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shellac sanding sealer and spirit varnish


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#1 sinebar1

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:23 AM

My book "The Art of Violin Making" says that comercialy available sanding sealers containing shellac can be used as a ground. Can I apply spirit varnish over this type of sanding sealer? I can get the sanding sealer from Lowes.

#2 jezzupe

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 09:29 AM

shellac is spirit varnish...

in my opinion there is an excellent store bought product that is a very good "base" for making

violin varnish

it is called

"seal coat"

it is made by zinnser

it is a 2 lb cut of dewaxed shellac...

i along with jack bostwick and bill price helped to develop this product for use in the flooring industry

shellac is a by product of the lac beetle

it is natural, and the bugs have a natural wax within their secretions, similar to termites and bee's

shellac will adhere to anything, and anything will adhere to it, AS LONG AS the wax has been removed

shellac with wax can be used on top of other finishes, but should not be coated with other dissimilar product's

finish adhesion will be compromised

you can make custom finish with seal coat as the base

various resins can be added, as well as being easily thinned with denatured alcohol

many are under the assumption that only "pure" grain alcohol should be used to thin shellac

this is a falsehood, the type of alcohol available at paint stores is fine for use

the "contaminant" added to this product is "methanol" ie. wood alcohol...

it makes it poisonous to drink, yet is a natural wood by product, it does not effect the quality of the final product at all, "ever-clear" is a myth

"they" do not want to poison the alcohol so people won't drink it as much as manufacturer's NEED to put it the alcohol because if they did not it would be subject to taxation as a alcoholic beverage


zinnser makes many products with shellac in it, when you go to purchase, make sure you ask for it by name, and say "the dewaxed shellac"....

the exact same product is availible under the label "parks universal sealer" it is availible in gallons at the home depot and such...

this is a very economical way to make your own finsh

#3 fiddlecollector

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 01:52 PM

shellac is spirit varnish...

in my opinion there is an excellent store bought product that is a very good "base" for making

violin varnish

it is called

"seal coat"

it is made by zinnser

it is a 2 lb cut of dewaxed shellac...

i along with jack bostwick and bill price helped to develop this product for use in the flooring industry

shellac is a by product of the lac beetle

it is natural, and the bugs have a natural wax within their secretions, similar to termites and bee's

shellac will adhere to anything, and anything will adhere to it, AS LONG AS the wax has been removed

shellac with wax can be used on top of other finishes, but should not be coated with other dissimilar product's

finish adhesion will be compromised

you can make custom finish with seal coat as the base

various resins can be added, as well as being easily thinned with denatured alcohol

many are under the assumption that only "pure" grain alcohol should be used to thin shellac

this is a falsehood, the type of alcohol available at paint stores is fine for use

the "contaminant" added to this product is "methanol" ie. wood alcohol...

it makes it poisonous to drink, yet is a natural wood by product, it does not effect the quality of the final product at all, "ever-clear" is a myth

"they" do not want to poison the alcohol so people won't drink it as much as manufacturer's NEED to put it the alcohol because if they did not it would be subject to taxation as a alcoholic beverage


zinnser makes many products with shellac in it, when you go to purchase, make sure you ask for it by name, and say "the dewaxed shellac"....

the exact same product is availible under the label "parks universal sealer" it is availible in gallons at the home depot and such...

this is a very economical way to make your own finsh

Jezzupe ,i agree makers are forced to put methanol in their polishes ,etc,, but i would advise to try to avoid methanol .Its well known for its effects of destroying the optic nerve ,it doesnt have to be drunk,its absorbed through the skin and inhaled .Ive heard of French polishers losing their sight.I would try to get IMS (industrial methylated spirits) if at all possible when making spirit varnishes.Effects may be slow to show but is the risk of losing your sight worth it.My father has glaucoma, and its made his life hell and methanol does similar damage .
Industrial meths often has a small percentage of methanol(maybe 0.5%) but some types of standard denatured alcohol can have as much as 10%.
Usually the reason why methanol is allowed in denatured alcohol is because ethanol is supposed to interfere with methanol absorbtion in the body,and is so seen as a negligable risk but i dont neccessary agree with that.

#4 iburkard

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 02:49 PM

As stated shellac is spirit varnish, but I suppose there could be many things added to it.

As far as sanding sealer goes, isn't that a pore filler for carpentry, or something that penetrates the wood fibers to harden the surface?

I like shellac because it is a good base coat, a good source of color, a good clear coat, and they all meld when applied.

#5 Johnmasters

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 03:26 PM

As stated shellac is spirit varnish, but I suppose there could be many things added to it.

As far as sanding sealer goes, isn't that a pore filler for carpentry, or something that penetrates the wood fibers to harden the surface?

I like shellac because it is a good base coat, a good source of color, a good clear coat, and they all meld when applied.

Would somebody please address a point ? I used to hear that the French school (Gand, Viullaume etc) had strident tone because of shellac or spirit varnish sealers. Or is it just that when I read this (50 years ago) the market could not sell French violins so well as today?

#6 sinebar1

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 03:44 PM

As stated shellac is spirit varnish, but I suppose there could be many things added to it.

As far as sanding sealer goes, isn't that a pore filler for carpentry, or something that penetrates the wood fibers to harden the surface?

I like shellac because it is a good base coat, a good source of color, a good clear coat, and they all meld when applied.


I don't know. I'm a bit confused about varnish and sealer and grounds. I just want to add some color to my spirit varnish that got from Stew Mc and apply it to my fiddle and not have to worry about blotching.

#7 Darren Molnar

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 03:57 PM

Would somebody please address a point ? I used to hear that the French school (Gand, Viullaume etc) had strident tone because of shellac or spirit varnish sealers. Or is it just that when I read this (50 years ago) the market could not sell French violins so well as today?


I'm far from an authority but I think it goes,

french violins are strident
french violins have spirit varnishes
therefore spirit varnishes are strident
====================================

" please to forgive delivery of violin, reason for the strong heat of the sun, to put cracks in my logic. "




#8 Johnmasters

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 04:09 PM

I'm far from an authority but I think it goes,

french violins are strident
french violins have spirit varnishes
therefore spirit varnishes are strident

That may have been the reasoning, it was not mine, but that of "experts".

#9 Craig Tucker

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 04:30 PM

I don't know. I'm a bit confused about varnish and sealer and grounds. I just want to add some color to my spirit varnish that got from Stew Mc and apply it to my fiddle and not have to worry about blotching.



Leif Luscomb sells many appropriate (I like the botanicals) colorants for spirit varnish on his website.

Also, his 1704 spirit varnish is a good spirit varnish, if you like making your own.

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#10 Craig Tucker

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 04:33 PM

http://www.violins.c...esins_dyes.html

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#11 Darren Molnar

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 05:45 PM

That may have been the reasoning, it was not mine, but that of "experts".


It's not my reasoning, either. It seems too simple, and ignores the much more likely possibility that construction differences account for tone differences.
====================================

" please to forgive delivery of violin, reason for the strong heat of the sun, to put cracks in my logic. "




#12 iburkard

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 07:03 PM

Spirit varnish is very temperamental, and your results will vary radically depending on the cut. If the cut is too thin, coats will dry too quickly and vigorously dissolve previous layers resulting in streaking or rippling of the finish. If the cut is too thick, or if you try to apply a second coat too early, the varnish will leave dark lines of color or the brush will skip over the surface causing the varnish to “gum” up and unevenly shift the pigment around unevenly. If the cut is just right, it will apply fairly easily with only a few coats (if a ground is already established) and meld with previous coats. Many people talk of doing many coats (about 10) in one day, but I’ve never needed to go beyond just a few coats (I brush, not spray).

You should be able to add many kinds of colorants to shellac without issue. Most things that work for oil will work for you.

If you don’t want blotching, take your time. Work quickly when applying the coats, but take your time between coats. If this is your first time, expect to screw up, and come to terms with cleaning up the varnish, and trying again.

#13 Tommy

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 07:43 PM

Pardon the dumb question....is strident a good thing for a violin?

#14 iburkard

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:06 PM

as per the dictionary...
making or having a harsh sound; grating; creaking: strident insects; strident hinges
you decide :)

Equating type of varnish with sound is silly... amount applied is the bigger factor, along with a host of other more pressing issues. Factory violins often have quickie varnish jobs, a few coat of over thinned shellac, which might result in this "strident" sound.

#15 stradofear

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:42 PM

Would somebody please address a point ? I used to hear that the French school (Gand, Viullaume etc) had strident tone because of shellac or spirit varnish sealers. Or is it just that when I read this (50 years ago) the market could not sell French violins so well as today?


John,
Lots of violin lore like this comes from one person saying the wrong thing over and over, based on some superficial observation. In my experience the strident sound results from a couple of other things that are straightforward to fix, and consistently reliable (and don't involve stripping the varnish). Then those "strident" French violins can be exceptionally nice. For instance, based on the number of them I see with really bad necksets, 50 years ago ripping out one of their necks and setting it right was probably financially equal to me ripping the necks out of Chinese violins to make them sound, and so it didn't get done, and the varnish got blamed.

#16 stradofear

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:47 PM

Spirit varnish is very temperamental, and your results will vary radically depending on the cut. If the cut is too thin, coats will dry too quickly and vigorously dissolve previous layers resulting in streaking or rippling of the finish.


FWIW, doing a varnish job with shellac alone is very different from using a normal spirit varnish, and the usual rules don't apply--you can get away with a lot more, because dried pure shellac doesn't really redissolve easily. A few months ago I shellacked a quick replacement top for one of my baby violins in about two hours, total, start to finish, with a brush. You'd never be able to get away with that with a normal spirit violin varnish.

The resulting violin was not strident, by the way. :-)

#17 DonLeister

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 09:51 PM

Jezzupe,.

I've seen the 'seal coat' before but never used it, can you say how it is different from Zinser's regular shellac?
I thought their regular shellac was supposed to be a good sealer.

Thanks,
don
I think the violin I'm working on now is going to be the best yet!

#18 jezzupe

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 12:22 AM

don, the seal coat is 99.9% wax free, and is a 2 lb cut....the "regular" stuff is a 3 lb cut and has wax naturally in it....

waxed shellac should not be used as base coats...the succeeding coat{unless shellac} will have an adhesion failure

there are some exceptions whereas 2 part isocyanate , polyfunctional azridine, and carbodimide waterbase finishes will adhere based on some "deep" macro molecular chemistry, but in general its not a good idea....

related to "spirit" varnish...as mich....er' i mean strado stated....it would be better to term it that "alcohol based shellac is the main body of spirit varnish....

MANY things can be added, sandarac, copal, saps, sugar, drano etc, etc...

related to colorant....

shellac is very easy to color naturally...

virtually anything natural with color can be extracted into alcohol....some example's are

coffee, tea, plum leaves, flowers, bark,sawdust, dry grasses, tar, hemp resin, tobacco resin, tobacco, etc...

just soak whatever in the alcohol for a day, and then strain it to clean it and then mix it with the shellac...

if you want quick standard colors,universal colorants{available at art stores} will mix well in alcohol based

spike lavender oil will give some more open time...i use tea tree oil with good results....its cheap and easy to find

related to safety....

wood alcohol poisoning can be had from inhalation, the cure is to drink regular alcohol....however that being said

anytime you are doing work that is considered dangerous, you should be taking precautions

safety is #1!

eye protection, ear protection, hand protection, dust protection, vapor protection....AO chemical respirators will eliminate virtually all concerns with fumes

be professional, use saftey gear

anytime you use flammable liquids, shellac has a 20 degree flash point, have fire extinguishers available and extinguish all sources of open flame...

#19 sinebar1

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 07:17 AM

don, the seal coat is 99.9% wax free, and is a 2 lb cut....the "regular" stuff is a 3 lb cut and has wax naturally in it....

waxed shellac should not be used as base coats...the succeeding coat{unless shellac} will have an adhesion failure

there are some exceptions whereas 2 part isocyanate , polyfunctional azridine, and carbodimide waterbase finishes will adhere based on some "deep" macro molecular chemistry, but in general its not a good idea....

related to "spirit" varnish...as mich....er' i mean strado stated....it would be better to term it that "alcohol based shellac is the main body of spirit varnish....

MANY things can be added, sandarac, copal, saps, sugar, drano etc, etc...

related to colorant....

shellac is very easy to color naturally...

virtually anything natural with color can be extracted into alcohol....some example's are

coffee, tea, plum leaves, flowers, bark,sawdust, dry grasses, tar, hemp resin, tobacco resin, tobacco, etc...

just soak whatever in the alcohol for a day, and then strain it to clean it and then mix it with the shellac...

if you want quick standard colors,universal colorants{available at art stores} will mix well in alcohol based

spike lavender oil will give some more open time...i use tea tree oil with good results....its cheap and easy to find

related to safety....

wood alcohol poisoning can be had from inhalation, the cure is to drink regular alcohol....however that being said

anytime you are doing work that is considered dangerous, you should be taking precautions

safety is #1!

eye protection, ear protection, hand protection, dust protection, vapor protection....AO chemical respirators will eliminate virtually all concerns with fumes

be professional, use saftey gear

anytime you use flammable liquids, shellac has a 20 degree flash point, have fire extinguishers available and extinguish all sources of open flame...


Is this what you are refering to? http://www.zinsser.c...sp?ProductId=72. Do they sell this stuff at Lowes?

#20 Craig Tucker

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 07:23 AM

A few months ago I shellacked a quick replacement top for one of my baby violins in about two hours, total, start to finish, with a brush. You'd never be able to get away with that with a normal spirit violin varnish.


What are you using for color?

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