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JacksonMaberry
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Just now, JacksonMaberry said:

Damn, Melvin. Your results speak for themselves. I have been operating under a similar principle, but backwards from what you said - I use a primer/oxidizer first and then apply an oil rich (3:2 oil to resin) varnish as a ground. I prewet the spruce with turpentine before applying the oxidizing solution (synthetic Roubo) which prevents the endgrain issues, but I will try it your way soon. Thanks for sharing! Keep up the gorgeous work. 

Oh No!...this is just my theory!....I did try it about 20 years ago with a great result that I intend to revisit when time allows...I keep trying all kinds of things! I think we need to keep thinking in terms of layers and the optics of layers  and a historic 18C desire to make things look like gold or opulent rubies and the commercial desire to make violins look stunning.....and to remember that they were very smart and would use whatever they could find to commercial advantage. A lot of what we see now of the old stuff is quite faded. Somewhere in my mind I remember a visit to The National Portrait Gallery in London and seeing a Holbein painting where a jewel was represented by a blob of red lake varnish over gold leaf...It always stayed in my mind.

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20 minutes ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

...My personal theory yet to be fully put into practice is that the Old Cremonese sealed the instruments in the white with a quite oil rich clear varnish only in the wood and then applied a chemical oxidizer facilitated by heat to obtain a gold color.  This would explain why there is no end grain darkening because the wood is already sealed before the stain comes in. 

What an interesting theory - your UV photos look very convincing. As for the end result, I'm speechless

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Just now, Melvin Goldsmith said:

Oh No!...this is just my theory!....I did try it about 20 years ago with a great result that I intend to revisit when time allows...I keep trying all kinds of things! I think we need to keep thinking in terms of layers and the optics of layers  and a historic 18C desire to make things look like gold or opulent rubies and the commercial desire to make violins look stunning.....and to remember that they were very smart and would use whatever they could find to commercial advantage. A lot of what we see now of the old stuff is quite faded. Somewhere in my mind I remember a visit to The National Portrait Gallery in London and seeing a Holbein painting where a jewel was represented by a blob of red lake varnish over gold leaf...It always stayed in my mind.

I totally agree with your assessment!

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58 minutes ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

One thing we can do is to look at our results under UV light and compare to the old Cremonese. I pulled out a few pics of my own work to show what I do.

Striking ground and varnish Melvin!!

As for the comparison under UV, however, I have some doubts about the reliability, because the color of the materials in UV light is not constant and changes with the aging of the materials themselves. So if we get the same look today, it will change inexorably over time and may not be the same after 10 or 100 years of further oxidation. The risk is to obtain an ephemeral match, which may not remain the same over time.

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23 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

Striking ground and varnish Melvin!!

As for the comparison under UV, however, I have some doubts about the reliability, because the color of the materials in UV light is not constant and changes with the aging of the materials themselves. So if we get the same look today, it will change inexorably over time and may not be the same after 10 or 100 years of further oxidation. The risk is to obtain an ephemeral match, which may not remain the same over time.

Yes, I agree....the beautiful natural ingredients we love will fade...some more than others....I think some of this is why the research misses them and it is always a factor to think in that the fade will still look nice....It's SO complicated!

 

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1 hour ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

One thing we can do is to look at our results under UV light and compare to the old Cremonese. I pulled out a few pics of my own work to show what I do. My personal theory yet to be fully put into practice is that the Old Cremonese sealed the instruments in the white with a quite oil rich clear varnish only in the wood and then applied a chemical oxidizer facilitated by heat to obtain a gold color.  This would explain why there is no end grain darkening because the wood is already sealed before the stain comes in.

Melvin, what you do is stunning!!

I agree with what you say regarding UV light and, for that matter, comparison under as many different forms of lighting as possible.

Your theory regarding no end grain darkening is very interesting.  I can't say that I have experienced significant issues with end grain darkening but am probably missing something.  Below are a couple of shots of the spruce sample shown earlier but this time without the end grain area cropped out.  What was applied to the quartered face was also applied to the end grain area.  (Both shots were taken under the same single incandescent bench light but with the light direction changed between each.)  While I don't antique, I have a colleague, who uses a similar varnish system, who does.  He doesn't seem to have issues with end grain darkening but, again, I am probably missing something...

DSCN3944_1.jpg

DSCN3945_1.jpg

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41 minutes ago, Melvin Goldsmith said:

Yes, I agree....the beautiful natural ingredients we love will fade...some more than others....I think some of this is why the research misses them and it is always a factor to think in that the fade will still look nice....It's SO complicated!

It is SO complicated!!!

Some aspects will also appear to darken and/or become more transparent/translucent or opaque with significant optical consequences....  And yes UV fluorescence can change over time, or not much..  Research still has much to offer even though various markers will have changed or disappeared over time.  I wish researchers would engage more with people like you! 

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Beautiful work!  

On 3/29/2022 at 1:43 PM, Melvin Goldsmith said:

One thing we can do is to look at our results under UV light and compare to the old Cremonese. I pulled out a few pics of my own work to show what I do. My personal theory yet to be fully put into practice is that the Old Cremonese sealed the instruments in the white with a quite oil rich clear varnish only in the wood and then applied a chemical oxidizer facilitated by heat to obtain a gold color.  This would explain why there is no end grain darkening because the wood is already sealed before the stain comes in. 

Beautiful work and varnish!  I’m very curious about the heat activated oxidizer you’re using.  Is that something you’d be willing to discuss?  

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11 hours ago, Advocatus Diaboli said:

Beautiful work!  

Beautiful work and varnish!  I’m very curious about the heat activated oxidizer you’re using.  Is that something you’d be willing to discuss?  

Your work is very inspiring to see..For my own comment and your question...Well that's something I tried 20 years ago and I'd not want to go in to too many details. These days I have a few different methods after 40 years of trying and could probably get a decent result with all kind of numerous ingredients after more years of trials and testing. I have methods that I know work for me and then ideas to move forward from what I know and have seen on great old violins. I think it is important to not be constrained by the discourse and to be willing to break rules and fixed ideas. My thoughts for future experiments are as follow. I think the Old Cremonese pre treated their wood by boiling it and this explains the open maple pores and the use of very new wood. I think this already colours the wood. I think they sealed it before staining it and I think from evidence I have seen the stain was chemical aggressive and volatile. This would concur a bit with Brandmairs finding of some kind of stain but I am not a huge fan of that work...I'd like to leave a conclusive thought but I am always looking to try a new idea

 

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3 hours ago, J.DiLisio said:

How do you get so much contrast?  Are the flames burned in at all?

It's there in the wood, you just need to use stuff that lets it present, rather than obscuring it. Wetting is an important part of this, opening the fiber structure is another. Closing it works at cross purposes to the aim. Wood selection is important too - not all pieces present high contrast.

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