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Hi all, I have an old violin (1800s), probably Hungarian, of unknown maker (no label). Sometimes, after a long playing session or when the weather is hot, I sweat, which comes into contact with the rib of the violin, right under the chinrest. The varnish in this area I can tell has suffered over time, as it is muddled and pitted. The problem is when I sweat the varnish turns a cloudy white. The first time this happened it mostly went away by itself after a hour or so. The second time it happened it persisted for days, till I took a hairdryer to it (heating the old varnish cleared the clouding). Since then I have been using a cotton cloth between my neck and the violin, to absorb the moisture while playing. Unfortunately this removes the grip I have between chin and chinrest, making it harder for me to play. Are there any suggestions on what I could do to protect this section of the varnish? Or if I need a luthier, what should I expect of him to do? thanks
The cello is a nice Caressa and Francais. The player is extremely meticulous about the varnish surface. When the varnish becomes dull at the shoulder and on the upper back he is a sort of freaking out. 2 weeks ago I tried to fix the problem with brushing on the affected area a thin layer of clear varnish and let it dry for 1 week to make sure that it hardens out sufficiently. the player is not too enthusiastic about a protecting plastic sheet on that area. i am not too enthusiastic about some commercial durable varnish (for boats), because I don't know how reversible it is. I am almost thinking of a breast rest (similar to a violin shoulder rest) to solve the problem. Anyone here on MN had the same problem?
with occasional edits: Violin makers today are showing increased interest in the longevity of their instruments. How might photochemistry be used to extend the longevity of all stringed instruments? Very stimulating is this MN contribution of ten years ago by GlennYorkPA: http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/250548-sun-tanning/page-2#entry250694 To kick off the discussion, we already know that Chlorophyll played a catalytic role in Cremonese wood finishing. (The established heavy presence in many master violins of magnesium, which is located at the center of the Chlorophyll molecule, confirms that the Cremonese used Chlorophyll catalytically.) Chlorophyll's role is to facilitate the absorption and transfer of light energy; through resonance phenomena it promotes electron transfer for chemical changes. For many years the master finisher at the Louvre, George Frank used Chlorophyll-based photochemistry in tandem with various phytochemicals (obtained from his garden) in order to beautify the surface of the wood by, for example, accentuating the wood's figure. George thereby achieved, at least to some degree, the obvious goal of EMBELLISHING the wood. But he went on to formulate PROTECTION of the wood as the other major goal for all finishers. Said he, "There are only two reasons for finishing wood: to protect it and to embellish it." George was not thinking primarily about biocidal issues. What is so interesting to me is that by his going after the PROTECTION goal as well, he succeeded magnificently in going the entire distance with his EMBELLISHMENT goal. His thinking went like this - if photochemical transformations at the surface work to embellish the wood, couldn't the same photochemistry work within the wood's interior to protect it against chemical deterioration and structural breakdown? I am convinced that the use of an incredibly dynamic photochemical procedure for protecting the wood's interior is imperative if one is to attain violin perfection. Using more technical language, we might frame the issue roughly like this: How can we photochemically “electrocute” the wood (apply jolts of electrons to the wood), thereby to harden or stiffen it (because this gifts plate tuners with new acoustical possibilities), via chemical transformations of the wood's various materials (resulting in new structural integrity) that, in sum, extend the longevity of the instrument? Am clearly THINKING the two-recipe Chlorophyll-based method is just so laughably simple! Having developed a few specifics, then, I did not want to delay introducing the problem, summarizing here the goals we face as finishers and alluding to the accompanying set of technical issues. I am soliciting not only the collective wisdom of the forum as to general approach, but your technical suggestions and ideas. Since I'm new here, I expect you'll be able to PM me in a few days. Because it is just so incredibly wide open, I believe that this area of endeavor - photochemically completed reactions that involve phytochemicals both at the surface and deep within the wood's interior - merits active critical discussion and future research by the entire MN community. I am much indebted to my teacher George Frank, and my appreciation goes to all of the masters in MN who share of their work to nurture the community. NewPOV