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Do you use pumice powder...

 
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Nick Walker
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Joined: 17 Sep 2014
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:23 pm    Post subject: Do you use pumice powder... Reply with quote

... As part of your French polish process?

I've been reading on various posh methods and as of yet have not used like to fill pores in the wood.

Looking at an unfinished stick by a well-known, modern maker has made me reconsider. This maker's unfinished stick has beautiful, long grain, but there are voids that would need to be filled in for a glassy finish, as I have seen on some of his sticks.

One other indicator was Francois Xavier Tourte's Wiki page. Not the definitive source for bow making, I know, but I'm not going to discredit one's knowledge when I have so little myself. The page states Tourte only used pumice and oil for finishing. ???

Previously, I thought just building up many layers of shellac would do the trick. After finishing a few sticks I think I may need to use pumice to fill voids.

I'm going to give it a go, but I'd like to hear from all of you.
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wm_crash
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Joined: 24 Feb 2013
Posts: 140
Location: Wilmington, DE - USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never heard of pumice used to fill voids. In furniture making, pumice is used as a fine polishing compound after you have built up a hefty enough finish film on the wood.

cheers,
Cosmin
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Nick Walker
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of the information I was researching comes from guitar makers. The theory is that the pumice creates a slurry of the shellac and fine wood particles through microabrasion. This slurry ends up in the small pores, hardening and creating a glossy finish.
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whatwasithinking
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Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 208
Location: Washington State

PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nick,

The phrase that comes to mind starts with something like, "Better to remain silent and be thought a ..."
But I'll throw in my $0.02 anyway.

I've tried this to fill a void on a severely damaged cello bow, where there was nothing left to lose. I guess maybe it works, but I'm sure the result depends greatly on the method and the skill of the user. Pumice is extremely abrasive, and I wonder if the risk of excessively abrading the wood outweighs the potential value. Somewhere I read of a maker who regularly cleaned bows using pumice, Eventually, an octagonal stick became a round one. Someone also speculated that Stradivari used pumice from Mt. Vesuvius in his varnish to stiffen it. That could certainly be a myth.

When filling voids in composites (fiberglass/epoxy/foam core), I've used microspheres, which are tiny glass balls, that weigh almost nothing. I haven't tried using these on bows, but might try it sometime. I'm not sure the fill would end up being invisible in this application.

After the experiment with pumice, I went back to using pernambuco dust, and I think that's the more traditional method. I'd be interested in any success stories with pumice, though.

Bob
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Nick Walker
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Joined: 17 Sep 2014
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not looking to fill large voids, but wood that is porous. I certainly would not use for regular cleaning, only the first finishing and only with extremely fine grades of pumice powder. If it is a bad idea I'll avoid, but there must be some value in the method. I will most likely plane a small piece of p and try the process there and not the cello bow I am working on. I'll report my results when I'm done.
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