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My fiddle's too shiny

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GUEST,Marion 28 Mar 00 - 01:47 PM
Bert 28 Mar 00 - 01:55 PM
Homeless 28 Mar 00 - 05:01 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Mar 00 - 06:10 PM
Sorcha 28 Mar 00 - 06:15 PM
Mbo 28 Mar 00 - 06:15 PM
catspaw49 28 Mar 00 - 07:30 PM
Grab 29 Mar 00 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Sam Pirt 29 Mar 00 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,alby 07 Apr 11 - 09:04 PM
open mike 08 Apr 11 - 02:10 AM
Doug Chadwick 08 Apr 11 - 02:30 AM
Gurney 08 Apr 11 - 03:29 AM
The Fooles Troupe 08 Apr 11 - 04:16 AM
GUEST,Chris P 08 Apr 11 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,Henry 08 Apr 11 - 01:47 PM
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Subject: My fiddle's too shiny
From: GUEST,Marion
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 01:47 PM

Ok, here's my next fiddle question... a little superficial maybe, but that's me.

My fiddle is only a few weeks old and was bought brand new. I like its colour very much, but its varnish is very glossy and I wish it looked older.

Will the shininess fade with time? How much time? Is there anything totally safe that I can do to rough it up a little?

Thanks, Marion the shallow


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: Bert
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 01:55 PM

Use it!


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: Homeless
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 05:01 PM

Fingerprints (skin oil) will take the appearence of the gloss away, tho most people try to keep the oils off the varnish. Without researching it too deep, my first impulse is to say that anything you do to the finish is going to affect the tone of the fiddle. Spaw seems to know quite a bit about finishes - maybe he can suggest something?


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 06:10 PM

Do you like its sound,though?  If you do, best leave well alone.   Bear in mind, too, that the more you play it, and the more you take it out to pubs, the dirtier it will get, the more rosin it will have stuck to it, the more general crap and detritus will adhere to the deposits of rosin, and dust...

Before long you'll be wanting a recommendation for a good varnish cleaner.  Please don't worry about having a fiddle that looks new; they all start out that way.  Why do you want it to look old?  Nobody who knows anything will be fooled for a moment unless it sounds old, too!

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: Sorcha
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 06:15 PM

A lot of makers are using an "antique" style finish, but I don't know if it can be done later, I am not a luthier. I would definitely say that anything you do to the finish will alter the tone. Take it to a shop or luthier, rather than try to do anything to it yourself.


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: Mbo
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 06:15 PM

Don't worry, Marion, I've been playing mine for 5 years, and it still hasn't lost it's sheen...you might note like me for this, but I actually use polish to shine it up! Also, accumulated rosin dust under the bridge causes the finish to get dull...but don't let it build up TOO long! Ever see Yo-Yo Ma's cello? It's like someone poured acid over the top of it!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 07:30 PM

Malcolm has the best point Marion. Leave it alone. It will age soon enough and the aging process will bring it nearer to you.

As Sorcha said, there are quite a few finishes out on violins and guitars now that either are of the satin or semi-gloss variety or use a toner to cause an older look and often a combination of both. This seems to be a 'real hot ticket' and is done with different formulations in the finish instead of the process. I like wood. I like wooden instruments. I build wooden instruments. Why anyone would want to screw up a beautiful finish is beyond me. My grandfather felt the same way, and when the antiquing thing took off at one point in the 50's, he was appalled that anyone would do such a thing to a beautiful piece of wood.

If you absolutely can't stand it looking as it does, you will need some paste wax (Johnson's), some 0000 steel wool, a sheet of 400 wet/dry sandpaper, mild soap, and some soft cotton rags.

Remove the strings, bridge, and tailpiece. Using the wet/dry and a bowl of water, LIGHTLY sand the fiddle. DO NOT TOUCH THE FRETBOARD with any of this!!! Use an oval motion and equal pressure. A small block of wood, say 1x1, used as a sanding block makes this easier and does a better job. Wipe the instrument dry and then use the mineral spirits with the 0000 steel wool lightly over the instrument and then wash it with a mild soap solution and wipe with clean water. When dried completely, SATURATE a new piece of the steel wool with the paste wax and rub it on as though you were waxing a car. Now take your soft cloths and buff like hell.

You will wind up with a satin finish that initially will have a bit of gloss. But that will disappear very soon and the instrument will begin to "age" faster and will look much older than it is within a few months.

Want my advice? Leave it alone.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: Grab
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 07:48 AM

Depends on the quality of the fiddle.

There's plenty of cheap fiddles out there which are no more than plywood with a veneer on them. (off the subject completely, Leonard Cohen talks about "a monkey and a plywood violin" in First We Take Manhattan. Low concentration span? Me? What did you say again? ;-) These won't improve noticeably with age, and the veneer probably won't change that much looks-wise.

If you get a decent instrument though, it will age nicely. And generally, the heavier the instrument, the richer the sound - my fiddle's about twice the weight of my friend's, but the sound has so much more depth to it. But then mine was my granny's. They don't make them like they used to...

Grab.


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: GUEST,Sam Pirt
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 12:11 PM

But does it SOUND good?

Sam


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: GUEST,alby
Date: 07 Apr 11 - 09:04 PM

First of all, think of wearing sunglasses when playing, It will keep the glare from your eyes and you'll look cool.. ;).
Seriously though, as a luthier I've been asked to "dullen" the finish on a new violin and I refuse to do it. How does one think the "old" violins looked after they were varnished, and then buffed? Yes, years of use and dirt, grime, and such will dullen the finish, but also this build up dampens the instrument in not a good way. If you must, find a local luthier and see if he would do it for you, but if he is worth his salt he won't.
When removing decades of rosin build up I use pumice and oil, then to bring the finish back up I use chalk and oil, then a polish (YOHA) to finish it off.
I had to refinish my 10 yr old beat up violin only because some wood was unprotected (original maker did not put on a good ground coat) so I was forced to protect the wood.
Varnish is naturally shiny when it dries, the "buffing" is what gives it the type of finish (ascetically) desired, be it matte, semi gloss, or high gloss.


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: open mike
Date: 08 Apr 11 - 02:10 AM

i have seen a fiddler polish the violin with walnuts...yes, just the nut, applied by hand...the walnut oil made a beautiful finish...


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 08 Apr 11 - 02:30 AM

Stradivarius didn't make antique violins.


DC


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: Gurney
Date: 08 Apr 11 - 03:29 AM

Marion. There are products sometimes available from paint suppliers, sometimes called gloss busters. They are made to do exactly what you are asking for, to give a very slightly roughened surface. This is in preparation for painting, of course.
The stuff is like domestic cleaning paste (Ajax creme?) but has a finer grain size from the feel of it, more like the abrasive in toothpaste.

You could try it, if you are feeling brave. Sparingly, and starting where it can't be seen, and washing off the residue as you go, so that you can see what (damage) you are doing.

You could even try toothpaste! The abrasive in that is rumoured to be powdered nut-shells.

BUT! Very gently, and entirely at your own risk. I like glossy instruments anyway.
Do keep us informed.


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Apr 11 - 04:16 AM

OM, the lovely greek guy who touched up may father's violin recommended getting fresh walnut - as fresh as you can buy at the shop - no need to try too hard - and crush one and take the oil and rub it in, then apply a soft cloth to move it around till it is dry.


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: GUEST,Chris P
Date: 08 Apr 11 - 09:30 AM

The OP was in March 2000, so I should think the shine must be going off by now?


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Subject: RE: My fiddle's too shiny
From: GUEST,Henry
Date: 08 Apr 11 - 01:47 PM

Rub it with pumice powder in the manner described above. This will dull the gloss without risk of damage, which you may get with something like wire wool. Then polish it up which should leave a satin finish.


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