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Letter: Glue, Chemistry, Etc

Letter: Glue, Chemistry, Etc.

by Lloyd Scott Ogelsby

Originally published in American Lutherie #11, 1987 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume One, 2000

Dear Tim,

The history of your Guild closely parallels the history of the Pyrotechnics Guild International Inc., but your publication and membership are twice the size of ours. Who’d have thought we could find over a thousand folks that roll their own fireworks! The PGII is now the largest fireworks organization in history and we have more pros than the pro organization. Come to our convention, I promise you the best fireworks on planet earth and enough of them. It’s a lot of blasts.

Due to back and neck injury, what is left of me has taken up violin making. Until August 14th last year I had quite a laboratory at home, doing research on varnish and wood treatment. The house burned down — gone.

It’s easy to distract an old chemist with ancient chemical puzzles. For the last two years I had made hundreds of these funny organic polyester blends that form glass structure polymers that are traditionally called natural resin and oil varnishes. I played with everything from boil your own sink oil to road paint phenolics, phthalic ester resins, and isophthalatics, and had spent a fortunes on resins and oils in a shotgun approach to educating myself on phytochemistry and what to preserve and pretty up wood with. Fortunately the chemistry is simple, if very complex in the number of products that the four principle reactions can make.

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