Rue

Cleaning your violin

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One of the joys of working in different countries, is that everything is called something different. This is just as true for a German, moving to Austria, where even many of the vegetables have different names, as it would be for an Englishman moving to America, where it is about time that they think up their own name for the language that they use.

 

Parafinöl (öl = oil) was called Vasalinöl when I worked in Germany, and is used for instance as a thickener in ointments. I have been told on a previous occasion that the Americans call it “mineral oil”, although I would prefer to defer to Franciscus there, since I believe he teaches that stuff in a University. Mr. Burgess need not worry about using it on his violins, since he could massage it into his bum if he wanted.

 

@ Brad;

An Apotheker (m) is a man who has studied pharmacy at university

An Apothekerin (f) a lady who has done the same

An Apotheke (f) a chemist's shop, (American, according to my dictionary) pharmacy or drug store.

 

From my own experience, these are called “dispensing Chemist” in England, and are a corner of a supermarket/drug store, where the girl behind the counter has precious little clue about anything. In Austria they are specialised shops, with university trained personal, who know everything you might want to ask about drugs and/or chemicals. This is where you go to collect any drugs a medical doctor might have prescribed.

 

@ Violadamore;
Spirit or oil varnished makes no difference. The only varnish where I would (no longer!) use it, are the early ones of my father, who then used the “Michaelman” varnish (although I believe that the water is the problematic ingredient there). When using it on a rag, one should always keep the rag in movement, since if you press the stationary rag onto the fiddle, you can get a slight rag imprint.

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7 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

One of the joys of working in different countries, is that everything is called something different. This is just as true for a German, moving to Austria, where even many of the vegetables have different names, as it would be for an Englishman moving to America, where it is about time that they think up their own name for the language that they use.

 

Parafinöl (öl = oil) was called Vasalinöl when I worked in Germany, and is used for instance as a thickener in ointments. I have been told on a previous occasion that the Americans call it “mineral oil”, although I would prefer to defer to Franciscus there, since I believe he teaches that stuff in a University. Mr. Burgess need not worry about using it on his violins, since he could massage it into his bum if he wanted.

 

@ Brad;

An Apotheker (m) is a man who has studied pharmacy at university

An Apothekerin (f) a lady who has done the same

An Apotheke (f) a chemist's shop, (American, according to my dictionary) pharmacy or drug store.

 

From my own experience, these are called “dispensing Chemist” in England, and are a corner of a supermarket/drug store, where the girl behind the counter has precious little clue about anything. In Austria they are specialised shops, with university trained personal, who know everything you might want to ask about drugs and/or chemicals. This is where you go to collect any drugs a medical doctor might have prescribed.

 

@ Violadamore;
Spirit or oil varnished makes no difference. The only varnish where I would (no longer!) use it, are the early ones of my father, who then used the “Michaelman” varnish (although I believe that the water is the problematic ingredient there). When using it on a rag, one should always keep the rag in movement, since if you press the stationary rag onto the fiddle, you can get a slight rag imprint.

Okay, translated into American from the original after going through all of the explanations carefully,

Equal parts by volume of :

water,

1 part camphor (by volume) dissolved in 9 parts 140 proof Everclear (or probably ordinary 70% rubbing alcohol, for operational  purposes), whatever you care to call it,

Turpentine (that really smells like a pine tree), and

Vaseline.

The other US readers satisfied with that for accuracy? :)

 

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5 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

1 part camphor (by volume)

It is not my recipe, but I have to say that the measuring the crude materials by volume is not very scientific :) Spirit of camphor = 11 grams of camphor in 100 ml of 96% ethanol. Vaseline is not the same thing as a vaselinöl.  

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26 minutes ago, franciscus said:

It is not my recipe, but I have to say that the measuring the crude materials by volume is not very scientific :) Spirit of camphor = 11 grams of camphor in 100 ml of 96% ethanol. Vaseline is not the same thing as a vaselinöl.  

Jacob has fudge factors like so much water added to the particular compounding of camphor/alcohol mixture in his recipe, making it come out to what I said.  By its physical properties, Jacob describes Vaseline, not a petroleum liquid.  I tried to make this easy for folks whose primary source of first aid and craft supplies is Wal-Mart, or something similar.  I've just tossed some camphorwood shavings (of which I have plenty) in alcohol, and I'll let you know what I think in a week or so.

I'm not at all certain this stuff would be good for all violins, but Addie is right about its similarity to horse liniment. It smells good, too. ^_^

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With "Vaseline" it's more likely for chicken doctoring.  Rub on wattles and comb. 

81snQLoCrGL._SL1500_.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Jacob has fudge factors like so much water added to the particular compounding of camphor/alcohol mixture in his recipe, making it come out to what I said.  By its physical properties, Jacob describes Vaseline, not a petroleum liquid.

I'm not at all certain this stuff would be good for all violins, but Addie is right about its similarity to horse liniment. It smells good, too. ^_^

Oh, now. in the original recipe, the "spirit of campher" does not contain any water. The "paraffin oil" is oily (liquid) mixture of various iso-alkanes (iso-paraffines) of about 14-30 C atoms in the chain. The Vaseline is similar regarding the contents, but contains more alkanes with more than 30 C atoms in its structure ant it is more like the cream. I use that polish regularly and the key is in the procedure described by the owner of the recipe - Jacob Saunders. It is not "fool-proof", which means that it can dissolve the varnish (and it does that), but you have to control that activity and drive it to your target.

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40 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Jacob has fudge factors like.....

If you go back and read it, there are 4 ingredients. I have an old olive oil bottle with 4 lines on, ca. every 2,5cm. I insert a funnel into the bottle, pour each ingredient up to its respective line, replace the screw lid, and shake it up. Hey presto.

 

Where is the „fudge“ please?

 

Perhaps Franziscus knows the names of everything in Latin, so that one could work out the US cant fom that

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9 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Mr. Burgess need not worry about using it on his violins, since he could massage it into his bum if he wanted.

Thanks for the suggestion. I am now a very happy man, despite the alcohol content giving a bit of a temporary burning sensation. :)

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Just now, jacobsaunders said:

If you go back and read it, there are 4 ingredients. I have an old olive oil bottle with 4 lines on, ca. every 2,5cm. I insert a funnel into the bottle, pour each ingredient up to its respective line, replace the screw lid, and shake it up. Hey presto.

 

Where is the „fudge“ please?

I got it from here:

"Not being a chemist, in any respect, I wasn’t expecting any confusion on this. Here you just go to the Apotheke (apothecary) and ask for Parafinöl (some say Vasalineöl), which I had presumed would be called Parafin oil in English The official EU terminilogy is apparently “Paraffinum Liquidum” or here: http://www.tech-faq.com/paraffinum-liquidum.html

Spirit of Campher says “Solutio Camphorae Spirituosa” on the bottle, and is an etherische oil. The campher content is 10,2% and is apparently, according to the dictionary, 1 part campher 7 parts spirit and 2 parts water.

Terpentinöl says “Aetheroleum Terebinthinae Rectificatum” on the bottle, or here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turpentine

I guess American taps have water in them"

The emphasis is mine.   The words are yours.  Franciscus linked to the thread in a previous post. :)

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Simple Green. Works great to clean old dirt and rosin residue where distilled water won't. Test it first. DO NOT SPRAY ON THE INSTRUMENT.

Here is the result on an old Mittenwald violin that hadn't been touched or cleaned in decades. Cleaned one small area at a time. I rubbed the area with a microfiber cloth sprayed with undiluted simple green, wiped with a microfiber cloth dampened with distilled water, and then wiped dry with a dry microfiber cloth. It worked great! See the Before and After below:

 

before_after.jpg

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2 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

I got it from here:

"Not being a chemist, in any respect, I wasn’t expecting any confusion on this. Here you just go to the Apotheke (apothecary) and ask for Parafinöl (some say Vasalineöl), which I had presumed would be called Parafin oil in English The official EU terminilogy is apparently “Paraffinum Liquidum” or here: http://www.tech-faq.com/paraffinum-liquidum.html

Spirit of Campher says “Solutio Camphorae Spirituosa” on the bottle, and is an etherische oil. The campher content is 10,2% and is apparently, according to the dictionary, 1 part campher 7 parts spirit and 2 parts water.

Terpentinöl says “Aetheroleum Terebinthinae Rectificatum” on the bottle, or here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turpentine

I guess American taps have water in them"

The emphasis is mine.   The words are yours.  Franciscus linked to the thread in a previous post. :)

Yeah, what's the Problem. If you ever do Schweinsbraten, I hope I am not anywhere close;)

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6 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Thanks for the suggestion. I am now a very happy man, despite the alcohol content giving a bit of a burning sensation. :)

Alcohol Content?

Anyway, I appologise, it is none of my business what you rub in where

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10 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Simple Green. Works great to clean old dirt and rosin residue where distilled water won't. Test it first. DO NOT SPRAY ON THE INSTRUMENT.

Here is the result on an old Mittenwald violin that hadn't been touched or cleaned in decades. Cleaned one small area at a time. I rubbed the area with a microfiber cloth sprayed with undiluted simple green, wiped with a microfiber cloth dampened with distilled water, and then wiped dry with a dry microfiber cloth. It worked great! See the Before and After below:

 

before_after.jpg

You were lucky!

 

Simple Green will soften certain varnishes (think Roth...) and it will not re-harden. It's been 20 years and I still remember that day...week...month...still soft.

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4 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Yeah, what's the Problem. If you ever do Schweinsbraten, I hope I am not anywhere close;)

I described the "Spirit of Campher" in terms of making it from scratch using pure camphor and hydrous alcohol to match the dictionary definition you gave.  All ordinary alcohol that hasn't been dehydrated in some fashion tops out around 30% water, and will give approximately the assay described when one cc or gram of camphor is dissolved in 9 cc of hydrous alcohol..  Exact accuracy here isn't a big deal.

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3 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Exact accuracy here isn't a big deal.

Of course. Spirit of camphor is still, by definition, 11 grams of camphor in 100 ml of 96% ethanol. If you have the ethanol with some of the water in it, then you use what you have and add a little bit less water, or ignore that difference, it's up to you. But, regarding the Vaseline, you cannot use it instead of vaselineöl, because it is not the same thing. What you need here is the thing that you can buy in apothecary (pharmacy, drug store) and it is usually serves as an intestinal lubricant. The light grade serves in enology, as a sealer between the wine in tanks and the air

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24 minutes ago, franciscus said:

Of course. Spirit of camphor is still, by definition, 11 grams of camphor in 100 ml of 96% ethanol. If you have the ethanol with some of the water in it, then you use what you have and add a little bit less water, or ignore that difference, it's up to you. But, regarding the Vaseline, you cannot use it instead of vaselineöl, because it is not the same thing. What you need here is the thing that you can buy in apothecary (pharmacy, drug store) and it is usually serves as an intestinal lubricant. The light grade serves in enology, as a sealer between the wine in tanks and the air

Whatever.  I suspect that any differences, given Jacob's reference to the "parrafin" being used in compounding ointments, will be too minor to matter.  The major confusion is because there isn't a consistent international formulary used by the suppliers of the discount stores of the World, and who wants to order overpriced reagents from a laboratory supplier for making something like this?  Flying to Vienna to use Jacob's corner drugstore instead, might be fun, but also expensive. :)

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OK, here it is, according to the British Pharmacopoeia: mineral oil: Paraffinum Liquidum; spirit: Spiritus Camphorae (syn. Tincturea Camphorae)

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20 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

 Jacob's corner drugstore instead, might be fun, but also expensive. :)

It doesn’t cost me anything to put my coat on, and walk accross the street. I am sorry, I hadn’t realised that Florida is such a wasteland. What do you do in America if you need medication? Look on eBay?

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1 hour ago, duane88 said:

You were lucky!

Simple Green will soften certain varnishes (think Roth...) and it will not re-harden. It's been 20 years and I still remember that day...week...month...still soft.

Well, I tested it first. I had read about Simple Green from other MN posters in old threads who also had good experiences with it. It certainly is a much milder solvent than some of the mixtures that I am reading about on this thread!

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Whatever. :)  [Goes back to polishing violins with a damp towel.].

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21 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

It doesn’t cost me anything to put my coat on, and walk accross the street. I am sorry, I hadn’t realised that Florida is such a wasteland. What do you do in America if you need medication? Look on eBay?

I'm conjuring up an image of VdA holding the reins of a pair of alligators, with one foot on the back of each, and a shopping basket under her arm...

crocodile-smiley.gif?1292867577

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Now we need a picture! :D

Okay..so we are back to medicinal  mineral oil. I will put away the lamp oil.

Man! I am very glad I haven't needed to do a heavy duty cleaning (yet).

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2 minutes ago, Rue said:

Man! I am very glad I haven't needed to do a heavy duty cleaning yet).

Because you are not involved in resurrection business  

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2 hours ago, franciscus said:

Because you are not involved in resurrection business  

Now that's getting into minimally invasive finish restoration, a whole different discussion, and one involving actively manipulating the finish.  It's also.more art than science.  IMHO, non-repairing players getting rosin and other minor crud off their violins shouldn't go there, and neither should we in a thread about "Cleaning your violin" aimed at those players. :)

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