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Welcome, Jeff

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Don Higdon, Dec 17, 2001.

  1. It's nice to see that Jeff Bollbach has joined TB. Jeff is a first-rate luthier in NY. Word is getting around, and his client list includes members of the New York Philharmonic.
    Jeff, I bought a bass from Neil Garber that was restored over at Kolstein when you were there. A round-back anonymous Mittenwald type, c. 1900, gamba corners and an orange varnish. Our mutual friend - and my luthier - Arnold Schnitzer always suspected you did the refinishing. You might as well say yes, because it was beautiful work. I was doing an outdoor concert, and I followed Bill Crow on stage. We exchanged pleasantries, and Bill was on his way. He looked back from in front of the stage just as the low sun hit my bass, and he came FLYING back for a closer look. It's killing me to sell it, but I have to.
    Anyway, I'm sure we'll learn alot of good stuff from you.
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Thanks so much Don- you can blow smoke up my *** anyday![Anyone ever wonder where the hell that phrase came from?] TB seems to be the most sensible forum I 've ever visited-there definately is something about bass players. And the sense of humour-its to die for [how come there's no smilie for "spoken with a Yiddish accent"?].
    As far as taking credit for that varnish job-I'm sorry, I can't. Barrie is capable of doing decent varnish work and he carried out most of it. Sometimes what really makes the varnish is the quality of the rubout and french polish. There were a few guys there that excelled at this-one guy was Vladek[can't remember his last-but he's still there] and Mike McGee- Who is now practicing lutherie in Michagan.
    If you liked that varnish I wish I could show you my last bass. The back and ribs are a deep quilt figure [I call it the quicker-picker upper- nod to Bounty]. The varnish is a deep amber-red, it's well, I guess "to die for". lol
  3. Jeff, out of curiosity, when did you leave Barrie and set out on your own?
  4. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    As it says in my ad in I.S.B. "Crazy glue free five years and counting".
  5. Hello Jeff and most welcome !

    Would you care to share some thoughts about :

    """Sometimes what really makes the varnish is the quality of the rubout and french polish""".

    I have polished one bass and the result was
    rather ok for being an amatuer.

    Care to view ? :

    Merry X-mas !
  6. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    I've seen tons of amatuer refinish jobs and plenty of pro ones. I certainly would not use the word "amatuer" to describe your work. The process and materials that you used are not the way I would have done it-but that's not the point. There are many possible ways to accomplish a fine finish. In my opinion the real key is the care you take at each step. This reply may sound a bit nebulous, because often luthiers or artists in general are looking for secrets or facts that will give them an edge. I don't subscribe to that too much. I believe that you just need to pick a method and proceed as a labor of love. I'm certain that your project was just this type of labor .
    Just to try to respond a little more specifically to the quote you asked about-let's assume a wide variety of substances one could use for each layer. What happens inbetween coats is crucial to the quality of the outcome. It's most commonly thought that the sanding or abrading at this point is to allow the next coat to stick. Not exactly. Most varnishs will adhere quite readily without any abrasion. What this step better accomplishes is to control aspects of the previous layer such as concentration of color and levelness. There's a lot of hand and eye skills here that can only be gotten through experience. Mistakes will be made-once I was given the task of rubbing down a bass that had been varinshed the night before and it wasn't ready. I was a beginner so I didn't know that-I was given 320 grit dry paper and told to sand the entire bass. What I didn't know was that little gobs of varnish began to build up on the paper and 320 grit quickly became 50 grit. Boy, did I get yelled at for that!
    I never use dry paper anymore-basically this is my procedure-
    800 wet paper,0000 synthetic wool [if the edge of the paper curls it will leave scratch marks] in between each coat
    After final coat-800 all the way up to rottenstone [don't skip grits!] That's a lot of rubbing.
    Now is the french polish step. I think we have different ideas on what this is. Often it is thought of as simply adding a thin coat by the method of padding. This procedure is not acceptable in the restoration of fine instruments. Adding to an existing varnish is considered taboo because it alters the original. What is proper is the "micro melting" of the surface by chemical and mechanical means which also works quite nicely on new varnish. This is simply alcohol in a pad with a lubricant for spirit varnishes. Oil varnishes are a little more tricky, but I find that a mix of alcohol and turpentine can often have the desired result. Of course, this can be dangerous-too much solvent and you'll be starting with bare wood again!
    C.V.-I'm guessing that you know all this but I hope this has helped somewhat.
  7. Just stopping by with a welcome Jeff.
  8. Hello again Jeff.

    Thank you very much for your informative reply !
    Indeed interesting.

    No, I did not know 1/10 of what you described !
    Except one small detail (maybe important though)
    labor of love :))

    Thanks again and happy hollidays !

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