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Repository or bank of knowledge about varnishes.


Mauricio Sartori

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"Watch, now they're going to discuss/argue over varnish for hours after some guy suggests they make a varnish repository" :lol:

Well this is what I think about "100 year" varnish, I think not all varnish is the same and that some is better than others and that in all that after 100 years some of it's going to be the varnish itself but perhaps at lot more of it would be how it was treated and what it's been subjected to over the course of 100 years.

If Oscar Madison and Felix Unger were given identical violins as children and then lived together until they died 110 years later, statistically who's violin would look better?....assuming Felix didn't make a mistake with harsh cleaning products. :)

Case,cleaned every time after use, kept in optimal temp/humidity, played so carefully, always taken care of.....or

Used as a pizza dish, occasional ashtray, doorstop and many drunken seaside beach adventures

They don't call it the Messiah for nothing, doh, if it is in fact, the Messiah :lol:

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8 hours ago, jezzupe said:

"Watch, now they're going to discuss/argue over varnish for hours after some guy suggests they make a varnish repository" :lol:

Yeah I was on the verge of starting a separate thread, but instead I tried to make an indirect connection to the main topic since I expected only a brief digression.  Idle speculation is almost as much fun, but lacks that...je ne sais quoi.

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The literature on violin varnish is huge.  We really know a lot.

There is a big difference between oil varnishes that are fully cooked and those that are partially cooked (like megilp).  The answer whether this is a good thing is in the literature.

I do not believe in giving easy answers so that people can avoid doing their homework.  

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4 hours ago, Mike_Danielson said:

I do not believe in giving easy answers so that people can avoid doing their homework.  

Mike, a couple months ago, you posted a thread asking for help with washing oil. Several of us pointed you to the source that answered your questions, but you continued to post questions that indicated you hadn't read, or hadn't absorbed, the material.

Still, no one accused you of laziness, or failing to "do your homework." We just answered your questions. So, maybe you could cut a little slack to the people you are accusing? They don't necessarily have malicious intentions.

I still think some kind of a pinned reference thread on varnish would be a good thing. Doesn't have to be a collection of recipes--it could be a collection of sources of varnish information (books, articles, etc). I would be happy to contribute to such a thread.

When I was first starting out with varnish, it took a LONG time to slog through all the info on this site, and begin to piece together a decent bibliography. I see no harm on making it a little easier on newbies. Just my two cents--if no one else is into it, I'll drop it.

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I evidently didn't pose my question clearly, so let me try an example:  Say that a well-trained group carries out a comprehensive analysis of 300 year old varnish from a violin.  Is there a test they can run on the varnish to determine whether it was made from cooked resin and oil - in contrast to some other method resulting in a mixture of oil and resin?  What I mean by 'cooked' is a process similar to what we use today when we discuss cooking an oil varnish - running the resin, boiling the oil, etc.  Are there analytical markers specific to a cooked varnish?  If my question is unclear feel free to ask what I mean...

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13 hours ago, Steve Voigt said:

Mike, a couple months ago, you posted a thread asking for help with washing oil. Several of us pointed you to the source that answered your questions, but you continued to post questions that indicated you hadn't read, or hadn't absorbed, the material.

Still, no one accused you of laziness, or failing to "do your homework." We just answered your questions. So, maybe you could cut a little slack to the people you are accusing? They don't necessarily have malicious intentions.

I still think some kind of a pinned reference thread on varnish would be a good thing. Doesn't have to be a collection of recipes--it could be a collection of sources of varnish information (books, articles, etc). I would be happy to contribute to such a thread.

When I was first starting out with varnish, it took a LONG time to slog through all the info on this site, and begin to piece together a decent bibliography. I see no harm on making it a little easier on newbies. Just my two cents--if no one else is into it, I'll drop it.

You have got the wrong Mike.  

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1 hour ago, Mike_Danielson said:

You have got the wrong Mike.  

You're right, my bad.

I'll stand by the broader point though. What's the value in berating people for "not doing their homework?" You have no evidence that the OP hasn't done research--you just assumed it.

A forum like this one consists of some people asking questions, other people answering them, and the interesting side issues that get discussed. If the only answer is "do your homework," what's the point of a forum? I say this as someone who, as the kids would say, has done a shit ton of homework.

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33 minutes ago, Steve Voigt said:

You're right, my bad.

I'll stand by the broader point though. What's the value in berating people for "not doing their homework?" You have no evidence that the OP hasn't done research--you just assumed it.

A forum like this one consists of some people asking questions, other people answering them, and the interesting side issues that get discussed. If the only answer is "do your homework," what's the point of a forum? I say this as someone who, as the kids would say, has done a shit ton of homework.

Steve, these questions have been asked and answered, repeatedly.  It is all out there for you, but it will be more meaningful if you discover it for yourself.

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22 minutes ago, Mike_Danielson said:

Steve, these questions have been asked and answered, repeatedly.  It is all out there for you, but it will be more meaningful if you discover it for yourself.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

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1 hour ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Wait--you're not really burning your violin and joining a monastery…are you?

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Whelp, now I'm thoroughly depressed.  Some threads just do that...then not finding what I'm looking for in the literature after browsing much of the day, the subscription teasers - I could go broke buying journal articles that turn out to be worthless...I eventually end up reading some material on academic research fraud ... then I come back here and - nah, deleted...I don't go there anymore, ... think I'll meander off for awhile.  Good luck with the repository.

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On 5/23/2023 at 5:11 PM, Christian Pedersen said:

I've found this to be a particularly useful resource. 

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Combine that with both volumes of Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Makers  by Charles L. Eastlake and Charles Locke Eastlake and you've got most of the important historical information. Both are available as Dover reprints, though I don't know if they are still in print.

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Then add the three volumes of John Geddes McIntosh "The Manufacture of Varnishes, &c" to get current as of 1900,  and the five of Joseph Matiello's "Decorative and Protective Coatings" to add another 50 years or so. 

I realize that the state of the art after around 1800 will not be of interest to everyone, but to those for whom it is of interest those books are super. 

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It's not so much about recipes and proportions, but the experience of actually making varnish, that knowledge is not something you can easily convert into a repository. Even videos wouldn't give the right experience.

Learning by doing, even with the same ingredients, takes a very long time.

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Taking it further I would say that learning application of the products is a "journey" in of itself and that there really aren't enough years to get it all figured out and then your rabbit nibbles on a corner and it's like what's the point anyway :lol:

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Just now, jezzupe said:

Taking it further I would say that learning application of the products is a "journey" in of itself and that there really aren't enough years to get it all figured out and then your rabbit nibbles on a corner and it's like what's the point anyway :lol:

Couldn't possibly agree more. Even the best of varnishes will give bad results in the hands of someone who doesn't understand them. Same for wood or anything else I guess

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