epe913

Varnish wear from neck contact/makeup?

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epe913   

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! 

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I'll inch out on this limb to test its strength if you'll keep an ear open for the sound of a saw behind me.

So many factors could be at play here.  You noted the mechanical difference in the varnishes on the two instruments -- mechanical meaning how they act in response to heat, chemical exposure, etc.

One step toward figuring out what might be contributing that is separate from the varnish itself: do you find any unusual wear on your bow around the thumb leather?  You can probably rule out perfume and body lotions since those are more likely to be on your neck.  Though if you have body lotion on your bow hand from applying it elsewhere, that can't be ruled out.  Where I am headed, albeit circuitously, is that some folks' sweat is unusually corrosive.  Even to the point of wearing down the wood on the bow to the point of requiring restoration work.  That breed of sweat surely would have some effect on varnish if there is repeated contact over an extended period.

That said, I am not a chemist -- though I do play one on TV.

There are plenty of folks here with loads of conservation and restoration experience on whom I am  counting to weigh in.  I wouldn't presume to enter the room that houses their considerable knowledge and experience, though you can be sure I will be peering through the window to learn plenty.

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Some people have been known to cover those areas, and also the upper treble bout rib, with clear contact plastic(shelf liner) to protect the varnish from corrosive sweat.

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epe913   
39 minutes ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

One step toward figuring out what might be contributing that is separate from the varnish itself: do you find any unusual wear on your bow around the thumb leather?  You can probably rule out perfume and body lotions since those are more likely to be on your neck.  Though if you have body lotion on your bow hand from applying it elsewhere, that can't be ruled out.  Where I am headed, albeit circuitously, is that some folks' sweat is unusually corrosive.  Even to the point of wearing down the wood on the bow to the point of requiring restoration work.  That breed of sweat surely would have some effect on varnish if there is repeated contact over an extended period.

Great idea!!! Nothing unusual with the wood on my bows or bow grips. Only problem was a "wood grain" carbon fiber bow where the wood grain on the stick above the frog started to bubble and peel. I chalked that up to it being "wrapped" kinda to look like wood and just hand sweat and poor workmanship. No issues with actual wood bows. I also wash my hands very frequently in general. 

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epe913   
22 minutes ago, FiddleDoug said:

Some people have been known to cover those areas, and also the upper treble bout rib, with clear contact plastic(shelf liner) to protect the varnish from corrosive sweat.

I haven't noticed anything on the treble bouts ever aside from typical wearing off of some varnish. No crackling or sticky fuzziness like by the chinrest. That is a great idea!!! I don't like the look or feel of those fabric covers you can buy online and that is a solution. Do they use adhesive or non adhesive kind? Assuming nonadhesive, so how does it stay on and not flap around? Cut it just enough to protect and sandwich under chinrest brackets? I'm waiting to see what other solutions pop up here but I'm seriously considering that as it's a great way to protect but keep aesthetics and comfort. 

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epe913   
46 minutes ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

That breed of sweat surely would have some effect on varnish if there is repeated contact over an extended period.

Assuming that time was at play with my old violin. What's concerning about my new violin is it's much valuable nature and the fact that this popped up after just three days of short practice sessions. Must be potent sweat! Hahaha!!! :P Looking to get ahead of it now while it's barely noticeable/just starting vs waiting to see what happens in a few months... a year... this much damage (ok not that much, just bumpy and tacky about the surface area of a quarter) in three days is kind of alarming to me. 

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I wonder what the more experienced folks here would say about the fact that the area around the chinrest on the bass side of the end button is the only place you are having this tackinesss/fuzziness issue.  Makes me wonder whether that area is more recent varnish -- maybe something done in a less-than-optimal restoration effort.  The fuzziness seems to me to make sense since that is the only place likely to contact your clothing.  But it's the tackiness that is attracting and holding the fuzz.

So, now -- by my primitive powers of deduction -- we are back to a) something on your neck (lotion, perfume) and/or "b" something about that patch of varnish.  Pictures always are a poor substitute for seeing the instrument in person, but they don't show any obvious rib repair which might have required major attention to the varnish.  If the varnish in that area is the same as the varnish on the upper treble bout and you are not seeing this problem up there, we are back to something in your clothing or on the skin of your neck. (With the caveat that the exposure in the chinrest area is more constant than in the upper treble bout.)

Doug, or any of the other experts here, is it worth looking at the contents of any perfumes and lotions to see if something obvious jumps out which, if avoided, might allow the varnish to stabilize and then a qualified restorer could de-fuzz the area for her?

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Will L   

From the picture, I wouldn't worry about what little damage has been done, but I would worry that it seems to be happening fast and you don't want it to get worse.

Almost all violins eventually get softened and worn down there as well as where the hand comes in contact.  Some violins have more tender varnish and some players have something in their sweat which causes more damage to violins. (I once loaned a violin to a player for just a day and the neck hasn't been the same since!  :))

One famous maker, Franz Kinberg, put a protective thin sheet of plastic (I suppose it was plastic) on every violin he made.  Maybe someone from the Chicago area will chime in and tell you what it is.  I know it is harmless, easy to apply,  and I suppose you can still buy it.  This is what I would recommend doing.

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17 hours ago, epe913 said:

I haven't noticed anything on the treble bouts ever aside from typical wearing off of some varnish. No crackling or sticky fuzziness like by the chinrest. That is a great idea!!! I don't like the look or feel of those fabric covers you can buy online and that is a solution. Do they use adhesive or non adhesive kind? Assuming nonadhesive, so how does it stay on and not flap around? Cut it just enough to protect and sandwich under chinrest brackets? I'm waiting to see what other solutions pop up here but I'm seriously considering that as it's a great way to protect but keep aesthetics and comfort. 

 

The shelf liner or other plastic material that is used for this is the stick on type. If you go to someone who regularly deals with fine violin restoration they will have a material that they have tested which can be removed with the help of non-destructive chemicals when needed

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epe913   
On 6/18/2017 at 8:27 AM, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

Makes me wonder whether that area is more recent varnish -- maybe something done in a less-than-optimal restoration effort.  The fuzziness seems to me to make sense since that is the only place likely to contact your clothing.  But it's the tackiness that is attracting and holding the fuzz.

So, now -- by my primitive powers of deduction -- we are back to a) something on your neck (lotion, perfume) and/or "b" something about that patch of varnish.  Pictures always are a poor substitute for seeing the instrument in person, but they don't show any obvious rib repair which might have required major attention to the varnish.  

 

I know it was restored because it was rescued from an estate sale and I know what major work was done to it.  The varnish overall shows nice antiquing (110 year old violin) and it still has a nice shine to it.  Not sure if anything was done with the varnish.  I suppose I could email and ask, but I am reluctant to start asking too many questions right after purchasing because the shop was really generous to me and I love the violin and I don't want to be too grumpy about a small patch of varnish reacting with something on my neck.  It was also in their shop for two years before I bought it, so assuming it had plenty of time to cure in there.  After some more research, I might set it that end in a sunny window for a few hours to see if I can get it to harden up some at home?  It really is quite tacky feeling and I don't want to get too much neck grime stuck into it, haha.  I played it a lot obviously trialing it, but didn't notice the tackiness starting to happen until I got home and played it daily and had the time to sit down and really look at it in detail to familiarize myself with it and establish a baseline so I can watch for problems.  

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epe913   
On 6/18/2017 at 8:38 AM, Will L said:

From the picture, I wouldn't worry about what little damage has been done, but I would worry that it seems to be happening fast and you don't want it to get worse.

Almost all violins eventually get softened and worn down there as well as where the hand comes in contact.  Some violins have more tender varnish and some players have something in their sweat which causes more damage to violins. (I once loaned a violin to a player for just a day and the neck hasn't been the same since!  :))

One famous maker, Franz Kinberg, put a protective thin sheet of plastic (I suppose it was plastic) on every violin he made.  Maybe someone from the Chicago area will chime in and tell you what it is.  I know it is harmless, easy to apply,  and I suppose you can still buy it.  This is what I would recommend doing.

Exactly.  

I am intrigued by the plastic suggestion.  I also suffer from skin problems, and having the plastic on there might also allow me to carefully wipe the plastic off to clean/sanitize it and prevent some violin hickey/neck/skin issues I have.  The problem is that I live 3 hours from any good luthier, requiring a lot of coordination to get repairs.  I can't just buzz by and say "hey look at what's happening let's get ahead of it."  I also used up all of my time off work during the purchasing process, haha. :(  Next time I am in for repairs I will definitely ask ahead about the plastic and hopefully they can install some.  But for now, I might rig up a temporary solution using non-adhesive plastic that I can get in a small sheet in the scrapbook paper aisle or fabric aisle locally and then cut it to fit holding it on sandwiched between my chinrest brackets and with a hole cut for the end button.  It will probably flap around on the left side a bit when it is not under my chin, but it will put my mind at ease that I at least have a barrier there until I can get to a luthier.    

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Rue   

You could also experiment by not using any products before you play to see if a product is the issue.

i.e. shower - practice - then apply product if required. Repeat as necessary.^_^

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3 hours ago, epe913 said:

Exactly.  

I am intrigued by the plastic suggestion.  I also suffer from skin problems, and having the plastic on there might also allow me to carefully wipe the plastic off to clean/sanitize it and prevent some violin hickey/neck/skin issues I have.  The problem is that I live 3 hours from any good luthier, requiring a lot of coordination to get repairs.  I can't just buzz by and say "hey look at what's happening let's get ahead of it."  I also used up all of my time off work during the purchasing process, haha. :(  Next time I am in for repairs I will definitely ask ahead about the plastic and hopefully they can install some.  But for now, I might rig up a temporary solution using non-adhesive plastic that I can get in a small sheet in the scrapbook paper aisle or fabric aisle locally and then cut it to fit holding it on sandwiched between my chinrest brackets and with a hole cut for the end button.  It will probably flap around on the left side a bit when it is not under my chin, but it will put my mind at ease that I at least have a barrier there until I can get to a luthier.    

I know this doesn't help solve the problem, but I am aiming to keep you from compounding the current problem.  there is no telling what is in the plastic sheet you are describing and therefore how it might react with the varnish and its ingredients which also are unknown to us.  Maybe the tape that shops use is pretty generic and someone here can confirm that.  But the point is, it is a known quantity.  If you need to do this yourself, I recommend at least you use the same material that shops use.  

Another observation: not all shops would respond in this way, but the good ones want to maintain a good relationship with the player just as you want to maintain it with them.  Calling them and asking them if there is anything you can do provisionally until you make your next trip to their shop for adjustments, etc. needn't sound like a complaint.  In fact, you can even say, "Since I'm sure you are going to be helping me care for this wonderful instrument for a long time, I didn't want to do anything about this that would make it harder for you to fix it later.  What can I do in the short term?"  In all likelihood, there is more where the generosity you already have experienced came from.

I hope you take all this in the spirit in which it is intended which is to be helpful, not to lecture.

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epe913   
19 minutes ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

I know this doesn't help solve the problem, but I am aiming to keep you from compounding the current problem.  there is no telling what is in the plastic sheet you are describing and therefore how it might react with the varnish and its ingredients which also are unknown to us.  Maybe the tape that shops use is pretty generic and someone here can confirm that.  But the point is, it is a known quantity.  If you need to do this yourself, I recommend at least you use the same material that shops use.  

Another observation: not all shops would respond in this way, but the good ones want to maintain a good relationship with the player just as you want to maintain it with them.  Calling them and asking them if there is anything you can do provisionally until you make your next trip to their shop for adjustments, etc. needn't sound like a complaint.  In fact, you can even say, "Since I'm sure you are going to be helping me care for this wonderful instrument for a long time, I didn't want to do anything about this that would make it harder for you to fix it later.  What can I do in the short term?"  In all likelihood, there is more where the generosity you already have experienced came from.

I hope you take all this in the spirit in which it is intended which is to be helpful, not to lecture.

That is a good point... I am sure there is some plasticky chemical or two in the clear stuff to make it flexible.  Does anyone know, do they sell the clear adhesive tape luthiers use without the adhesive, or even what the name of it is so I can look online for a non-adhesive version?  I'd like to at least protect it and am no way qualified to place anything adhesive!  

The shop I bought it from is not where I will be going for repairs.  I have a luthier I've worked with for the past 5 years that I really like and I quite honestly trust his skills and expertise more.  The shop I bought from also has mixed reviews online.  I had an overwhelmingly pleasant experience, but it those comments do give me pause.  Not saying I wouldn't go back to the shop I bought from for this particular repair situation, that is probably what I will do, but I might feel awkward if they see repairs done by another in the meantime.  IDK, I tend to be socially awkward and overanalyze things so it is very likely I am worrying about something that is nothing!!!!!!  

And no worries!  I asked for the insight and advice and appreciate you taking the time to weigh in! :) 

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epe913   
3 hours ago, Rue said:

You could also experiment by not using any products before you play to see if a product is the issue.

i.e. shower - practice - then apply product if required. Repeat as necessary.^_^

Ahh like a controlled experiment!  I like that!  

 

I am starting to suspect it is either one ingredient common in many things, or just simply the prolonged exposure and friction of especially potent neck sweat LOL.  

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41 minutes ago, epe913 said:

That is a good point... I am sure there is some plasticky chemical or two in the clear stuff to make it flexible.  Does anyone know, do they sell the clear adhesive tape luthiers use without the adhesive, or even what the name of it is so I can look online for a non-adhesive version?  I'd like to at least protect it and am no way qualified to place anything adhesive!  

The shop I bought it from is not where I will be going for repairs.  I have a luthier I've worked with for the past 5 years that I really like and I quite honestly trust his skills and expertise more.  The shop I bought from also has mixed reviews online.  I had an overwhelmingly pleasant experience, but it those comments do give me pause.  Not saying I wouldn't go back to the shop I bought from for this particular repair situation, that is probably what I will do, but I might feel awkward if they see repairs done by another in the meantime.  IDK, I tend to be socially awkward and overanalyze things so it is very likely I am worrying about something that is nothing!!!!!!  

And no worries!  I asked for the insight and advice and appreciate you taking the time to weigh in! :) 

I confused your relationship with your luthier with that with your shop.  I'd be surprised if your luthier wouldn't advise you on a short-term fix, even if only to direct you to the right tape.  Will be interesting to see what he advises -- for future reference.  While my varnishes don't tend to be sticky, one never knows

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10 hours ago, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

I know this doesn't help solve the problem, but I am aiming to keep you from compounding the current problem.  there is no telling what is in the plastic sheet you are describing and therefore how it might react with the varnish and its ingredients which also are unknown to us.  Maybe the tape that shops use is pretty generic and someone here can confirm that.  But the point is, it is a known quantity.  If you need to do this yourself, I recommend at least you use the same material that shops use.  

Another observation: not all shops would respond in this way, but the good ones want to maintain a good relationship with the player just as you want to maintain it with them.  Calling them and asking them if there is anything you can do provisionally until you make your next trip to their shop for adjustments, etc. needn't sound like a complaint.  In fact, you can even say, "Since I'm sure you are going to be helping me care for this wonderful instrument for a long time, I didn't want to do anything about this that would make it harder for you to fix it later.  What can I do in the short term?"  In all likelihood, there is more where the generosity you already have experienced came from.

I hope you take all this in the spirit in which it is intended which is to be helpful, not to lecture.

I use a semi-matt clear plastic contact sheet designed as a protective book covering (and is advertised as removable without causing harm to the cover).  In other words, it has a sticky side but is "low tack" and the adhesive seems quite inert.  Before it's applied, the area should be cleaned and stabilized a bit.  If applied over a relatively stable surface, the barrier is hardly noticeable.  If it's rough or dirty, it's a bit unsightly and doesn't stick well.  I've been using the same product for decades, never had it react with varnish (though I wouldn't apply it if the varnish were truly unstable), and never had difficulty removing it cleanly. It's gone on contemporary instruments, semi-modern, and fine antique instruments... and has been very effective when it's called for.  Those players who voice concern about installing something "plastic" on their instrument usually get very comfortable when I point out two or there other instruments in the room that have the barriers installed... that they didn't notice had them at all until close inspection.

I apply this barrier to the upper portion of the upper treble rib (and sometimes to the lower portion of the lower bass rib) routinely when sending out violins or violas for a couple foundations I work with.  It also often goes on the upper portion of the upper treble rib on the foundation 'cellos going out.  I also use it when a client seems to wear one of these areas (which can be for a variety of reasons) relatively quickly.

Cheers!

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5 hours ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

I use a semi-matt clear plastic contact sheet designed as a protective book covering (and is advertised as removable without causing harm to the cover).  In other words, it has a sticky side but is "low tack" and the adhesive seems quite inert.  Before it's applied, the area should be cleaned and stabilized a bit.  If applied over a relatively stable surface, the barrier is hardly noticeable.  If it's rough or dirty, it's a bit unsightly and doesn't stick well.  I've been using the same product for decades, never had it react with varnish (though I wouldn't apply it if the varnish were truly unstable), and never had difficulty removing it cleanly. It's gone on contemporary instruments, semi-modern, and fine antique instruments... and has been very effective when it's called for.  Those players who voice concern about installing something "plastic" on their instrument usually get very comfortable when I point out two or there other instruments in the room that have the barriers installed... that they didn't notice had them at all until close inspection.

I apply this barrier to the upper portion of the upper treble rib (and sometimes to the lower portion of the lower bass rib) routinely when sending out violins or violas for a couple foundations I work with.  It also often goes on the upper portion of the upper treble rib on the foundation 'cellos going out.  I also use it when a client seems to wear one of these areas (which can be for a variety of reasons) relatively quickly.

Cheers!

Hi Jeffrey,

what do you do if there is naked and dirty wood exposed in these areas?

Does this film adhere well even in these extreme cases?

 

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12 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

Hi Jeffrey,

what do you do if there is naked and dirty wood exposed in these areas?

 
Does this film adhere well even in these extreme cases?

 

It will adhere pretty well unless there is a buildup of hand oil and/or dirt on the surface of the wood... I usually pull out whatever oil is there (poultice or heat), clean the area, and dust the bare wood with a very thin coat of varnish from my air brush (it's almost dry by the time it hits the surface, so it doesn't penetrate in the same way as if it was brushed or polished on and the coating very thin... almost invisible).

I should have thought to snap a photo of one I applied this morning to a pretty well worn rib...  oh well.

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12 hours ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

It will adhere pretty well unless there is a buildup of hand oil and/or dirt on the surface of the wood... I usually pull out whatever oil is there (poultice or heat), clean the area, and dust the bare wood with a very thin coat of varnish from my air brush (it's almost dry by the time it hits the surface, so it doesn't penetrate in the same way as if it was brushed or polished on and the coating very thin... almost invisible).

I should have thought to snap a photo of one I applied this morning to a pretty well worn rib...  oh well.

Thanks.

May I ask what is "poultice"?

A couple of times I saw violins with bare wood exposed (scary!!), I have expressed my concern but the owners did not seem to worry too much.
It seems that none of them liked to have "plastic" on their violin, fortunately these were not violins made by me, so I let it go.

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2 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

May I ask what is "poultice"?

 

A poultice is an application of a medium (either spread over an absorbent cloth or used directly on the object) which draws (wicks) out the target material.  It can be moist, or dry, depending on the medium used and the target material.  It cases of oil saturation, there are various clays that can be employed... or even a talc. Poultices have been used to draw oil out of stone for centuries. A common absorbent clay used for removing oil stains from concrete driveways is "kitty litter", for example. Diatomaceous earth is another clay often used for stain removal.

Poultices are also used in medical applications to draw out infections and/or inflammations from insect bites/stings, etc... 

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Will L   

Jeffrey, if you read this and have the time:

Of course the OP will need to deal with the edges as well, and the plastic, I believe, only deals with the ribs. I assume your mention of air brushing some varnish would also apply to the edges.  ?

Now, many years ago the shops I visited would just lay on a coat of clear spirit varnish on the usually abused areas about once a year as a preventative; and one even suggested a musician could use nail polish if desperate.  I assume no one would ordinarily suggest doing that on a great violin,  although it might be a better alternative than eventually losing the varnish altogether, because that's when the wood begins to wear and that's the worst scenario.

But here's a hypothetical:

Suppose the guy that recently bought the "Lady Blunt" decided he was going to start playing it or loan it to a soloist.  How would you prepare or protect a near pristine famous and ridiculously expensive violin in the areas we are discussing?  Or any other areas?  

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1 hour ago, Will L said:

Jeffrey, if you read this and have the time:

Of course the OP will need to deal with the edges as well, and the plastic, I believe, only deals with the ribs. I assume your mention of air brushing some varnish would also apply to the edges.  ?

Now, many years ago the shops I visited would just lay on a coat of clear spirit varnish on the usually abused areas about once a year as a preventative; and one even suggested a musician could use nail polish if desperate.  I assume no one would ordinarily suggest doing that on a great violin,  although it might be a better alternative than eventually losing the varnish altogether, because that's when the wood begins to wear and that's the worst scenario.

But here's a hypothetical:

Suppose the guy that recently bought the "Lady Blunt" decided he was going to start playing it or loan it to a soloist.  How would you prepare or protect a near pristine famous and ridiculously expensive violin in the areas we are discussing?  Or any other areas?  

I can procrastinate working on the viola sitting on my bench for a fe minutes. :) 

First, some clarification. The wear experienced is a combination of the material (finish), handling habits, and body chemistry. Some players body chemistry eats through certain finishes rapidly, some players hardly wear the finish at all. In the case of foundation instruments (which may or may not be the property of the foundation... they may be loaned by private owners), I may not have contact with the object soon enough to determine the risks to it, so preventative seems the only responsible "move".

The sheeting I refer to isn't useful for complicated contours (like edges), but 3M does manufacture a flexible tape that is.  I sometimes use it on instruments with wide C bouts, where the player seems to scrape off finish and wood with their bow (usually on the treble side).

In the case of more normal edge wear, I will simply seal the edges with varnish from my airbrush or brush. I'll often apply a wax (I use two types, both easily removable with mineral spirits) to the edge to give it a tad more protection.  I don't mind so much if an instrument wears gracefully, but if I can do anything to prevent an edge from degrading prematurely (keep the sweat out of the wood), I'll advise doing so.

Your hypothetical: After the shivers wore off, and my stomach stopped churning, I would most likely advise the owner that preventative intervention was advisable  if the instrument was going to be used on a daily basis.  8 X 3 cm of barrier seems like a small price to pay for preserving the "Lady's" rib.  As I mentioned, I've had no trouble removing the barrier when and if required, and few even notice they are there.  It might interfere with the patina that would develop in that area if it were left open to the world, but I doubt by much.  I'd also advise (very) frequent check-ups while the instrument was being used for performance (so other problems could be caught and action could be taken early).

That answer your question?

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Will L   
1 hour ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

 

Your hypothetical: After the shivers wore off, and my stomach stopped churning,

That answer your question?

LOL  I know!  After I used the L.B as an example I got a bit of a feeling in my gut, too.

Mostly, but I'm unclear if you would feel it suitable to use the same approach you mentioned for the plate edges on such an historic instrument, too?  Also, if you could think of anything to do for the scroll and pegbox.   I assume some added plastic would be in order on the treble side of the C-bouts of the top plate.

Otherwise, yes, and thanks for the info.

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1 hour ago, Will L said:

LOL  I know!  After I used the L.B as an example I got a bit of a feeling in my gut, too.

Mostly, but I'm unclear if you would feel it suitable to use the same approach you mentioned for the plate edges on such an historic instrument, too?  Also, if you could think of anything to do for the scroll and pegbox.   I assume some added plastic would be in order on the treble side of the C-bouts of the top plate.

Otherwise, yes, and thanks for the info.

After my blood pressure returned to a non-critical level, I'd probably go with just the rib sheets (where the hand strikes the upper rib and where the neck comes in close contact are, of course, the most vulnerable to relatively innocent wear) and wax applications in a few other areas... as long as the "(very) frequent check-ups" advice was to be heeded by the owner and recipient. There is little I mentioned that I wouldn't advise to protect a specific area of the fiddle if I saw there was going to be a problem down the line.  

In other words, rather than turn the fiddle into "The Boy in the Bubble" (or Lady in the Bubble in this case), I think I'd attempt *watch and react with what I felt appropriate* rather than over-react.  I might very well suggest one of those ugly rubber C bout edge protectors for practice though.

The problem with the scenario is that the best advice I believe I could offer is "don't do it!" :) Indeed, I can't conceive of anyone who has chosen to be the steward of that particular instrument choosing to put it at that level of risk.  Also, within the limits of my position, I admit to a good and very well respected friend's order of priorities when it comes to things like this... and his first priority is to the instrument.  

There are so many "things" that can happen when an instrument is pressed into a touring situation...

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