Broken Melos Rosin

Edited: June 21, 2020, 6:02 AM · It had to happen eventually - I dropped my rosin at rehersal yesterday and of course it was my $20 Melos light rosin and it broke in half. A quick Google search here and elsewhere provided the information on addressing the problem with a warm oven and parchment paper. It went much faster than expected. It is no longer as smooth as it was no matter what I do (I made 3 attempts). So I've 2.5 questions:

1. Just how can we get the rosin cake as smooth as it was? It will be an interesting experiment to see the impact of the less smooth surface if I can't get that back.

2. Assuming I can figure out #1, is there any reason why I couldn't put my Melos and Piastro Olive rosin together? To be clear, not mixing them at all, just one on top. I still use both as needed and it might be useful to physically join them so I always have both- but only if I can address the smoothness problem.

2.5 For the more expensive rosins, like my Melos, does this impact any qualities of the rosin at all? I assume it's pure sap but I'm new to all of this.

Thanks!

Replies (14)

June 21, 2020, 6:06 AM · I assume it will smooth out as you use your bow on it.
June 21, 2020, 7:33 AM · Gordon is correct. However, if you are having trouble rosining your bow(s) you can gently cross-cut (actually, "cross-scratch")the top of the reformed cake.

I've actually purchased some new rosins that had irregular tops.

For re-forming really SMASHED rosin cakes, rather than parchment paper, I have used aluminum-foil shaped by an appropriate-size cylindrical object and heated in a toaster oven at about 180 - 200°F.

June 21, 2020, 7:53 AM · The only time I have ever needed to score or cross-cut rosin was with my first ever piece of Chinese ultrahard summer rosin ($2 or free with every vso). Anything amber or darker seems like butter in comparison!
June 21, 2020, 8:28 AM · You can use a torch to glaze the sides.

When I had to remelt my cake of Pop's bass rosin, it never seemed to be the same again. It was soft before, but now it's as close as you can get to being a liquid while still being considered a solid. It seems to lose its tack on the hair and has to be reapplied every session. I almost brought the cake to a boil, but it's just something to keep in mind.

Edited: June 21, 2020, 9:59 AM · If you put it in a freezer immediately after melting it, would that form bigger crystals (any crystals?), and would it be better or worse?
June 21, 2020, 11:55 AM · "If you put it in a freezer immediately after melting it, would that form bigger crystals (any crystals?), and would it be better or worse?"

Rosin is not a crystalline substance.

June 21, 2020, 12:12 PM · If you are aiming for 180-200F, you could also rig up a double-boiler and melt the rosin as the water cools down off the boil. One way to avoid too much heat in a badly-calibrated toaster oven.
June 21, 2020, 12:24 PM · When I have done this, I have monitored the melting progress closely and removed the rosin from the oven as soon as it appeared to have melted. Since I have no idea what ingredients are in any brand of rosin I thought it best to minimize vaporization of any volatile components.
June 21, 2020, 1:32 PM · 1) The oven method ought to make the rosin go back to being fairly smooth, but if you desire more, you can use a hair dryer or a heat gun carefully on the top to smooth it out. You don’t need a glossy and perfectly smooth surface, just something flat enough to work well with the bow and free of sharp edges that will cut hairs off. Repeated use will remove irregularities.
2) You could try bonding the two rosins. It shouldn’t do any significant harm. The downside is that if it falls, you’ll have two shattered cakes at once.
2.5) Yes, rosin is primarily made of sap. However, some rosin manufacturers add other chemicals or ingredients to their formulas to make them different. As far as changes to the structure, there is some risk that the rosin will be changed when you reheat it. One of the things that differentiates kinds of rosin is the cooking process (time, temperature, etc.). I think as long as you just heat it enough to get it to adhere again, the risk of change is fairly low.
June 21, 2020, 1:41 PM · Thanks everyone - I had my oven at the lowest setting (warm) - and I did lightly score the cake today. Interesting experiment - and after further consideration I don't think I am going to bond the two cakes together just due to the replacement cost if I shatter them.
June 22, 2020, 7:43 AM · I don’t know if rosin is crystalline or not, but in Wikipedia it says that some types form crystals.
Chocolate is a crystalline substance that has several forms, and what form you end up with, depends on what temperature you heat it to and how fast you cool it, hence tempering the chocolate to get it to the crisp form .
Cotton, if you‘ve got nothing to lose with that rosin, maybe play around with “tempering “ it. If it were chocolate you would speed up the cooling but sloshing it around on a slab, Or by adding bits of unheated rosin to melt to soak up the heat.
June 22, 2020, 7:43 AM · I don’t know if rosin is crystalline or not, but in Wikipedia it says that some types form crystals.
Chocolate is a crystalline substance that has several forms, and what form you end up with, depends on what temperature you heat it to and how fast you cool it, hence tempering the chocolate to get it to the crisp form .
Cotton, if you‘ve got nothing to lose with that rosin, maybe play around with “tempering “ it. If it were chocolate you would speed up the cooling but sloshing it around on a slab, Or by adding bits of unheated rosin to melt to soak up the heat.
June 22, 2020, 9:08 AM · Dual rosin cakes are nothing new; Andrea Rosin now sells such a product ( https://www.concordmusic.com/products/andrea-sanctus-rosin ).

Going back further in time, when I received my first cello, way back in 1949, the pocket of the cello bag contained a used cake of Thomastik cello rosin with 2 formulations in a plastic frame that separated the 2 formulations. That cake was still around in 2000 when I let my younger granddaughter use it for the month she played violin - then the cake disappeared (but it was still usable, although one side had only about 1 mm thickness remaining. That Thomastik product was still being sold at that time, but is no longer available.

Based on some paper that came with that cello there is some evidence that Thomastik made that rosin product for at least most of the 20th century.

June 24, 2020, 6:08 PM · Of course, going one further from Rosemary, you could, instead of spending so meuch on new rosin, try using chocolate instead.


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