The varnish was really slow to cure -my varnish, not epifanes.
Then I went to violinvarnish and saw that for an amber varnish of this type ("one of the oldest types, or something like that according to the listing") the seller says UV light is needed for a cure less than two weeks.
So I put eipfanes and this on a test piece, and both were suitably dry in the sun in about 4 hours. The seller of this type of varnish said 13 hours in the sun for full cure.
I also saw that my price comments were not for this type of varnish. For this type of amber violin varnish, the seller wants $72 for 100ml (!)
Mine turned out much thicker than epifanes, so I thinned it with turps in the jar after seeing that it cured. It's almost too thin with less than a 1 to 1 ratio, but it'll work well for wiping. it feels like a heavy cut of shellac now, except you can play with it for a while when applying it because it doesn't set quickly.
I don't know that most of you guys on here will ever do this, but it's fun to make a finish and then see it cure properly. it smells wonderful. I know that the pine turps is still toxic and shouldn't be breathed, but it makes the shop smell like pine. The epifanes is not so pleasant, but it's sure cheaper. And the way it goes on and sets up quickly, I can tell it's intended for outdoor use like a spar varnish. I will thin it with its brushing thinner before using more of it.
Talking to george yesterday (and if anyone asks, I see people are concerned because he's not posting on forums, he's actually fine - I think he's just lost interest in the forums) - he said stradivari liked to hang his violins in the sun on a cupola to get them to cure, and it was the king of spain he had to apologize for sending a pair of violins that had varnish that never cured.
This just goes down as another thing where I remember seeing people talking about it ("cooking varnish") and thought "I'll never do that, that's nutty", but by a stroke of luck or perhaps just following instructions, the first batch is good, and the next batch won't cost so much to make.