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nick60

Violin Neck Varnish Yes Or No

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My luthier says the the back of a violin neck should have no varnish. I taked to another luthier and he say it must have a finish. I personally dont care for the for a gloss finish I have sweaty hands the tend to stick to the neck. I have always deglossed my necks with 0000 steel wool.

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Traditionally the violin neck is not varnished. I did varnish some of my early necks and did not find it a problem but then I'm not really a player. It is nice though to get the neck colour similar to that of the rest of the violin. Some new violins look unfinished to me when they are left white. One could use a water stain and maybe even french polish the neck.

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As a matter of fact it has a finish, but it's not the same used in the rest of the violin. I finish the neck and leave it uncoated for some time, till it gets a colour from my hands dirt, than I apply some oil and shellac to it (French polishing). What I really don't like is the white, bare wood colour I see in some necks.

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I did one last night: polished the bare wood fairly well, then stained it with very strong coffee; dried it with a paper towel, and began re-polishing the now raised grain, using progressively finer micromesh (3600, 6000, 12000), until it looked as though it had been freshly waxed.

I then rubbed in a coat of the "neck stain" I got years ago from International Luthiers Supply, and the grain glowed with a beautiful tan sheen, showing off the flame in the neck. The feel is silky, not at all slick, as in varnish, but a clean, old, polished wood feel. I have frequently used this stain, but have never polished it so thoroughly in the past. I am more pleased with this one than any I have ever done before.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
nick60

I personally dont care for the for a gloss finish I have sweaty hands the tend to stick to the neck.

As a player, and speaking just for myself, I agree with you. My hands aren't that sweaty and I still don't like varnished or French polished necks, because they are sticky. They slow down shifts. Of the 4 instrument I regularly play on, one of them has a French polished neck with a French polish so durable that it might as well be varnish. Every time I play that instrument I note how it is a bit more difficult getting around on that neck compared to the other fiddles because of the adhesion between hand and fiddle neck.

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Hazel nut oil gives a nice finish that is very comfortable for shifting. The underlying wood can be scraped or finished with finest steel wool then rubbed with half a fresh nut. I suppose other light nut oils like almond would do the same.

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I use a potassium permanganate* solution on my necks. It really

brings out the flame in the wood. But the best characteristic is

that the effect can be lightened to almost any shade by rubbing the

neck with fine steel wool. I then french polish the neck to protect

it from hand oil but just enough so the player thinks the neck has

no finish.

*All applicable safety warnings apply.

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Hi All,

As a player I find necks with varnish to impede my playing. Just too sticky.

An unvarnished neck with years of playing and of absorbing hand oils is indeed a delight. Please no varnish on my violin necks and I don't care what they look like. Playability comes first!

Busker

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A shiny finish will make the neck feel sticky....a light oil finish is best as this leaves some porousity on the wood surface eliminating the suction effect one gets from damp skin on a shiny surface.

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Tung oil works well. It seals the neck and aloows some protection with out getting sticky. After it dries just buff it with "0000" and it is very slick. A lot of classical guitar players prefer this method.

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I have always taken the gloss of my Basses and my guitars. I have a Scott Cao 850 DaSalo and I took 0000 steel wool and took the gloss off which happened to remove most of the varnish. It plays much better and I am sure some of the varnish soaked into the wood ans should keep it sealed up.

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