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Your cannot buy per say, you have to buy the ingredients and mix it yourself. so here they are;

1 part distilled water

1 part medicinal turpentine oil

1/2 part kamphor oil

1 part kamphor spirit

1/2 parafin oil

Put them in a bottle and shake it all about!

You can clean the violin family, bows, and can give the bridge a slight treatment with it. Plus Dr. Dralles Birkenwasser will not affect your finish! It smells wonderful to! Put a little on a clean cloth and give the instrument a wipe.

This isn't really directed to you fiddling, but if other people use this don't clean your violin with it everyday!

But please, please be careful in your restoration of the bow. It take time to work that caked rosin off. Be paitent, proceed slowly. Whichever treatment you chose use it in moderation!



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I have heard of Dr.Dralles Birkenwasser as an odoriferous hair tonic/hair pomade that has achieved joke status. Is Toad is playing games with you?

On the other hand, those aromatic oils do have a reputation for being efficacious as cleaners.

There must be something simpler and less smelly! On previous threads there has been strong recomendation for a product called "Goo Gone". I don't know where it can be obtained though.

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I have a bottle of Goo Gone, and use it for cleaning strings only. It contains a petroleum distillate and thus I would be very cautious about using it on any wood finish. I think you can get it in hardward stores, K-Mart, and lots of other places.


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I know it sounds rediculious, but yes Dr. Dralles Birkenwasser actually works!

When my instructor first showed it to me I wasn't quite sure what it was, and OH THAT SMELL. Then when he told me the name I laughed and laughed, almost cried. I had an old Russian vioin that had been polished for a long time with commercial cremes, then left to sit in a closet for 30 years, not good in my book. Well, this stuff took it off, you need some of elbow grease though!

It really takes alot of rubbing to get the old rosin off. This stuff is not a silver bullet and it takes some time, everything does. If you use it make sure you throughly wipe the instrument/bow down after words, heavy cleaning can leave alot of the oil behind and that isn't wonderful either.

So clean with one cloth, changing occansionaly, then wipe up with a totaly clean one to get rid of any access oils.

I know it sounds strange, but it's true. As alwyas, test it somewhere unnoticiable first making sure it doesn't damage the finish. And as Oldbear noted you can give you head a little treatment too, get the slicked Elvis look happening, though seeing s it takes rosin off of things I am not to apt to rubbing it on my head!

Furthermore, use the exact ingredients! It has to be medcinal turperntine oil, it would be best to go splits on the mixture as I am sure some if not all are expensive. I can try to get the cost for you here and then do the conversion.

And as always, if you don't know what your doing don't do it! Ask or take it to someone who does know!

I won't give the little speech about cleaning your instrument as soon as you have finished playing though becasue we all know that one and are just cleaning Ebay junkers!

Now saying that I have just opened myself up to all of the violin makers on the board who can now duly tell me there theories as why it isn't good to use Dr. Dralles Birkenwasser. It will blah, blah, blah, what about blah, blah, etc...ad nauesum, fire away.

If you think this is strange I know of a shop in London that cleans its instruments will Olive Oil, some special medicinal kind though, so don't go running to your cupboards.

Happy Cleaning


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I use mineral spirits for cleaning bows and bow hair. It works very well and I have never had any problems with it affecting finishes. It should be used in a well ventilated space. Rosin is very soluble in it, but varnish or shellac are not. When it dries it is odorless and leaves no residue. It works very well for rejuvinating bow hair by removing the built-up rosin. I have also used it with good success to remove rosin and grime that has built up on instruments.

Chemically speaking, unlike alcohols or similar solvents, it is not a very polar solvent and so will not affect varnish. It can be bought in most hardware stores, don't confuse it with turpentine spirits which are oily in nature.


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I've been using burnishing compound for the better part of 50 years. No problems. This is used as the last step in giving your re-spray job on your car that "as-new" look.

Just take a plastic 35mm film canister to the nearest car re-spray shop and explain why you want a couple of teaspoons of the stuff. They'll probably be only pleased to fill it for you.

Dab a bit on a yellow duster and rub the rosin build up away. Be careful to keep the compound away from the hair as it contains oil. Finish by vigourously rubbing the entire stick with a clean corner of the duster and that's it.

Then - remember to wipe away all rosin and sweaty finger marks off the stick before you put the bow to rest - everytime!

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