I was introduced to a world of forgotten varnish recipes by Joseph
Tripodi, Stan Schmidt, Gary Bease, and Dario D'Attilli. My mixtures
and applications have been refined with each passing year. The finish
on my instruments is a plausable recreation of the old Italian compositions.
The varnish I make uses the natural tree resins, plant oils, binders, and
colorants commonly available to the artists of the 16th,
17th, and 18th centuries. These varnishes naturally
blend with the pigments in use at that time.
The pigments are extremely important in
reproducing the gentle earthy tones of the old masters. I extract my
pigments in much the same way as traditional fabric and wool dyers. I
use the bark and roots of assorted plants and trees known for their
special ability to produce warm pleasing hues of golden orange, red, and