Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I applied the first coat of varnish to a 'white' violin this morning. The varnish is some that we made last month, and when I say "we made" I mainly mean that I sat around and watched while Ruston did all the work. But it is pretty cool stuff and I hope it works out. This is much different than other varnish I've worked with -- the rest of that being commercial violin and spar varnish. This is like a thick syrup. I put it on with my fingers, patted it around, leaving fingerprints and such, but after several minutes, all that flowed out. It dries to the touch within a few hours when exposed to sunlight, though will stay tacky for a couple days if left inside. I've done experiments with sample strips of wood.
This is the first violin I've varnished with it, but it is not a violin I built. It is an inexpensive 'white' violin, meaning it was built but not finished. I had wanted a second-level instrument, but Howard Core was out of those, so we substituted for a bottom-tier instrument. I asked for something with interesting figure on the back, and I think they did a good job picking one out for me.
This has my usual tea stain followed by watered-down amber shellac for the ground. Trying to be like the old-time Cremonese, I hung this outside shortly after varnishing. It promptly attracted a floating dandelion seed, but that will come out easy enough when I buff it down later. And there will be a couple more coats of varnish to go, so more chance for floating debris. It's all organic!