Rosin Wax

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Rosin Wax
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This sample of blonde wax is a mixture of rosin (a brittle, dusty and solid amber-coloured resin derived from pines trees) and beeswax. The rosin, also known as colophony or Greek pitch, gives this wax its tackiness. It is made by heating fresh liquid tree sap (oleo-resin) to remove the volatile liquid terpene compounds. If you scratch off a small amount of this substance and warm it up between your fingers, it smells like a mixture of pine and turpentine.

Rosin typically varies in colour from very pale and transparent to dark brown or yellow depending on the age of tree the sap is extracted from and the temperature to which it is heated. Rosin is crucial for creating sound in string instruments as it allows the horsehair bowstrings to grip the metal strings of the instrument and ‘make them speak’. The different colours of rosin are said to produce different tones as a result of their differential stickiness, and as such, there are many different types formulated for different kinds of tone (subtle or aggressive), particular kinds of playing conditions like humidity, or specific instruments (violin verse cello).

This particular rosin and beeswax mix is sometimes used instead of pure rosin on bows, as the wax content adds to the ‘stiction’ (static friction) or friction characteristics of the substance, modifying the tone produced by the instrument. This wax and resin mix is also used for hair-removal, as a material for softening, protecting and waterproofing leather in shoemaking, and for coating the fibres of imitation flies used in fly-fishing so that they look more lifelike and animated.

Sample ID: 338


Donated by
Martin Conreen
Bees | Conifer | Friction | Pine | Protect | Resin | Sap | Sound | Sticky | Tacky | Waterproof | Wax | Yellow

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