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I've been tinkering a bit with assorted colours of finish, trying to find something that I like well enough for possible use on my "in the white" violin project.
On the off chance that someone else may get some useful ideas, or have some experiments of their own to show, I figured I might take pics of some of the assorted test projects along the way and post them.
Usually I just end up giving the tests way to family and friends, or using them for boxes to contain small gifts. I usually do early tests on those really cheap little craft store unfinished wood boxes. It is an inexpensive way to see what colours some materials one sees mentioned in books actually have, and how they may look in some combinations.
It isn't an entirely new activity for me, but mostly the little things I make are small wooden toys. Toys have to use only "food safe" materials, and that is a bit restrictive when it comes to some ingredients that might be used in finishing a violin (where, hopefully, nobody will put it in their mouth). So cheap little wood boxes are handy for little test projects. The wood is usually not really nice wood, and the workmanship is often pretty crappy, so I feel that they give a good idea of "worst case scenario" for finish materials that might actually look a good bit nicer on better wood.
This one may be of some mild interest to folks building or refinishing a violin, since it uses a couple of the colouring agents mentioned in some books as being used sometimes on violins. Saffron and dragonsblood..
The box was dyed with a "tea" made from saffron, and then given one coat of home-made dragonsblood "varnish".
This one is where I tried to replicate the effect of a 15 yr old finish I did on a box. The 15 yr old one is the one that looks more beat up and dirty because.. well, it *is* rather beat up and dirty. It has kicked around the house and kitchen for 15 yrs with no special care taken of of it.
It was finished with just some old hard beeswax, by warming the wood before applying melted beeswax, so it would penetrate a bit. After a few weeks and being buffed, it was not sticky and it has proved surprisingly durable. Over the first couple years it darkened as the wood aged. I don't have "before" pics, but originally these boxes were the same rather plain light colour as the one unfinished box in the previous example.
I wanted to try and imitate the look of the aged beeswax finish. So I tried carmelizing some honey and using it to stain/dye the wood. Not exactly the same, but somewhat similar in appearance, and not entirely unattractive.
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