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Egg Whites as a Sealer

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Forum topic by DS posted 11-02-2011 10:29 PM 4300 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DS

2132 posts in 1174 days


11-02-2011 10:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip

When I built my first violin, the book I was following made a big deal about the finish. How the finish affects the sound quality and how modern finishes can diminish the tone of a violin. There were several cited sources for old-timey recipes for varnish, but what surprised me most was it called for egg whites to be used as a sealer coat prior to varnish.

Nervous about getting it wrong, I was a bit hesitant to use raw egg whites to seal the violin prior to coating with varnish.. After all I just spent a couple months getting this thing assembled somewhat correctly.

After trying it out, I was pleasently surprised how well it worked. It’s like nature’s sanding sealer. Amazing!

I still use egg whites and varnish on my instruments, but haven’t dared use this on any of my paying customers’ furniture gigs.

Has anyone else heard of this?
Or, perhaps, you know of other “unusual” finishes that you’d like to share.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251


17 replies so far

View Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop's profile

Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop

638 posts in 1445 days


#1 posted 11-02-2011 10:45 PM

How did you prepare the whites and then how did you apply it. I never heard of that before. Talk about a “green” finish!!!

-- Drew -- "I cut it twice and it's still too short!"- Rock-n H Woodshop - Moore, OK

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DS

2132 posts in 1174 days


#2 posted 11-02-2011 10:50 PM

Super simple… Cracked an egg and seperated the yolk from the white… whisked it gently with a fork in a small bowl and used a soft varnish brush for the application. Try to avoid getting the foamy bubbles in the finish.

It sands out nicely when dry. (Started at 1200 grit on the egg whites… 2400 Grit between varnish coats, 9600 grit on the final coat.)

The interior of a violin has only this treatment to it—no varnish in there.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1526 posts in 1229 days


#3 posted 11-02-2011 11:01 PM

In photography to make albumen prints (egg white) we used to mix the egg white with vinegar to prevent mold formation, you might want to try that as well. If it works for paper I am sure it will work for wood. Paper comes from wood, right? :)

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

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RGtools

3314 posts in 1408 days


#4 posted 11-02-2011 11:07 PM

DS251 I would love to hear more about making violins. Where did you learn?

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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DS

2132 posts in 1174 days


#5 posted 11-02-2011 11:17 PM

RGTools: I found a book one day while I was at the local Rocklers. Violinmaking for Amatuers.
Made my first “Amateurish” violin using wood I bought at HD. (Looks better than it sounded)

After that, I figured out that the Pro’s make them somewhat differently. I checked out lots of books from the library. I bought a couple awesome reference books, bought some of the specialty tools and brought in some nice imported tonewoods. I’ve since turned out some fairly nice instruments.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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Viktor

448 posts in 2173 days


#6 posted 11-02-2011 11:33 PM

Egg whites were also used as additive to mortar in medieval times and as glue in some applications until fairly recently.
DS251, do you play violin? I guess I am interested whether one needs to be able to play the instrument to build a good one. How do you judge the performance once it’s finished?

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1869 days


#7 posted 11-02-2011 11:48 PM

egg , buttermilk, and oxblood is some of the traditonel ingrreedience´s in the old
paint recipie´s told by old painters and luckely is now written down :-)

here in Denmark they are all called milkpaints by people who don´t know the different
many of them you have to stir all the time when using them

here is two site´s with some recipie´s you can look …........sorry they are in Danish
but I´m sure Google and other translating maschines can help you out with the reading :-)

http://www.slideshare.net/thylander/20-Malings-opskrifter-Raadvad

http://www.antikabc.dk/frontpage.aspx?id=0&type=6&dbid=6821

so there is no reason to fear using egg
the old recipie´s is still used by museumspeople and restoringpeople

good luck :-)

Dennis

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Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1869 days


#8 posted 11-02-2011 11:52 PM

I for got to say on this little island in a near by village there is a house where the frontdoor
is painted with oxblood about 300 years ago and never needed new paint since then :-)

Dennis

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DS

2132 posts in 1174 days


#9 posted 11-03-2011 12:11 AM

I get asked all the time if I play. Most people assume that I do.

The fact is, I can carve, but, sadly, cannot play. I have “fat” fingers that refuse to behave properly on the strings! I do play many other instruments though and am quite the music affionato.

Fortunately, I have many family members who do play, including my sister who plays in the local symphony, my daughter and a nephew who also play. They each have an instrument made especially for them.

I get several opinions of an instrument by the “experts” before it is finalized.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View hObOmOnk's profile

hObOmOnk

1381 posts in 2881 days


#10 posted 11-03-2011 12:24 AM

Do you mean Egg White Glair?
This is made by beating egg whites to a froth then letting them render in a strainer over night. The liquid that renders is used and the foam that remains in the strainer is discarded.
Blessings,
Bro. Tenzin

-- 温故知新

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Zuki

1404 posts in 2831 days


#11 posted 11-03-2011 01:03 AM

I use Knox gelatin as a glue. I mix it a little stronger than on the package in a glass jam jar. To keep it liquid I place it on a coffee warmer. I use a small paint brush to apply it.

-- BLOG - http://www.colorfulcanary.com/search/label/Zuki

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DS

2132 posts in 1174 days


#12 posted 11-03-2011 01:06 AM

Ok, Bro. Tenzin what kind of things do you use Egg White Glair for and Zuki, what kind of things do you use gelatin glue for?
Not sure I even wanna know what Dennis uses oxblood for… heheh

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1869 days


#13 posted 11-03-2011 08:39 AM

:-) you never know what happens around halloween

Dennis

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DS

2132 posts in 1174 days


#14 posted 11-03-2011 05:40 PM

So Dennis, you keep the IV Blood Bag with the paint roller and pan, do ya?
I can just hear it now. “Honey, the dining table needs a fresh coat of paint and we’re low on milk for breakfast. Will ya go bleed the ox and milk the cow?” lol

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1869 days


#15 posted 11-03-2011 05:42 PM

:-))

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