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Varnish Cure time...
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Ernie Martel
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Joined: 01 Mar 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:33 pm    Post subject: Varnish Cure time... Reply with quote

How long does it take your varnish to cure before you can put a bridge on? Is there anything to speed up the process or prevent varnish from sticking to bridge feet?..and once the varnish has pulled up and the bridge no longer has even contact with the top, what is the fix?
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ctviolin
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:59 am    Post subject: Re: Varnish Cure time... Reply with quote

Ernie Martel wrote:
How long does it take your varnish to cure before you can put a bridge on? Is there anything to speed up the process or prevent varnish from sticking to bridge feet?..and once the varnish has pulled up and the bridge no longer has even contact with the top, what is the fix?


Hmmm, interesting question.

That's not happened to me, and it doesn't sound like there's an easy fix for something like that.

I'm not really sure that there IS one correct answer for all varnishes. I agree with those posters who say it depends on what specific type of varnish you use.
Of course, some spirit varnish can completely dry out in virtually no time - like overnight.

I put my finished (oil varnish finish) violins out in the new Mexico sun (in a dappled (cooler) area - under an area with part sun - part shade) and let them turn on the breeze & then take them in overnight - or if it gets too hot - or too windy - for about a week, in any case - just to start the drying process off right.

I like the varnish to be really as hard as it will get throughout, before the bridge goes on & etc - there is no rushing this part of the deal.

Very often I'll put my thumb or thumbnail on the varnish, or try to imprint it somehow - like in the chin rest area, just to check and see if it leaves a permanent mark easily .

And very often, I will start working on another violin (or start something else) before I consider the last one is ready for strings... that way I'm usually in no great rush to get the bridge and strings on. It can even sit around inside the shop for another month or so - before I really feel it's done (varnish wise) & ready for a bridge and strings and the final peg hole reaming & peg fitting.
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ctviolin
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:04 am    Post subject: Re: Varnish Cure time... Reply with quote

ctviolin wrote:


I put my finished (oil varnish finish) violins out in the new Mexico sun (in a dappled (cooler) area - under an area with part sun - part shade) and let them turn on the breeze & then take them in overnight - or if it gets too hot - or too windy - for about a week, in any case - just to start the drying process off right.




Perhaps the UV is necessary for oil varnish to "cure" properly?
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Mikes
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wishi had that south western like CT! I'm currently using some oil varnish from joe Robson it took about 4 days in my light box and then has sat around in the shop for about 3 weeks and I'm doing the final fit up now. Hoping to get it strung up some time this coming week.
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catnip
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:51 am    Post subject: Re: Varnish Cure time... Reply with quote

Ernie Martel wrote:
How long does it take your varnish to cure before you can put a bridge on?


It depends on the type of varnish you use. With the oil varnish I use, I normally let the violin 'rest' for at least 3-4 weeks after it has had its final polish.

I have heard that if you use Volatile Balsam oil varnish it will dry very quickly and give a very hard surface. I have not used it.


Last edited by catnip on Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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Ernie Martel
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all for the info...I'm definitely UV challenged living in northwest WA state. I think it would take around 6-8 weeks before my varnish is cured enough to put the bridge on...or I'm also thinking of waiting until summer and do all my varnishing then.
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Chet Bishop
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or build a UV box, and cut that time down a bunch. Mine cost me less than $50 to build, and it is big enough for a cello, if I choose to use it. Right now I am using spirit varnishes, so I don't especially need the UV.

I think Joe the varnish guy makes his out of a galvanized garbage can, with 24" UV tubes hanging inside, and some sort of thing to hang the fiddle.
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Ernie Martel
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Chet...I built a UV box several years ago.
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kjb
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the uv box didn't work for this application?
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Ernie Martel
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes my UV boxs drys varnish fine and I use four regular blue BL bulbs. But two weeks isn't enough time for my varnish to cure to be able to place a bridge on.
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Dave Chandler
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2015 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Varnish Cure time... Reply with quote

catnip wrote:
I have heard that if you use Volatile Balsam oil varnish it will dry very quickly and give a very hard surface. I have not used it.


I've put several coats of Joe Robson's volatile balsam varnish on a fiddle, and after 2 weeks still holds a finger print for a half hour or so before it disappears, so I'd say its not that fast. I pushed on another fiddle, that got its final coat same time, put on a bridge, and then a bridge lifter to make some adjustments. The bridge lifter took up the varnish underneath, so that has to be revarnished and the start time begins again on letting it set.

An observation - I put these fiddles in the sun, and almost immediately got bubbles coming up through the varnish, so its obvious this type varnish doesn't react to sunshine the way an oil varnish would.

Another observation, I rubbed the varnish with Italian Pumice to cut the gloss, and the next day it was glossy once again. I think its still soft enough it will repair itself yet, just like the thumbprint will eventually disappear.

finally, A QUESTION -- is there a way of speeding up the hardening of this balsam varnish? Yes it acts like a spirit varnish, and you have to put it on real fast, and it does come off with alcohol, or you can thin it with alcohol as well. BUT, it takes a long time to become completely hard.

I think you have to wait till its impossible to put a thumbprint on the surface before you can even rub the finish. I'm thinking 3 weeks or more.
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kjb
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2015 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not sure if this pertains but I will throw it in.
I went to joes class finished one of mine there, and its been two years + , I was just redoing the soundpost , and I noticed that I still can leave a fingerprint , and it goes away in a while its dry and cured but soft . and if I remember correctly joe believes that is the way it was . and that the ground was what was left over when the varnish wore off. I would have to check my notes its been a while.

also I would say it was three months before I felt It was cured enough, ( no lights or sun after it was not tacky. it was soft but not cured, dry to the touch but still too soft to want to do anything else to it.
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Dave Chandler
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, exactly what I was wanting to hear. I don't believe there is any way to speed the cure time, maybe put it in front of a fan for a few weeks?
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Dave in the Blue Ridge
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L P Reedy
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see how a fan would help at all. The only thing that might is UV light, either a light box or sunshine, but it sounds like that varnish is designed to stay about the way it is now.
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Dave Chandler
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried sunshine, got bubbles of gas coming to the surface. In a UV box, samples did not seem to set up/dry any faster than in normal room atmosphere. Maybe sunlight was too bright, only took about 3-5 minutes for me to recognize the mistake -- good thing I didn't hang them out and walk away, would have been a disaster. I'm not sure this varnish doesn't dry by evaporation of thinners and some constituent part of the varnish. Linseed-based oil varnishes respond to UV as a catalyst for a change in the varnishes chemistry (and hardening), but this is different I believe. Note -- I don't really know what goes into this varnish.
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