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Chemical Stains

Chemical Stains

by Michael Darnton

Originally published in American Lutherie #32, 1992 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Three, 2004

One of the biggest problems for the violin maker trying to replicate the effects of time is the imitation of the color of ancient wood. Even unantiqued instruments benefit from the rich appearance of old, time-darkened wood under a coat of fine varnish.

Chemical stains have the greatest promise for replicating the look of old wood. Unlike aniline and pigment dyes which insert foreign colors into the wood, either in the form of a soluble dye or of a solid pigment, chemical stains cause a color change in the wood itself. The change is both permanent and clean-looking when compared to that of aniline and pigment colors.

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