Violin/Cello stain finishing.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Whafrodamus, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    What kind of finish is found on Violins and Cellos such as this


    Just wondeirng. :D
  2. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    Most traditional makers concoct their own formulas, but it's generally some type of alcohol-based varnish with various combinations of resins like pure shellac, sandarac, copal, benzoe etc., and colors such as hibiscus extract or dragon's blood. Generally the white (unfinished) instrument is hung in a sunny window for a few months until the wood gets a nice golden glow, and then the varnish is applied water-thin with a brush, often 50-100 coats, and french-polished. It's a very soft, thin finish, easily damaged.

    Probably most mass-produced student type instruments are sprayed with lacquer or something, but I'm not sure about that.
  3. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Dragon's Blood???! Must be pretty rare!

    Seriously, never heard of that. Is that a natural red pigment of some sort?
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001