My Spirit Varnish Recipepublished Mar 6, 2020 by Edgar E. Russ
Spirit varnish is nothing else then varnish made with alcohol. There is a lot of secrecy around the perfect recipe, which is certainly very important, as long as you like it is the best.
I would advise you to experiment with it and will discover things you don’t like and that you will change.
When I first came to Cremona the recipe was kind of a secret: everyone was keeping theirs for themselves. I went through a lot of trials and errors to get to the recipe I am going to share with you today.
Once the varnish is dry, it is really similar to the oil one, but it finally depends on the way you apply it.
I love oil varnish and if I had to choose I would go for oil varnish, but spirit varnish is an easy type of process and it’s also fun to use and to explain.
After a lot of years experimenting with spirit varnish I start by using a plastic container with a cap, in which and I pour my ingredients.
To make your own spirit varnish you will have to measure with a scale:
- 3 liters of Alcohol
- 16 grams of curcuma, it gives a nice yellow color. If it’s too yellow for you don’t put so much
- 50 grams of benzoe, it makes the varnish a little more shiny
- 80 grams mastix
- 200 grams of juniper
- 400 grams of shellack
After you add all the ingredients you have to shake the mix. You don’t need to cook it, you just leave it and give it a good shake every day.
Before you use it, you then have to filter it: I use a nylon filter (some old pantyhose are fine) or a cotton cloth to get a filtered varnish to then apply on my instruments.