as one person remarked about fiddle repairs, "It's just wood."  You can fix anything fairly easily.  The way violins work is complicated to figure out, but the structure is simple.  Human structure is super-duper complicated, and you can't just glue in new meat and bone.  Or lots of other stuff that's in there.

It's almost time for my PT session to work on my rotator cuff problem.   Now there's a complicated component.

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The samples you provided are probably not the look you are wanting to "go towards", but your interest to have a look that you want to "go for" is a good impulse.    Getting the wood of an instrument quite dark before the varnishing process, especially if you want to create a convincing antique look, is generally a good approach.  However, the (kind of) darkness (burnt look) of your samples is not that look.  So yes to darkness, but a darkness with other kinds of qualities.   So the idea is to develop your eye more from just "I want darkness" to "what kind of darkness do I want and what does that look like and how to achieve those kinds of qualities.   The piece by Roger Hargrave on making the bass I would say is essential reading, as well as looking at and studying high quality photographs of actual historical instrument, or better yet some actual good quality violins.  Joseph Curtin wrote once that you copy (often in an exaggerated way) the qualities you notice that you like and ignore the things you aren't able to see or understand.   Look foward to seeing photos of your violin as to get to the varnishing. 

 

Many great historical Italian instruments can be quite dark, but simultaneously have the look that light is being reflected from deep from within the varnish.  As as you move the violin, the qualities of light and dark change and move.  The surface is visually lively and complex.

Experiment............

 

Also look at the work of modern makers such as Feng Jiang, Antoine Nedelec, Chris Germain, Melvin Godlsmith, Jeff Phillips, and Andrew Ryan, Christian Byon, and Anton Somers .  There are some amazing examples among that group. 

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32 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

They've got shots for that.

It’s called bullet therapy.

27 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Does that mean it's time to rush to your bedside in case you spill the beans?

Too early. That is not in the cards with this lung cancer. I have some of the best doctors in NJ working for me, including a 20 physician board reviewing my care regimen.  Life is good.

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10 hours ago, Mike Atkins said:

Impressive words for what you're dealing with. I pray you are doing well.

Thanks. I try not to dwell on the bad aspects in my life. 
 

Anyhow, let’s return to talking about varnish not me. Sometime this month I will be reporting on my progress, or lack thereof, with the Coronaviolin. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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On 1/2/2022 at 9:14 AM, Michael_Molnar said:

 

I wrote this from my hospital bed still on pain killers. Now, I appreciate how I should not post nor drive.

 

Well that sucks. :(  With the expert care you are receiving...I hope you're back on track soon! :)

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4 hours ago, Rue said:

Well that sucks. :(  With the expert care you are receiving...I hope you're back on track soon! :)

 

2 hours ago, Violadamore said:

Good luck and God bless you.  Get well.  We need as many fine minds here as possible.  :)

Thank you . This means a lot to me.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

So, with some of the research I've done with what you all have said, I'm thinking potassium silicate on the inside of the back and ribs after they have been glued together with the neck, then vernice bianca for the rest of the instrument. I want to incorporate gamboge in, as I like the bright element it lends the wood, but I don't want that to be the first ground on the wood, it's too bright, so may try a coat of vernice bianca, then a blend of that and gamboge distillate. Not sure how to do that yet, just an idea. 

 

Michael, never met, but I still put you in my prayers, I hope you're doing ok.

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On 1/4/2022 at 6:09 PM, Michael_Molnar said:

It’s called bullet therapy.

Too early. That is not in the cards with this lung cancer. I have some of the best doctors in NJ working for me, including a 20 physician board reviewing my care regimen.  Life is good.

Mike,

Very sorry to hear this.

Your good sense, wisdom and generosity over the years have always been refreshing.

I recently read your book, Thank you.

From one Jersey guy to another you are in the right location for access to excellent health care.

Wishing you a speedy recovery

 Ernie M.

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16 minutes ago, Brad Morrison said:

So, with some of the research I've done with what you all have said, I'm thinking potassium silicate on the inside of the back and ribs after they have been glued together with the neck, then vernice bianca for the rest of the instrument. I want to incorporate gamboge in, as I like the bright element it lends the wood, but I don't want that to be the first ground on the wood, it's too bright, so may try a coat of vernice bianca, then a blend of that and gamboge distillate. Not sure how to do that yet, just an idea. 

 

Michael, never met, but I still put you in my prayers, I hope you're doing ok.

What moves you to use potassium silicate, out of curiosity? Some very reliable makers have spoken out against on these forums. I would encourage you to reconsider.

Vernice bianca is easy to use and can look nice. You can use it inside, too. 

The color given by gamboge is not well regarded in terms of light fastness, but it's use is not uncommon and is well documented. 

Keep us posted, and best of luck!

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26 minutes ago, charliemaine said:

Mike,

Very sorry to hear this.

Your good sense, wisdom and generosity over the years have always been refreshing.

I recently read your book, Thank you.

From one Jersey guy to another you are in the right location for access to excellent health care.

Wishing you a speedy recovery

 Ernie M.

Thanks Ernie. My prognosis is good but I a have a lot of therapy ahead.

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4 hours ago, Brad Morrison said:

So, with some of the research I've done with what you all have said, I'm thinking potassium silicate on the inside of the back and ribs after they have been glued together with the neck...

3 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

What moves you to use potassium silicate, out of curiosity? Some very reliable makers have spoken out against on these forums. I would encourage you to reconsider.

When I first heard of waterglass, I thought it was the coolest stuff.  Until I tested it.  If you're dead-set on using it, I'd suggest as thin as possible to do as little damage as possible to the acoustics.  At least you're not going to use it on the spruce.  I prefer casein myself.

 

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2 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Emphasis mine.

"Usually very slowly sol in cold water, or depending on the composition, almost insol. More readily sol in water when heated with it under pressure. Insol in alcohol; dec by acids with precipitation of silica."

Technically water soluble, but practically in terms of conditions in which violins are used, not so much. 

Regardless, I really wouldn't recommend it for use in lutherie. 

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53 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Emphasis mine.

"Usually very slowly sol in cold water, or depending on the composition, almost insol. More readily sol in water when heated with it under pressure. Insol in alcohol; dec by acids with precipitation of silica."

Technically water soluble, but practically in terms of conditions in which violins are used, not so much. 

Regardless, I really wouldn't recommend it for use in lutherie. 

A lot depends on how finely you grind it, but I feel like cutting to the chase here.  What everybody wants to do is get a supposedly invulnerable silica ground deposited.  Goosing potassium or sodium silicate solutions with acids to cause this gets you deposited silica all right, but it's not lovely, impermeable, crystalline quartz.  It produces amorphous silica gel, you know, the stuff that you find in little bags inside bottles and packages, put there to absorb humidity............... :)

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On 1/1/2022 at 2:34 PM, David Burgess said:

you might not be able to arrange my death rate of decline before I have time to blab everything.

This isn't nearly as simple as just putting a bullet through my head. ;)

That's known information.  They start with the ankles from what I read.

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