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Advice for restoring chinrest


RobS
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Hello experts - I need some help on restoring the finish on my chinrest. The finish is coming off, and the raw (still stained) wood is exposed, which means it's absorbing perspiration and other nastiness.

I believe that this was caused by somebody (ok, it was me) applying Hill Violin Cleaner and Polish to the chinrest. I thought it would polish it up nicely, but instead it seems to have taken off the finish in a bad way.

I have the tools to properly remove the chinrest, but am not sure what would be the best way to restore a finish without replacing the chinrest entirely (not desirable, since it fits me perfectly).

I'm not a luthier, so I don't have any experience with varnishes in that sense, but I do have woodworking experience. I just don't want to apply the wrong finish which would make things worse.

Any advice?

I was thinking of using beeswax as a simple solution.

Edited by RobS
fix typo in topic title
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If the finish is a coating, as opposed to a penetrating finish, it's most likely lacquer. The nice thing about lacquer is that subsequent coats melt into earlier coats, no matter how old, and bond securely. It's easy to apply and dries quickly between coats. I'd recommend "Deft" brand spray lacquer, in your choice of gloss, semi-gloss or satin. Follow the directions on the can. Easy!

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17 minutes ago, Nick Allen said:

Why would one want to finish a chin rest?

 

A lot of the Indian made ebony products have some sort of coating.  It may just be rouge or tripoli and ebony dust.  This stuff often hides surface flaws, so naturally, they don't clean it off.

Re: OP, try cleaning a small area of the chin rest with a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a bit of paper toweling.  If you see wood grain that wasn't visible before, now you know why.

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Here's a picture of the chinrest:

ouS5QNq.jpg

(full screen: https://i.imgur.com/ouS5QNq.jpg)

You can see in the middle area, and on the right-hand side there is a a clear distinction between finished and "no-longer finished". I have cleaned it, so that's not the issue. How can I tell if it's lacquer or something else? Should I remove existing finish before applying more? If so, how to I avoid removing the stain as well? (I assume the wood is stained)

Thanks!

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Clean it with ETOH, burnish it with fine steel wool. Then either: 1-shellac or 2-oil.

I prefer to oil and then finish with wax, but some players don't like the smell. Shellac will seal the chinrest and will wear as it has, but you can put more shellac on it and go forward. 

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20 hours ago, duane88 said:

Clean it with ETOH, burnish it with fine steel wool. Then either: 1-shellac or 2-oil.

I prefer to oil and then finish with wax, but some players don't like the smell. Shellac will seal the chinrest and will wear as it has, but you can put more shellac on it and go forward. 

Thanks. Will rubbing alcohol from the pharmacy be good enough, or do I need pure EtOH? I am not sure where I would procure the pure stuff.

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I wouldn't use rubbing ETOH because of the water content. If you are in the US, 190 proof Everclear, and as mentioned in another thread, in other countries I have found a Polish 190 proof bottle. The water might be a problem. Nothing wrong with isopropyl. Ask a friend who works in a lab for a bit of what they use. Rubbing alcohol is, I believe, about 30% water.

If you choose to oil it, choose an oil that you wouldn't mind swallowing. Oils with metalic driers might not be the best thing to have in contact with your skin.

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21 hours ago, duane88 said:

I wouldn't use rubbing ETOH because of the water content. If you are in the US, 190 proof Everclear, and as mentioned in another thread, in other countries I have found a Polish 190 proof bottle. The water might be a problem. Nothing wrong with isopropyl. Ask a friend who works in a lab for a bit of what they use. Rubbing alcohol is, I believe, about 30% water.

If you choose to oil it, choose an oil that you wouldn't mind swallowing. Oils with metalic driers might not be the best thing to have in contact with your skin.

Ok. I was planning on using Tried & True Original Wood Finish, since I have an unopened can of it lying around. Let me know if that's a bad idea.

As for the EtOH, I'll try and find something, but in Ontario it's restricted, so you can't just buy that level of concentrated alcohol without special papers. What about denatured alcohol or methyl hydrate?

Edited by RobS
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