Our Varnishes for Violins and Bowed Instruments

The dark amber varnishes can be used as varnishes on violins, viols, viola de gambas, cellos, and bowed string instruments of the viol family. The varnish, when applied to musical instruments, imparts a rich warm transparent golden brown tone.

The varnishes are based on the 17th-century recipes for amber varnish by the Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi and others, which can be found in the 17th-century notes of Sir Theodore Turquet de Mayerne, British Museum MS Sloane 2052.

Translations of this and other recipes for amber and non-amber varnishes along with the directions can be found in the book Lost Secrets of Flemish Painting.

No driers, more freedom

Since Alchemist chooses not to incorporate any driers in our products we are able to give the user the freedom to use the varnish in a way you feel comfortable with while simultaneously increasing the shelf-life for the non-frequent users. There are basically two approaches possible. A slow drying approach whereby less driers are used but including the use of a UV light box (drying cabinet). Such a way is described below by award winning luthier David Chrapkiewcz. The second approach results in a faster drying time but with the use of a higher ratio of driers (preferred by most users). See the instructions for further details on preparing and applying the varnish. Remember, different driers work at different speeds. We always advise to do some tests before doing the final application.

See the instructions for further detail.

David violin

Violin by David Chrapkiewicz. Photo courtesy of Mike Morgan.

Testimonial excerpt of David Chrapkiewcz:

"I've enjoyed using your extra thick and dark amber varnish for the past four years on my award winning violins and violas. Thanks for doing the tedious and dangerous work that results in such a fine violin varnish.

Also with the help of driers (5 drops per 2.5 ml varnish) and a UV light box, I can "bake" the varnish for 5 days in UV light to render it unimpressionable to fingerprints or case marks.

Bravo! and Thank you!"

David Ludwik Chrapkiewicz

Multiple Violin Society of America award winner

 

Complete testimonial

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Amber Varnish

Linseed Dark

Based on the traditional 17th century recipe for Amber Varnish listed in the De Mayerne Manuscript, British Museum, Sloane 2052.

A high concentration of amber fused in linseed oil for use as a general painting medium or as a varnish for musical instruments.
This varnish was described by the seventeenth century Italian oil painters, Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi as having been used not only as a varnish for painting and for varnishing lutes.
A second mention of this varnish is also listed in the De Mayerne Ms. as the true varnish for lutes and viols.

Alchemist Amber Varnish contains no driers, is solvent free and is all natural.  

Price:
30ml: €45.00
60ml: €85.00

No VAT charged

 

Add to cart

AV Walut Clear

no driers

no solvents

all natural 

Amber Varnish

Walnut Dark

Based on the traditional 17th century recipe for Amber Varnish listed in the De Mayerne Manuscript, British Museum, Sloane 2052.

A high concentration of amber fused in walnut oil for use as a general painting medium or as a varnish for musical instruments based on the traditional recipe for amber varnish found in the 17th century De Mayerne Ms., B.M. Sloane 2052.
This varnish was described by the 17th century Italian oil painters, Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi as having been used not only as a varnish for painting and for varnishing lutes.
A second mention of this varnish is also listed in the De Mayerne Ms. as the true varnish for lutes and viols.

Alchemist Amber Varnish contains no driers, is solvent free and is all natural.  

Price:
30ml: €45.00
60ml: €85.00

No VAT charged  

          

Add to cart

AV Walnut Dark

no driers

no solvents

all natural