"Ancient Alchemical Formula for Varnish"
All of the Violin Varnishes are handmade in small open kettle runs using the finest materials and traditional methods and recipes. They each have their own character but they all are cooked for extreme clarity and stability. Short oil varnish has a ratio of .6 oil to 1 resin. Long oil varnish has a ratio of 1 oil to 1 resin.
Amber Violin Varnish
Made from Baltic Amber, a fossil resin which is the hardest of the natural resins, these varnishes have excellent polishing characteristics. The Pale Amber Varnish is a golden Brown and the Dark Amber is a deep golden Brown with a slight green undertone. Theses varnishes are available in Fat, Long, and Short oil lengths.
Rosin Violin Varnish
Rosin varnishes are the most common violin varnishes. Rosin is derived from the separation of turpentine from raw pine sap. Considered a soft or "recent" resin it has the color and coloring properties which are every important to violin varnishing. Pale Rosin Varnish is made from the palest grade of rosin. Garnet and Dark Rosin are made from a dark garnet colored rosin. Pale Rosin is available as a short oil varnish. Garnet Rosin and Dark Rosin are available as either short or long oil varnish.
Pine Resin, Sandarac, Mastic Violin Varnish
Using the raw resin as it comes directly from the tree preserves all the properties of the resin. The addition of Sandarac and Mastic resins add brilliance and flexibility to the final varnish film. This is the closest to the "old methods" of varnish making that my research has produced. The varnish has excellent polishing and brushing qualities. The color is a rich red brown. This varnish is available in both short and long oil formulations.
Copal Violin Varnish
Copal Violin Varnish is made from a hard, oil soluble copal resin which originates in the islands of the Far East and has been harvested and marketed by the same companies for many generations. This resin provides a pale, wheat straw colored varnish which is midway in hardness between the Amber and Rosin varnishes. Copal Violin Varnish is available in short and long oil formulations.
Alizarin Color Concentrate
The hues of Alizarin, the coloring agent in Madder root, are the traditional range of colors for violin varnish. Alizarin Color Concentrates are made in Alizarin Orange, Alizarin Scarlet and Alizarin Purple. The ancient method of attaching the color directly to the oil produces a varnish which translates a maximum of coloring power to a minimum of varnish film thickness. The clarity, brilliance and lightfast qualities of these concentrates are unsurpassed. The colors are made on a Dark Rosin Varnish base and are available as both medium and long oil varnishes. The colors may be used on their own or mixed, or mixed with other varnishes.
Amber Alizarin Color Varnishes
When the procedure of attaching the alizarin colors to the linseed oil (see Alizarin Color Concentrate) and using the colored linseed oil with Baltic Amber creates a varnish which has a complexity of color and clarity which makes a beautiful primary varnish or a color to be added to or layered on other varnishes. The Amber Varnishes are Gold, Orange, and Brown and they are each available as short oil, long oil or fat varnishes.
Dyed Copal Varnish
The hard Copal used to make Copal Violin Varnish shows a dual solubility for turpentine and alcohol at one point in the cooking process. At this point a metal complex aniline dye is added. These dyes are normally alcohol soluble. They provide stable and deep colors which are light fast. These Varnishes can be used on their own or added to the other varnishes as coloring agents. Dyed Copal Varnishes are all short oil varnishes.
This raw Baltic Amber is selected for the clearest and most pale color. Amber has the gemstone quality of producing excellent reflection and refraction even in the smallest particles. This powder is ground to the pore size of the top wood and will fill the pores without subduing the reflective quality of the wood surface.
Prime oil is a mixture of highly polymerized and purified linseed oil with oil of turpentine. Applied after the coloring process it enhances the depth of reflection of the raw wood.
Alizarin Ground Color
Employing the ancient method of attaching the coloring power of Alizarin (the coloring agent in Madder root) to oil, Alizarin color concentrates are used on bare or filled wood to color the surface and promote a deep color reflection from the wood surface. These are light fast colors. Concentrate can be thinned with common white household ammonia.