Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Repository or bank of knowledge about varnishes.


Mauricio Sartori

Recommended Posts

I was thinking here how complex the universe of varnishes for musical instruments is - especially the classic ones. Following here on the forum, even without understanding enough, I see how "organic" a topic on this topic can be.

Those who understand the English language are in privileged terrain for the most diverse areas of knowledge. It is no different with varnishes. For other speakers, terms can get even more ambiguous.

Another thing I find difficult to deal with is the fragmentation of knowledge. How often is information lost or incomplete, like a broken link or photo, on forums! There is also a lot of noise in the discussions. Books should be a good source, or perhaps the best, for those with the access and budget, I think.

In that sense, I'm led to believe that a repository of information on varnishes would be wonderful. Just like free software developers have, for example. On which, the most experienced and competent act as the main moderators in a mutual help group.

Of course I say this from my point of view and limited context that may be irrelevant to most of this forum. Anyone interested in elaborating and expanding this idea?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 100
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I'm interested--I think it's a great idea. Perhaps, if the MN moderators would agree, there could be a pinned thread called "Varnish Recipes" to which anyone could contribute. Recipes could be both historic recipes, and things people have cooked up in their shops. I would be happy to contribute.

It could also be done outside MN, but that would take more time, and probably money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Mauricio Sartori said:

In that sense, I'm led to believe that a repository of information on varnishes would be wonderful.

Are you sure you want to do this, a listing of everyone and their brother's recipe for voodoo varnish specially selected for public consumption?  Or you want, perhaps, to propose some conditions?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

https://vernix.philharmoniedeparis.fr/vernix/infodoc/page-daccueil-infodoc.aspx

The above contain 100s of varnish recipes--this should get you started.  I assume you are wanting us to do your homework for you.  

I can take you to the endgame--after years of study, you will not get a clear answer to what the masters used, but it will be an oil varnish made of a rosin and a drying oil that is cooked.  There, I compressed years of work into one sentence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's what I just got from artificial intelligence, Chat GPT, using the question, "What is the formula for a good violin varnish?" Not a bad response, below:

"The formula for a good violin varnish can vary depending on the desired characteristics and the preferences of the violin maker. Traditional varnishes for violins typically consist of natural ingredients such as resins, oils, and pigments. While I can't provide an exact formula, I can give you an overview of the typical components found in a traditional varnish.

  1. Resins: Resins are a crucial component of violin varnish, providing hardness, durability, and gloss. Commonly used resins include gum arabic, shellac, dammar, and copal. These resins are often dissolved in a solvent to create a varnish base.

  2. Oils: Various oils can be added to the varnish to enhance its properties. Common oils used in violin varnishes include linseed oil, walnut oil, and poppyseed oil. These oils provide flexibility, transparency, and depth to the varnish.

  3. Pigments: Pigments are optional and are used to add color to the varnish. Traditionally, natural pigments such as ground minerals or organic materials like earth pigments, iron oxide, or cochineal were used. These pigments are typically mixed with the varnish base in desired proportions to achieve the desired color.

  4. Solvents: Solvents are used to dissolve the resins and oils, allowing them to be mixed into a homogeneous varnish. Common solvents used in violin varnish include alcohol, turpentine, and mineral spirits.

  5. Additives: Additional ingredients can be added to modify the characteristics of the varnish. These may include drying agents, such as metal salts, to accelerate the drying process, or other additives to improve adhesion or prevent cracking.

It's important to note that creating a high-quality varnish requires expertise and experimentation, as the specific proportions and techniques used can greatly affect the final result. Violin makers often develop their unique varnish recipes based on years of experience and knowledge of the desired outcomes."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Here's what I just got from artificial intelligence, Chat GPT, using the question, "What is the formula for a good violin varnish?"

">make up the best formula you can for stradivari's varnish

Hypothetical Formula for Stradivari's Varnish:

Ingredients:

Amber resin: 30%
Spruce resin: 20%
Mastic resin: 15%
Linseed oil: 20%
Walnut oil: 10%
Gum arabic: 3%
Egg white: 2%
Additives:

Iron oxide pigment: trace amount for color
Borax: trace amount for texture

Again, I must emphasize that this formula is a conjecture and not based on any confirmed information. It's worth noting that even if such a formula were accurate, the exact proportions and preparation methods would still be crucial for achieving the desired results."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

">make up the best formula you can for stradivari's varnish

Hypothetical Formula for Stradivari's Varnish:

Ingredients:

Amber resin: 30%
Spruce resin: 20%
Mastic resin: 15%
Linseed oil: 20%
Walnut oil: 10%
Gum arabic: 3%
Egg white: 2%
Additives:

Iron oxide pigment: trace amount for color
Borax: trace amount for texture

Again, I must emphasize that this formula is a conjecture and not based on any confirmed information. It's worth noting that even if such a formula were accurate, the exact proportions and preparation methods would still be crucial for achieving the desired results."

The egg white in the varnish came probably from Strad making scrambled eggs in his varnish pot. Simultaneous work can be quite efficient.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Steve Voigt said:

I'm interested--I think it's a great idea. Perhaps, if the MN moderators would agree, there could be a pinned thread called "Varnish Recipes" to which anyone could contribute. 

Thanks for your reply, Steve. The ideal would be something broader and more structured. Even a cooking recipe with a list of ingredients and a good step by step can turn into a disaster in unprepared hands. Let alone a varnish recipe. Definitely the recipe itself is the least of the problems.

The idea of using MN would be interesting, but not ideal. Something well structured requires document and text versioning. This would keep track of corrections and updates.

I wonder if there isn't such a thing as GitHub, but with general purposes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Mike_Danielson said:

 

https://vernix.philharmoniedeparis.fr/vernix/infodoc/page-daccueil-infodoc.aspx

The above contain 100s of varnish recipes--this should get you started.  I assume you are wanting us to do your homework for you.

 

 

Hi Mike. Thanks for sharing the link.

You assumed wrongly. Amazing how quickly people assume things on the Internet.

In the title I already proposed a bank of knowledge. I am simply not interested in recipes, because my access to ingredients is very limited. I go beyond. The only book I have is Vernici in liuteria by Gabriele Carletti, which I have already translated into Portuguese.

I don't want anyone to do my homework for me.

All the best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

It's worth noting that even if such a formula were accurate, the exact proportions and preparation methods would still be crucial for achieving the desired results."

That is the point: knowledge, method and practice. My practical field is limited. My best access is shellac and alcohol. If I build a violin a year, that's a lot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Mauricio Sartori said:

I was thinking here how complex the universe of varnishes for musical instruments is - especially the classic ones. Following here on the forum, even without understanding enough, I see how "organic" a topic on this topic can be.

Those who understand the English language are in privileged terrain for the most diverse areas of knowledge. It is no different with varnishes. For other speakers, terms can get even more ambiguous.

Another thing I find difficult to deal with is the fragmentation of knowledge. How often is information lost or incomplete, like a broken link or photo, on forums! There is also a lot of noise in the discussions. Books should be a good source, or perhaps the best, for those with the access and budget, I think.

In that sense, I'm led to believe that a repository of information on varnishes would be wonderful. Just like free software developers have, for example. On which, the most experienced and competent act as the main moderators in a mutual help group.

Of course I say this from my point of view and limited context that may be irrelevant to most of this forum. Anyone interested in elaborating and expanding this idea?

This idea can be interesting if recipes are properly sorted into groups of similar recipes. However no matter how good the recipe is, the technique of application leaves everything open how good the varnish looks like. 
 

And don’t expect anybody to reveal smaller or bigger ‘secrets’. ^_^

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

This idea can be interesting if recipes are properly sorted into groups of similar recipes. However no matter how good the recipe is, the technique of application leaves everything open how good the varnish looks like. 

And don’t expect anybody to reveal smaller or bigger ‘secrets’. ^_^

A big advantage instead of organization, grouping, etc. Quickly a topic in a forum becomes something "noisy".

I have nothing against those who don't want to reveal their secrets. It will probably be quite useful in the afterlife. :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, Mauricio Sartori said:

I have nothing against those who don't want to reveal their secrets. It will probably be quite useful in the afterlife. :rolleyes:

Harps are varnished....
And the wooden handles on pitchforks or devil's tridents usually have some type of protective coating.  ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At one point I attempted to write a summary of general varnish info blended with violin varnish information. It's short but loaded, and appears in one of the GAL red books. I don't happen to have a copy myself, though.

https://www.search.luth.org/violin-varnish/

It outlined what everyone who wants to make varnish needs to know, with a list of all of the common ingredients, what they did, and where they were used. Among a lot of other things. . . 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, Mauricio Sartori said:

I don't mean to sound offensive and I appreciate the jokes, but it's something like this that I refer to as "noises".

Yeah, there is a lot of noise in this thread. I encourage you to pursue your idea and ignore the negativity and useless digressions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, Michael Darnton said:

At one point I attempted to write a summary of general varnish info blended with violin varnish information. It's short but loaded, and appears in one of the GAL red books. I don't happen to have a copy myself, though.

https://www.search.luth.org/violin-varnish/

It outlined what everyone who wants to make varnish needs to know, with a list of all of the common ingredients, what they did, and where they were used. Among a lot of other things. . . 

Hello Michael. Sounds really good. This seems close to what I hypothetically envisioned. Do I need to be a member to access? I only see this on the page: "Violin people think about finishes in a way that guitar makers have difficulty grasping. It is an obsession. Darnton's lengthy article discusses varnish types and components and offers a few recipes. It doesn't seem fair that guitar folks don't get to play with stuff called dragons blood, sandarac, and propolis, to name just a few.Such exotic incantations are bound to improve a finish, don't you think?

This article has been nominated as one of the Guild's best articles published before 2010."

Thanks for your answer.

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...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...