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Will L

CLEANING VIOLINS? DO NO HARM!

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Has anyone tried hugging a bunny (or a guinea pig, paradoxically, the amount emitted is larger) over a violin and polishing with the liquid?  I mean, it's already famous as a luthier's wood treatment, and I'm sure the IPCI would approve of the technique. :lol::ph34r:

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1 hour ago, carl1961 said:

The internet strikes again.  

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1 hour ago, Violadamore said:

Has anyone tried hugging a bunny (or a guinea pig, paradoxically, the amount emitted is larger) over a violin and polishing with the liquid?  I mean, it's already famous as a luthier's wood treatment, and I'm sure the IPCI would approve of the technique. :lol::ph34r:

No, but I tried hugging a woman once....

I mean, I was gonna, but dang, she was a fast runner. Couldn't catch her.

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18 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

No, but I tried hugging a woman once....

I mean, I was gonna, but dang, she was a fast runner. Couldn't catch her.

Yes, I heard that Hollywood wants to make a movie about you called "The Yellow Violin."

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

Yes, I heard that Hollywood wants to make a movie about you called "The Yellow Violin."

Oh, that was really good. Seriously. And no, I haven't become infatuated with Hollywood (largely because I lived there) nor am I up for explaining differences between a red violin, and a yellow violin to anyone who doesn't already get the differences between various kinds of animal and human squeezings.

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3 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

The word here is iatrogenic.  .

So you're blaming your current condition on doctors?  Lobotomy, ECT, or both? :P

3 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

I hugged a bunny and immediately found myself out on the sidewalk. 

I never got Hefner's fascination with the rabbit motif.  A bull would have been more appropriate for several reasons. :ph34r:

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Like everything, it is how you spin it.  I watched a conservator cleaning an albumen print from the late 19thC with "a weak enzyme solution" (you guessed it) which she said was the best thing for it.

Regards,

Tim

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18 hours ago, carl1961 said:

Tripoli and oil is great for polishing new varnish, but it's an abrasive. If you use it to clean off rosin build-up you will end up with a featureless mirror finish (rather like the violin in the clip). 

Only for experienced professionals, and definitely not for deep cleaning as it abrades absolutely everything to the same extent - dirt, varnish, wood ...

 

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4 hours ago, martin swan said:

Tripoli and oil is great for polishing new varnish, but it's an abrasive. If you use it to clean off rosin build-up you will end up with a featureless mirror finish (rather like the violin in the clip). 

Only for experienced professionals, and definitely not for deep cleaning as it abrades absolutely everything to the same extent - dirt, varnish, wood ...

 

thanks martin swan, for pointing that out about abrasive, makes since

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The best violin cleaner is that one the player NEVER USES. You can buy a lot of them, but NEVER, NEVER USE THEM.

Always use a soft rag after playing. For a more vigorous cleaning, leave it to your luthier.

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5 hours ago, MANFIO said:

For a more vigorous cleaning, leave it to your luthier.

Can the player supply a bottle of his own spit?  Kind of like supplying your own blood for an operation.  I'd feel a lot better.

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Funny how growing up my mother constantly made me go wash myself when I got bodily fluids on me, now you are saying I should put them on something to clean it - weird, but okay...

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Enjoying the humor on this thread.  Nothing like bodily fluids to bring out the sophomoric tendencies of a crowd... but I noticed that many have mentioned methods and materials (stronger solvents, abrasives like tripoli, etc.) that I'd not think to employ in cleaning unless there was a particularly tricky situation that required them. Even a little alcohol in water can be pretty darn aggressive... though that's something I might use on a q tip for a specific problem... Also, "products" (simple green, creme hand cleaner) may or may not be appropriate.  SDS sheets can help sort that out if you can manage to figure out what particular distillate or surfactant is in the bottle... but I would avoid their use unless the ingredients, how they react together, how easily they can be removed from the instrument, and long term effects, have been learned/documented.

So, not to be a downer, but just one serious comment.  I think it's important to note that what one is used to using may become a habit... and might be employed when not appropriate ("Damn... I never had a problem before!").  Finishes vary, and the least invasive, and proven methods... tested on each subject... where solvents being used are known and understood... is probably wise.  Approached in that manner, it's unlikely something will be ruined.  Also, cleaning the grime off a fractional lacquered instrument finish should not be confused with doing the same on a finer fiddle.  

For pros, it's your business and the learning curve pays for itself in the long run.  For amateurs, maybe talk to pros... and err on the conservative side.

Excuse me now.   I need to go think of sour pickles for a few minutes.

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5 hours ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

So, not to be a downer, but just one serious comment.  I think it's important to note that what one is used to using may become a habit... and might be employed when not appropriate ("Damn... I never had a problem before!").  Finishes vary, and the least invasive, and proven methods... tested on each subject... where solvents being used are known and understood... is probably wise.

See, I think this is what it all boils down to.  The trouble is that it tells us in the hinterlands what not to do—which is worth it's weight in gold, for sure—but doesn't give anything concrete about what TO DO .  IMO, that's because it seems there isn't any sure-fire simple way, and any of us who hope to never harm an instrument just have to work at it instead of settling on some "one method fits all."  

I'm afraid we are all at the mercy of ourselves, how patient we are, and if we can ally with more knowledgable people without driving them crazy.

I remember once watching one of my mentors using xylene on a violin, and all the while he was saying that even as relatively safe as it was it would still take off some varnishes.  Just as he finished saying this, all of a sudden he looks at the rag and says, "I t h i n k THIS is varnish..."  I guess that alone gives us one serious method: always start in some hard to observe place, not the middle of the back!  :)

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59 minutes ago, Will L said:

See, I think this is what it all boils down to.  The trouble is that it tells us in the hinterlands what not to do—which is worth it's weight in gold, for sure—but doesn't give anything concrete about what TO DO .  

I understand what you're saying... but it's the nature of the beast.  It's also why I believe programs like Oberlin and Kent are so important.  Lots of knowledge and experience in one place, even if it's only for a week.  Hands on testing and an array of technique can be experienced and not just read about.

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YES!  The nature of the beast!  And thanks.

I also wonder how much damage was done in the past even by notable people, just because the area of cleaning and polishing (for want of an ideal word) was relatively primitive by comparison to recent times.  At least I assume it was.  

I think I'll try to find the time to reread the IPCI and maybe give a synopsis of it on MN.  Or if someone else has the time that would be even better.  :)

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