Course Description

A few hundred years of secretive craft practices and vague terminology in ancient art books has rendered the term ‘varnish’ loaded. This course will attempt to break through the confusion of 'magic ingredients’ and 'lost recipes’ and instead focus on an overall theory of varnishing. A basic coating will be created made up of discrete layers using traditional materials and methods. Topics will include preparing the wood for varnish, making a pore filler, grinding pigments in oil, and application of varnish. Students will gain an understanding of varnishing in general, and come away with the tools to create their own coating that will expand as their experience grows. No prior experience is necessary. Emphasis will be placed on tradition, and a moderate attempt will be made to capture the 'spirit’ of the classic Italian varnishes.

Class will meet in person from 9am to 5pm, with additional open workshop hours in the evening.

Materials and Tools

One to three completed violins 'in the white’ will be needed, ideally with fingerboards removed. Various pieces of maple rib stock will also be extremely useful for experimentation, along with various 'off cuts’ of both spruce and maple. Due to the nature of oil based materials, the more pieces students have to work on, the less likely they will be halted due to drying considerations. UV cabinets will be provided to minimize dry time but cannot guarantee perfect results. A very simple oil varnish will also be provided in order to keep cohesion among the group.

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Section Title
A Varnisher's Toolbox: The Basics of Varnishing a Violin
M, T, W, Th, F
9:00AM to 5:00PM
Aug 01, 2022 to Aug 05, 2022
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
Course Fee(s)
PDT - Violin Institute non-credit $1,099.00 or $100.00 deposit Click here to get more information
Section Fees
Violin Institute Apron $20.00 Optional
  • Michael Daddona
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