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I know we've covered this in bits and pieces...but it keeps cropping up. Given how many (re: endless) varnishes there are out there (alchemy anyone?) how do we know what cleaning process/es is going to be safe for that particular instrument and NOT cause some bizzarre chemical reaction or other damage? I have only ever used a damp cloth (just damp enough to move the dirt, then I dry immediately if necessary) and a bit of spit on tough spots. I haven't ever tried a chemical because of potential issues. So when I see recommendations of products such as Simple Green, I wonder how 'safe' this is? How do you know? Do you want to risk it? When is water and spit not enough? I've been doing this for 45 years...never needed more. But I can see tougher cleaning approaches might need to be taken in some cases...or not?
Hello there, I'm a new member, but I've used threads from this forum as an information source many times before. I'm a Danish cellist with a lot of hobbies, one being restoration of old violins. I'm rather new to it, though, and have only repaired one violin yet with a nasty sound post crack, so I need to gain a lot of experience. I picked this violin up from a luthier's shop window in Schleswig, Germany. He told me it's a 200 or more years old violin from Mittenwald. I asked why the maker didn't use flamed wood for the neck when the body seems to be of rather nice wood and he said that it was probably made by another person than the body like some sort of production line, just like the trade instruments. After staring at it in admiration ever since I purchased it, I've formed a theory that the neck might actually be made later instead of a neck graft. I think there is lots of attention to detail in the body, but not so much in the neck, and the combination seems weird to me. However, I don't have much experience, so I would love if someone could help me identify it. I have taken pictures with my phone, and I've observed a few details: The fingerboard seems to have been too low on this neck and have been lifted with a thin, angled piece of maple. Is that normal? The fingerboard has grooves from the strings The upper right corner where the left hand might rest is weared down a lot so it has a curve down and is even cracked along the purfling. The back has marks after having a chin rest mounted for both a right- and left handed player. Maybe it's been a student violin and used by many people? However, it only has marks in the c-bout on the treble side. It has been repaired in five cracks in the top and one in the side. The stamp on the inside looks a lot like the one of Christian Wilhelm Seidel, but especially the d is not as swung. I can't find anything anywhere matching this font. Does anybody recognize this branding? I can't upload my photos from my phone, so they're on Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B0fyVNePhekSc2hsa2xxT3pTSWM My last question is one that I know has been asked too often: It's horribly firty with rosin buildup etc, how should I clean it? I've done my best with a damp cloth, but it's not really enough. I've heard turpentine should be safe on rosin varnishes (this should be dragon blood according to the seller), and it seems to work, but I don't really like how hard the turpentine itself is to get off the surface. I'm not asking how I should clean my instrument casually, but how I should do if I want to be the amateur luthier who enjoys making old stuff play again. Lastly, of course I won't do anything stupid to a really good instrument while I'm still learning, and it will under any circumstanced be taken to my luthier when I get home before I touch it. Sorry for the long post, but I hope someone out there can help me. - Tobias :-)