Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Varnish Making 2022


Recommended Posts

33 minutes ago, charliemaine said:

Reading through older threads and found there are a few well known makers here who are not using rosin in their varnish making. A quick search will reveal who they are and their reasons. It would be helpful to know what resins they are using without disclosing their proprietary recipes.

One of them posted this...

"The "problem" is whether you want to try to accurately replicate the old varnishes with all their defects, or if you want to try to improve them in their protective properties by increasing their durability.

There are other resins better than rosin to be used with a natural lower acidity, but the high acidity of rosin is what makes it react and is the responsible for color change with cooking, and that is a really nice thing."
 
What are some of these other resins...?

Baltic Amber.  Copal

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 71
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

20 hours ago, joerobson said:

Baltic Amber.  Copal

Wow,...that's great. I like using both of them. In fact that is what I'm experimenting with now.  How much lower in acidity is Baltic Amber and fossil Copal compared to plain and limed rosin? Is the acidity lower because of it's age?

I'm also trying to make the amber and copal prepared varnishes more flexible by blending in a little more oil. Good or bad idea? It seems to be working...my samples are softer, less chippy and more abrasion resistant. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only issue I can see with the fossil resins is that they're closer to bulletproof, which classical Cremona varnish is mostly certainly not. They also polish rather differently. They also tend to be substantially stiffer, and that may or may not have desirable acoustical influence.

But if historicity is not a concern, the fossil varnishes are pretty excellent. Very chemically resistant, polish up like a new Ferrari, and can withstand light chewing on by aggressive youths. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Only issue I can see with the fossil resins is that they're closer to bulletproof, which classical Cremona varnish is mostly certainly not. They also polish rather differently. They also tend to be substantially stiffer, and that may or may not have desirable acoustical influence.

But if historicity is not a concern, the fossil varnishes are pretty excellent. Very chemically resistant, polish up like a new Ferrari, and can withstand light chewing on by aggressive youths. 

I'm not concerned in making a historical Cremonese varnish because I don't antique. I've been saving a beautiful maritime (Pinus pinaster) colophony I purchased from Portugal. I'll try liming some of it and see where that goes. For now I have enough amber and copal varnish, hopefully things will start to dry out here soon. It's been fun reviewing the older threads and there are many more to read. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Regarding DB's question about how to make sure your rosinate or lake are free of soluble waste:

There are a variety of ways to test for chloride (or sulfate) ions, as wells as potassium and sodium. A quick Google tells you everything you need to know.

A quick Google search didn't tell me much at all.

 

17 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Or you can just give it a taste. If it tastes salty, keep rinsing. This is not a recommended method, but it works.

Rosin, and neutralized rosin taste pretty much the same to me. Perhaps I need to attend more wine tasting classes, so I can learn to better discriminate between "tropical" and "island fruity"? :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

A quick Google search didn't tell me much at all.

 

Rosin, and neutralized rosin taste pretty much the same to me. Perhaps I need to attend more wine tasting classes, so I can learn to better discriminate between "tropical" and "island fruity"? :D

David, you taste the water, not the rosinate... You're a very intelligent guy so I'm a little surprised this isn't clicking for you. I want to believe you're not being intentionally obtuse. 

If you Google "test for chloride ions" or similar and don't find anything that explains it to your satisfaction, I don't know what to tell you. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is true that

20 hours ago, charliemaine said:

I want to cook my next batch to match my varnish goals,  I don't want a historical Cremonese varnish. I appreciate all the input so far. It's been fun reviewing the older threads. Many more to read before I start cooking.

I've been saving a beautiful maritime (Pinus pinaster) colophony I purchased from Portugal. Smells heavenly. I'll have to try liming some of it and see where that goes. For now I have enough amber and copal varnish to finish out. I forgot how much fun messing around with varnish was. Hopefully things will start to dry out here soon. 

It is true that the amber and copal varnishes are more durable than classic colophony/pine resin varnishes are.  However the cooking process is more involved.

First make sure of your materials.   There are lots of copals available,  but most are not (or only partially) soluble in oil.

Second.  The cook depends on temperature and duration.   The material must be heated to high temperatures and allowed to cook until solubility is obtained.

The process is called decarboluxatoin.

Cooking in small batches is most often a recipe for failure as these factors are difficult to judge when the small amount comes to temperature.

on we go,

Joe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Joe, I have both amber and copal varnishes at 1:1 oil/resin already made and they are a little too hard. I'd like to fatten up the varnish by adding more heat bodied linseed oil. Is this advisable? I also still have some of your linox.

Another option...would you be willing to make for me a longer amber varnish? 

I could buy some from Alchemist but the last time I talked to Mr. Fels he told me his amber varnish was 3:1 oil/resin. A little too long perhaps, I was thinking more like 1.5-2:1 oil resin. I want durable and flexible. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, joerobson said:

The cook depends on temperature and duration.   The material must be heated to high temperatures and allowed to cook until solubility is obtained.

The process is called decarboluxatoin.

My one attempt to decarboluxate copal was more like carbonization.  It went from rubbery to charred.

I have had much better success with pre-run copal, but WFE doesn't carry it any more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

My one attempt to decarboluxate copal was more like carbonization.  It went from rubbery to charred.

I have had much better success with pre-run copal, but WFE doesn't carry it any more.

What copal were you fusing?  In what quantity?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, charliemaine said:

Joe, I have both amber and copal varnishes at 1:1 oil/resin already made and they are a little too hard. I'd like to fatten up the varnish by adding more heat bodied linseed oil. Is this advisable? I also still have some of your linox.

Another option...would you be willing to make for me a longer amber varnish? 

I could buy some from Alchemist but the last time I talked to Mr. Fels he told me his amber varnish was 3:1 oil/resin. A little too long perhaps, I was thinking more like 1.5-2:1 oil resin. I want durable and flexible. 

Adding linseed oil or Linox to the existing varnish creates a workable mixture but does not alter the oil to resin ratio of the cooked varnish. You could add a longer oil varnish and they will "average" one another.

High oil fossil resin varnishes do not polish as well as 1:1 varnishes do.

on we go,

Joe

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, joerobson said:

Adding linseed oil or Linox to the existing varnish creates a workable mixture but does not alter the oil to resin ratio of the cooked varnish. You could add a longer oil varnish and they will "average" one another.

High oil fossil resin varnishes do not polish as well as 1:1 varnishes do.

on we go,

Joe

 

That answers it, thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, joerobson said:

Adding linseed oil or Linox to the existing varnish creates a workable mixture but does not alter the oil to resin ratio of the cooked varnish.

Added linseed oil will (or should, unless one manages to mess up the process) alter the oil to resin ratio of the cooked varnish, if the temperature is momentarily brought up to 260 C or higher.

However, even if the pre-existing varnish and the oil are mixed together cold, it will still result in a varnish which behaves as if it was softer.

Yet another caveat: While linseed oil can be a good initial plasticizer or softening agent, it will eventually get hard and brittle with enough time, or exposure to UV light.

2 hours ago, joerobson said:

High oil fossil resin varnishes do not polish as well as 1:1 varnishes do.

Another overly-axiomatic statement, which is not necessarily true. Perhaps it's true for you, at your experience level.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Added linseed oil will (or should, unless one manages to mess up the process) alter the oil to resin ratio of the cooked varnish, if the temperature is momentarily brought up to 160 C or higher.

However, even if the pre-existing varnish and the oil are mixed together cold, it will still result in a varnish which behaves as if it was softer.

Yet another caveat: While linseed oil can be a good initial plasticizer or softening agent, it will eventually get hard and brittle with enough time, or exposure to UV light.

Another overly-axiomatic statement, which is not necessarily true. Perhaps it's true for you, at your experience level.

Oh boy,  two different opinions from two respected members...well,... I forgot that I made a pint of 1:1  amber varnish last summer so I'll try reheating it and add more oil to it and see what happens.  I have also sent an email to Mr. Fels asking if he is still using a 3:1 oil/resin ratio. If so I'll buy some and mix that with a 1:1 varnish as Joe suggests. Then do some more testing.  I forgot how expensive all this experimenting and testing can be. 

I've also found no problem polishing a longer oil varnish to a satin or gloss finish. It may take longer for the long varnish to cure enough to polish than a leaner varnish. At least that's my experience. Using the right product definitely helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To clarify.  Brushing vs. Rubbing varnishes.  The higher the oil content in relation to the resin the more likely the varnish will have its best appearance off the brush rather than as a result of being rubbed out.  So we have a range of possible options.   Varnish makers manuals, developed over more than a couple centuries,  concur that rubbing varnishes have ratios of between 8 and 12 gallons per hundred pounds of resin. Linseed oil weights about 7.75 to 8 pounds per gallon.  So a 1:1 ratio is at the upper end of those standards. 

The actual behavior of the varnish will vary somewhat given the type and processing of the oil and resin.

The finish achieved is a combination of materials and the expertise of the varnisher.

on we go,

Joe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, charliemaine said:

I forgot that I made a pint of 1:1  amber varnish last summer so I'll try reheating it and add more oil to it and see what happens.  I have also sent an email to Mr. Fels asking if he is still using a 3:1 oil/resin ratio. If so I'll buy some and mix that with a 1:1 varnish as Joe suggests. 

I received confirmation from Alchemist Varnish that Mr. Fels' dark amber varnish still uses a 3:1 resin/oil ratio.

In case others are interested in this varnish, they suggest using the dark amber on instruments.

 
"We always suggest to use the dark amber varnish for the musical instruments that is still the ratio 3:1 
The clear is used by painters, please let me know if you want me to change it in to the dark amber varnish."
 
"I looked up your old order and you bought the dark amber varnish, so you know."
 
Kind regards
Elisabeth
Alchemist Mediums

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, charliemaine said:

I received confirmation from Alchemist Varnish that Mr. Fels' dark amber varnish still uses a 3:1 resin/oil ratio.

In case others are interested in this varnish, they suggest using the dark amber on instruments.

 
"We always suggest to use the dark amber varnish for the musical instruments that is still the ratio 3:1 
The clear is used by painters, please let me know if you want me to change it in to the dark amber varnish."
 
"I looked up your old order and you bought the dark amber varnish, so you know."
 
Kind regards
Elisabeth
Alchemist Mediums

 

Very interesting.   I have not tried their products for years.  I'm looking forward to your experiment.   Pictures please.

on we go,

Joe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

57 minutes ago, joerobson said:

Very interesting.   I have not tried their products for years.  I'm looking forward to your experiment.   Pictures please.

on we go,

Joe

It's been some time since I last used Alchemist amber varnish. Before that I was using Koen's amber and sandarac varnishes. And before that I was using your amber and PRSM varnishes. What I liked about Koen's varnish was the long open time. Plenty of time to mull pigments/lakes into the varnish or make a mineral ground slurry. I also like that his varnish was solvent free. So after he died I looked around and found Alchemist amber varnish. And after trying I found it very similar to Magister varnish. It was solvent free and had a long open time. 

The last time I spoke directly with Mr. Fels and I had mentioned I was using Magister varnish but could no longer buy it. He told me he knew Koen and that he met with him and showed him how he cooked his amber varnish. So I think Alchemist and Magister amber varnishes share lot in common although I don't know what oil/resin ratio Koen used.

I'll try what you said and mix the 3:1 Alchemist amber with a 1:1 amber and see how that goes. I have some amber and copal varnish from Nunzio that I'm still testing. If you have some freshly made amber varnish I would like to buy some. I do remember your amber varnish being very good. Your varnishes were the first ones I ever used.

Someone asked what is the deal with this discussion. The point of this thread for me is to become familiar again with varnish making and find or make a suitable varnish that I can use to varnish a few more instruments. Having never used rosinate varnishes before it's also a new experimentation into these. By summer's end I want to have enough varnish stored so that I can focus just on the woodworking. Thanks Joe.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...