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Hello MN - I am hoping you can help me with something. On the violin I have played for the past 15 years, there is a patch of worn varnish under the chinrest. This is located to the left of the end button and to the side of the chinrest brackets. It looks like a patch of varnish with a thick crackle with the veins of the crackle looking gray. I figured it was just wear from sweat and neck chub, haha. That was a student level violin with a thick, chippy, and red varnish to it. I recently got a new to me violin and after only playing it a few times already noticed wear in the same spot. Only on this instrument it appears as a patch of fuzzy/textured varnish that feels tacky to the touch. The leftmost chinrest bracket also is no longer shiny but matte black. It's a vintage instrument. I tried to capture it in photos but had trouble. I am still in the stages of really babying my new violin baby, and I personally feel that authentic wear on instruments is really interesting and adds to their story. BUT with that being said I do not want to damage the integrity of my violin, depreciate it's value, ruin that patch of varnish and wood any further, or create a costly repair. I'm probably overacting but I live by the "dose of prevention" motto. Is this something I should be super concerned about? Is there a way for me to clean that patch of varnish to smooth it out and harden it up again? Is there something in my perfume, makeup, lotions that could be causing this reaction with the varnish??? I'd like to know so I can be aware of that product and wash it off if need be Maybe it's just something with my skin... I've noticed that plated jewelry seems to change color quickly for me and I have really oily skin in general. I don't want to cover the chinrest and back with a cloth because it makes rhe violin feel too precarious. Any products I should look into to protect that part of the instrument? Thanks in advance for your help!
In "varnish world" there are 3 topics which will generate never ending discussion: wear, dirt, and crackling. So let's discuss wear. I agree with Roger's statement, via Charles Beare and others, that the classic Cremonese varnish likely wore quite quickly and in a particular way, early in its life time. This is also true of the lack of wear [durability] of the classic ground. Other varnishes...the "Amati" varnish, Venetian varnishes, French varnish have different life cycles. The same is true with contemporary varnishes. Fulton, Michaelman, baltic amber, etc. each have different properties. The need for protection of the instrument is different than that of antique instruments when they were constructed. In my experience it stands that the color varnishes are more tender than the non-colored ones. The making is very different. In contemporary varnish, one can control the "wear-ability" of the surface and its appearance by making informed decisions. herewego, Joe