Making Matters: In the light of experience

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Most violin makers will have a UV cabinet in their workshop, but how many realise the differences between the light sources? In the first of two articles, Andreas Hampel and Andreas Hudelmayer examine several of the available options

Violin makers use ultraviolet light in a variety of ways: to tan wood, to dry oil varnishes, and to examine varnished surfaces in fluorescence analysis. For the first two applications, strong sunlight can be the source of the UV radiation. For fluorescence analysis, however, only artificial UV light can be used. For violin makers based in northern Europe (such as the present authors), wood tanning and varnish drying are both also inconceivable without artificial UV light.

There are now many kinds of UV lamp on the market, which differ greatly in their light spectra and intensities. They also vary in terms of their service life, energy consumption, heat and environmental effects. We wanted to investigate the differences between these light sources, and determine which light is best suited for which parts of the violin making process…

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