All instruments depicted here were executed using Alchemist's Dark Amber Varnish.
David Chrapkiewcz, 2006:
"I've enjoyed using your extra thick and dark amber varnish for the past four years on my award winning violins and violas. Thanks for doing the tedious and dangerous work that results in such a fine violin varnish.
An added plus is that it is perfectly compatible with the resin varnish I cook up every 7 years or so. I'm able to achieve the desired optical effects, the desired colors by interlayering glazes of transparent lake pigments, and keep the total varnish layer under 0.06mm in thickness.
Also with the help of driers (5 drops per 2.5 ml varnish) and a UV light box, I can "bake" the varnish for 5 days in UV light to render it unimpressionable to fingerprints or case marks.
“Donald C. Fels jr. (Alchemist® Mediums) has created a superior amber oil varnish. A perfect combination of gem like beauty and durability. Having experienced various other oil varnishes I can not imagine a better varnish to use for my instruments. Fels' varnish makes my work better in the end.”
“I feel fortunate to be living in an age when Renaissance skills of true craftsmanship nearly lost in lutherie and the visual arts are being reborn. Donald Fels is a true alchemist in his ability to create varnishes of both optical perfection and ease of use. I have used his dark amber varnish for years now, and cannot imagine using anything else. His book Lost Secrets of Flemish Painting should be required reading in violin making and art schools alike. After years of struggling with other oil varnishes, using his varnish and reading his book made it all make sense. What used to be a stressful and complicated procedure became simple and elegant. I don't have to use toxic solvents or even driers. I go with the seasons, use the sun to dry the varnish, and feel transported back in time, a time when being a craftsman meant something.”
"Donald Fel's 'Dark Amber Varnish' is, in my experience, an excellent violin varnish. It is very easy to work with, and the final results are satisfying. A property I particularly like is the very long open time, making it easy to spread thinly and evenly. Although it is not intensly colored on its own, it takes color well. It dries well and polishes well. I am very impressed."