Sebastian: Step 2(A) in the Balsam Ground process. After the instrument is dry to the touch: even though the solution is alcohol, giving the balsam resins time to dry is important. I sent Sebastian out in the sun for a bit and hung him in the shop overnight. The first step is dry brushes the entire instrument first using the “Tail of the Horse” and then a soft long haired brush (A Spanish dry brush I get from Joe Robson). The dry brushing, cleans, smoothes and pushes any surface resins into the pores. The ground is IN the wood, the later varnish is ON the wood. Balsam # 2 preparations. #2 is mixed 1:4 with alcohol. Use the good stuff, Everclear is pure grain alcohol, drinkable. Get the highest proof Everclear you can buy. Hardware store and drug store (isopropyl) alcohol has additives or is wood alcohol. I used to try and volume measure or eyeball the proportions, but after developing a delicious bread baking habit, I’ve found weighing the proportions easier and more accurate. Joe says just eyeball it, get close enough, but with everything “Joe” his eyeball is likely more accurate than my scale.. The balsam ground preparation #1 step added illumination to the wood cells #2’s purpose is to get in and distributed the resins. Balsam ground preparation #2 ground has polar compounds it adds to Mordent so later added colors ( steps 2B, 2C) can bind to the cell walls

Sebastian: Step 2(A) in the Balsam Ground process. After the instrument is dry to the touch: even though the solution is alcohol, giving the balsam resins time to dry is important. I sent Sebastian out in the sun for a bit and hung him in the shop overnight. The first step is dry brushes the entire instrument first using the “Tail of the Horse” and then a soft long haired brush (A Spanish dry brush I get from Joe Robson). The dry brushing, cleans, smoothes and pushes any surface resins into the pores. The ground is IN the wood, the later varnish is ON the wood.

Balsam # 2 preparations. #2 is mixed 1:4 with alcohol. Use the good stuff, Everclear is pure grain alcohol, drinkable. Get the highest proof Everclear you can buy. Hardware store and drug store (isopropyl) alcohol has additives or is wood alcohol. 
I used to try and volume measure or eyeball the proportions, but after developing a delicious bread baking habit, I’ve found weighing the proportions easier and more accurate. Joe says just eyeball it, get close enough, but with everything “Joe” his eyeball is likely more accurate than my scale.. The balsam ground preparation #1 step added illumination to the wood cells #2’s purpose is to get in and distributed the resins.

Balsam ground preparation #2 ground has polar compounds it adds to Mordent so later added colors ( steps 2B, 2C) can bind to the cell walls

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Photo taken at: Amelia Island

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Sebastian: Step 2(A) in the Balsam Ground process. After the instrument is dry to the touch: even though the solution is alcohol, giving the balsam resins time to dry is important. I sent Sebastian out in the sun for a bit and hung him in the shop overnight. The first step is dry brushes the entire instrument first using the “Tail of the Horse” and then a soft long haired brush (A Spanish dry brush I get from Joe Robson). The dry brushing, cleans, smoothes and pushes any surface resins into the pores. The ground is IN the wood, the later varnish is ON the wood.

Balsam # 2 preparations. #2 is mixed 1:4 with alcohol. Use the good stuff, Everclear is pure grain alcohol, drinkable. Get the highest proof Everclear you can buy. Hardware store and drug store (isopropyl) alcohol has additives or is wood alcohol.
I used to try and volume measure or eyeball the proportions, but after developing a delicious bread baking habit, I’ve found weighing the proportions easier and more accurate. Joe says just eyeball it, get close enough, but with everything “Joe” his eyeball is likely more accurate than my scale.. The balsam ground preparation #1 step added illumination to the wood cells #2’s purpose is to get in and distributed the resins.

Balsam ground preparation #2 ground has polar compounds it adds to Mordent so later added colors ( steps 2B, 2C) can bind to the cell walls #violin #viola #fiddle #5stringfiddle #violinSebastion
#violinmaker #luthier #orchestra #fernandinabeach #ameliaisland #brunswickga #staugustine #stmarys #jacksonville #jaxsymphony #unfmusic #jumusic #luthier #whatsonmybench #violinist #florida #northflorida #Georgia #firstcoast #varnish #violinvarnish #groundvarnish #violingroundvarnish #balsamground, Amelia Island, Normal

Sebastian: Here we go again into varnish land… Step 1: Balsam Ground #1 The first part of varnishing is to prepare the wood for the varnish. A ground coat is everything that goes into the wood, the later varnish coats go on top of the wood. Balsam Ground #1 puts balsam pitch down into the wood’s cell structure, its the first part of a mordant on mordant process that will coat the cell walls, but not seal (or clog) up the cells. We want the cells to be as free as possible to sing, also we want to protect the wood, and let the light enter the cells, then bounce back in all the brilliance the wood can support. Not only does a violin need to sound pretty, it needs to look pretty too. Balsam Ground #1 is applied straight from the bottle. It is alcohol based, so it dries very quickly. The tendency is to put more on than you need. Keep track of where you brushed and move on. It dries so fast that you will think you missed areas. I always dab a bit extra where end grain is exposed

Sebastian: Here we go again into varnish land… Step 1: Balsam Ground #1 The first part of varnishing is to prepare the wood for the varnish. A ground coat is everything that goes into the wood, the later varnish coats go on top of the wood. Balsam Ground #1 puts balsam pitch down into the wood’s cell structure, its the first part of a mordant on mordant process that will coat the cell walls, but not seal (or clog) up the cells. We want the cells to be as free as possible to sing, also we want to protect the wood, and let the light enter the cells, then bounce back in all the brilliance the wood can support. Not only does a violin need to sound pretty, it needs to look pretty too. 
Balsam Ground #1 is applied straight from the bottle. It is alcohol based, so it dries very quickly. The tendency is to put more on than you need. Keep track of where you brushed and move on. It dries so fast that you will think you missed areas. I always dab a bit extra where end grain is exposed

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Photo taken at: Fernandina Beach, Florida

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Sebastian: Here we go again into varnish land… Step 1: Balsam Ground #1 The first part of varnishing is to prepare the wood for the varnish. A ground coat is everything that goes into the wood, the later varnish coats go on top of the wood. Balsam Ground #1 puts balsam pitch down into the wood’s cell structure, its the first part of a mordant on mordant process that will coat the cell walls, but not seal (or clog) up the cells. We want the cells to be as free as possible to sing, also we want to protect the wood, and let the light enter the cells, then bounce back in all the brilliance the wood can support. Not only does a violin need to sound pretty, it needs to look pretty too.
Balsam Ground #1 is applied straight from the bottle. It is alcohol based, so it dries very quickly. The tendency is to put more on than you need. Keep track of where you brushed and move on. It dries so fast that you will think you missed areas. I always dab a bit extra where end grain is exposed.

#violin #viola #fiddle #5stringfiddle #violinSebastion
#violinmaker #luthier #orchestra #fernandinabeach #ameliaisland #brunswickga #staugustine #stmarys #jacksonville #jaxsymphony #unfmusic #jumusic #luthier #whatsonmybench #violinist #florida #northflorida #Georgia #firstcoast #varnish #violinvarnish, Fernandina Beach, Florida, Normal

Sebastian: As an evacuee of Dorian the hurricane, I’m sharing my Spouse’s cabin at the Lilian E Smith Center near Clayton GA. She has been coming here the past few years for an Artist Residency, lucky for me to have such a beautiful place in nature to escape to. While here I’m Brushing Sebastian with the “Tail of The Horse”. After we have smoothed out any scraping and end grain furries with Equisetum (AKA Horse Tail), we go to the next finer abrasive which is the Tail of the Horse. When a luthier re-hairs violin, viola, and cello bows, they use a hank of horse hair, most typically from Mongolian ponies. When the hank of horse hair is done there is a think brush of course horseh air left over. Dorian Barnes sells these with epoxy binding the hair together to make a really nice stiff course brush. I brush the wood on the side edges of the horse hair to give a bit of a cut, kind of like a very very small scraper. This brushing smooths the wood without changing the grain contour and removes any remaining dust and furries

Sebastian: As an evacuee of Dorian the hurricane, I’m sharing my Spouse’s cabin at the Lilian E Smith Center near Clayton GA. She has been coming here the past few years for an Artist Residency, lucky for me to have such a beautiful place in nature to escape to. While here I’m Brushing Sebastian with the “Tail of The Horse”. After we have smoothed out any scraping and end grain furries with Equisetum (AKA Horse Tail), we go to the next finer abrasive which is the Tail of the Horse. When a luthier re-hairs violin, viola, and cello bows, they use a hank of horse hair, most typically from Mongolian ponies. When the hank of horse hair is done there is a think brush of course horseh air left over. Dorian Barnes sells these with epoxy binding the hair together to make a really nice stiff course brush. I brush the wood on the side edges of the horse hair to give a bit of a cut, kind of like a very very small scraper. This brushing smooths the wood without changing the grain contour and removes any remaining dust and furries

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Sebastian: As an evacuee of Dorian the hurricane, I’m sharing my Spouse’s cabin at the Lilian E Smith Center near Clayton GA. She has been coming here the past few years for an Artist Residency, lucky for me to have such a beautiful place in nature to escape to. While here I’m Brushing Sebastian with the “Tail of The Horse”. After we have smoothed out any scraping and end grain furries with Equisetum (AKA Horse Tail), we go to the next finer abrasive which is the Tail of the Horse. When a luthier re-hairs violin, viola, and cello bows, they use a hank of horse hair, most typically from Mongolian ponies. When the hank of horse hair is done there is a think brush of course horseh air left over. Dorian Barnes #Barnesviolins sells these with epoxy binding the hair together to make a really nice stiff course brush. I brush the wood on the side edges of the horse hair to give a bit of a cut, kind of like a very very small scraper. This brushing smooths the wood without changing the grain contour and removes any remaining dust and furries. #violin #viola #fiddle #5stringfiddle #violinSebastion
#violinmaker #luthier #orchestra #fernandinabeach #ameliaisland #brunswickga #staugustine #stmarys #jacksonville #jaxsymphony #unfmusic #jumusic #luthier #whatsonmybench #violinist #florida #northflorida #Georgia #firstcoast, **insta-location**, Normal

Sebastian: Getting ready for the ground and varnish stage. Sebastian has his neck set, fingerboard and nut done, saddle on, and now we are ready to prepare the wood for varnishing. I’ve used sharp scrapers to make the plate surfaces as smooth as possible. The next step is to use Equisetum, a plant that has silica ridges. Dorian Barnes processes the Equisetum to an easy to use form. The Equisetum plant has been used since Egyptian times to smooth wood. Violin makers avoid sand paper, since it leaves grit in the wood, and scores the wood fibers. We want the sonorous wood as clean as possible. I’ll also wash the wood with clean water a few times to remove any debris. I take my time in this cleanup prep phase. After I’ve worked on the instrument for a couple of hours my eyes get tired and don’t see things that need attention. So, put it down, come back tomorrow, then there are new areas that need attention. Maybe there are elves in the studio that make flat spots, or mess with the wood during the night?

Sebastian: Getting ready for the ground and varnish stage. Sebastian has his neck set, fingerboard and nut done, saddle on, and now we are ready to prepare the wood for varnishing. I’ve used sharp scrapers to make the plate surfaces as smooth as possible. The next step is to use Equisetum, a plant that has silica ridges. Dorian Barnes processes the Equisetum to an easy to use form. The Equisetum plant has been used since Egyptian times to smooth wood. Violin makers avoid sand paper, since it leaves grit in the wood, and scores the wood fibers. We want the sonorous wood as clean as possible. I’ll also wash the wood with clean water a few times to remove any debris. 
I take my time in this cleanup prep phase. After I’ve worked on the instrument for a couple of hours my eyes get tired and don’t see things that need attention. So, put it down, come back tomorrow, then there are new areas that need attention. Maybe there are elves in the studio that make flat spots, or mess with the wood during the night?

Instagram filter used: Normal

Photo taken at: Amelia Island

View in Instagram ⇒
Sebastian: Getting ready for the ground and varnish stage. Sebastian has his neck set, fingerboard and nut done, saddle on, and now we are ready to prepare the wood for varnishing. I’ve used sharp scrapers to make the plate surfaces as smooth as possible. The next step is to use Equisetum, a plant that has silica ridges. Dorian Barnes processes the Equisetum to an easy to use form. The Equisetum plant has been used since Egyptian times to smooth wood. Violin makers avoid sand paper, since it leaves grit in the wood, and scores the wood fibers. We want the sonorous wood as clean as possible. I’ll also wash the wood with clean water a few times to remove any debris.
I take my time in this cleanup prep phase. After I’ve worked on the instrument for a couple of hours my eyes get tired and don’t see things that need attention. So, put it down, come back tomorrow, then there are new areas that need attention. Maybe there are elves in the studio that make flat spots, or mess with the wood during the night? #violin #viola #fiddle #5stringfiddle #violinSebastion
#violinmaker #luthier #orchestra #fernandinabeach #ameliaisland #brunswickga #staugustine #stmarys #jacksonville #jaxsymphony #unfmusic #jumusic #luthier #whatsonmybench #violinist #florida #northflorida #Georgia #firstcoast, Amelia Island, Normal

Sebastian: “when you cut down a tree, what you make from it should be at least as miraculous as what you cut down”, p. 453 ‘The Overstory’ by Richard Powers

Sebastian: “when you cut down a tree, what you make from it should be at least as miraculous as what you cut down”, p. 453 ‘The Overstory’ by Richard Powers

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Photo taken at: Amelia Island

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Sebastian: “when you cut down a tree, what you make from it should be at least as miraculous as what you cut down”, p. 453 ‘The Overstory’ by Richard Powers #violin #viola #fiddle #5stringfiddle #violinJameson #violinSebastion
#violinmaker #luthier #orchestra #fernandinabeach #ameliaisland #brunswickga #staugustine #stmarys #jacksonville #jaxsymphony #unfmusic #jumusic #luthier #whatsonmybench #violinist #florida #northflorida #Georgia #luthier #firstcoast, Amelia Island, Normal

Sebastian: The neck is set. I just finished the UNH violin workshop last week. Todd Goldenberg.goldenberg honed my skills. Now with sharper tools, and better posture, the work gets easier and tighter. Thanks Todd

Sebastian: The neck is set. I just finished the UNH violin workshop last week. Todd Goldenberg.goldenberg honed my skills. Now with sharper tools, and better posture, the work gets easier and tighter. Thanks Todd

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Photo taken at: Amelia Island

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Sebastian: The neck is set. I just finished the UNH violin workshop last week. Todd Goldenberg #todd.goldenberg honed my skills. Now with sharper tools, and better posture, the work gets easier and tighter. Thanks Todd!! #violin #viola #fiddle #5stringfiddle #violinSebastion

#violinmaker #luthier #orchestra #fernandinabeach #ameliaisland #brunswickga #staugustine #stmarys #jacksonville #jaxsymphony #unfmusic #jumusic #luthier #whatsonmybench #violinist #florida #northflorida #Georgia #luthier #firstcoast, Amelia Island, Normal

Professional Todd Goldenberg stress testing Viola Sebastian at the University of New Hampshire violin making workshop

Professional Todd Goldenberg stress testing Viola Sebastian at the University of New Hampshire violin making workshop

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Photo taken at: Durham, New Hampshire

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Professional Todd Goldenberg stress testing Viola Sebastian at the University of New Hampshire violin making workshop. #violin #viola #fiddle #5stringfiddle #violinJameson #fiddlejamesen #violinSebastion
#violinmaker #luthier #orchestra #fernandinabeach #ameliaisland #brunswickga #staugustine #stmarys #jacksonville #jaxsymphony #unfmusic #jumusic #luthier #whatsonmybench #violinist #florida #northflorida #Georgia #luthier #firstcoast #unhviolininstitute, Durham, New Hampshire, Normal

Augmenting the morning bird song around our feeder

Augmenting the morning bird song around our feeder

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Photo taken at: Fernandina Beach, Florida

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Augmenting the morning bird song around our feeder 🙂 #violin #viola
#violinmaker #luthier #orchestra #fernandinabeach #ameliaisland #brunswickga #staugustine #stmarys #jacksonville #jaxsymphony #unfmusic #jumusic #luthier #violinist #florida #northflorida #Georgia #luthier #firstcoast, Fernandina Beach, Florida, Normal