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Finishing - Varnish - Toning


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Does anyone have any specific recommendations on dye to add to a varnish to simulate the ambering that takes place with age? I have 3 rod projects where it would be extremely beneficial if I didn't have to strip everything and rewrap. If anyone has recommendations on dye or stain that I can add to the varnish it would be appreciated.  (Bill Walters)

    The friendly local paint seller has provided me with little cans of usual wall paint - water based - which I use to tone the Polyurethane varnish I use for my rods. works like a charm.  (Carsten Jorgensen)

    International Violin carries some stuff that will amber your varnish.  It can be purchased for spirit or oil based varnishes. It works well. I have 4 bottles in my shop. Here is the link to their web site.  The item numbers for spirit amber is #1016A and for oil it is #1015A. Hope this helps.   (Randall Gregory)

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Have an old Edwards butt section blank, never used, that I'm making tips for. Tried flaming some cane tonight to match. Got it the same shade but the Edwards cane has a slight reddish cast to it that I don't see from flaming my own cane. I've heard tell that Sam Carlson told somebody that the only heat-treating they did at the Gene Edwards shop was  with a torch to both sides of the cane. What kind of torch would give it this color? Am I going to need to tint the varnish to get the reddish cast instead? Would slight ammonia treating accomplish the same thing (however, if there is any other way I would pursue it first)? Suggestions?  (Bill Walters)

    Some varnishes have a red cast.  (Timothy Troester)

      Right you are, Tim, if you check the on-line vendors that sell finishes for stringed musical instruments,  varnish pigments and pigmented varnishes are available in abundance.  (Jim Utzerath)

    I think Ammonia tinting will get the color where you want it. I have used it in the past with good results. I have also tinted the varnish with good results initially only to watch the tinted varnish darken over several weeks to a point that is to dark to be a match.  (Marty DeSapio)

    Wasn't there something about a year ago on getting that reddish finish using pentane gas to temper the strips?  It might be in the archives.  (Jerry Young)

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