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Brad H

Tips for Removing Cork Residue From Top?

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I run into this problem regularly, and every time I do I think about asking here what to do about it.

My approach has been to simply scrape carefully, trying to remove as much cork as possible without removing any varnish.  Trying to soften the cork with water does not seem to help.  I hope someone here has a better idea.

When the cork is lightly stuck it all comes off, and the varnish shows little or no evidence that the cork had been stuck to it.  When the cork is badly stuck it is impossible to remove it all, the varnish is deeply imprinted and I leave it like that.  How badly the cork is stuck seems to depend on the composition and consistency of the varnish and perhaps how tightly the chinrest was clamped and on what temperature the instrument has experienced.  All of these factors are beyond my control because they occurred before I received the instrument.

Before I put on a chinrest, I always rub paraffin (wax) on the corks and on the edges where the chinrest is going.  I hope this will prevent the cork from sticking to the varnish, but I don't know how effective it is.

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Thanks for the replies.  When I searched the archived posts, I came up with this  , which wasn't much help.   It just might be a problem with no easy solutions.

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Why, that's easy to solve!  Take it to a luthier.  [Runs for cover yet again]  :lol:

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10 hours ago, Violadamore said:

Why, that's easy to solve!  Take it to a luthier.  [Runs for cover yet again]  :lol:

Right...and then the luthier pulls up Maestronet to search for a better method...

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8 hours ago, Nicolas Temino said:

I simply don’t use cork, but felt. It does not leave prints when removed.

I doubt that felt is totally printless.  I have seen violins that have "prints" on the back from the velvet in the case.   Perhaps it was meant that felt doesn't leave itself behind.

As for doing without chinrests, maybe it would be OK but for a lot of post-Baroque music a lot of position shifting is required and it would be necessary to clamp the instrument using the chin.  Abrasion and sweat would eventually wear off varnish on the top, I think. 

 

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7 minutes ago, gowan said:

I doubt that felt is totally printless......   Perhaps it was meant that felt doesn't leave itself behind.

 

Yes, that is what I meant. Sorry for my English. We were talking about residual cork removing.

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12 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Yet another excellent reason to abandon the damned things. The violin worked perfectly well for a couple hundred years without it.

Did it? How many top-flight soloists do you see these days performing without a chinrest?

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In the violas I make I use a thin coat of solid Vaseline under the chinrest and bridge. Brad mentioned paraffin, it is a good idea too.

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3 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Did it? How many top-flight soloists do you see these days performing without a chinrest?

I hang out in the early music crowd, so please excuse my biases. Paganini seems to have managed, for what it's worth. 

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1 hour ago, Brad H said:

Right...and then the luthier pulls up Maestronet to search for a better method...

....And yet another inconclusive "stuck-cork" thread clutters up the database.  Sorta like Strad discussions.  :lol:

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I've gone to thick leather patches cut to fit the chinrest, and sometimes lightly super-glued to it.  :)

As far as removing stuck cork, sometimes neatsfoot oil helps, sometimes it's penetrated the finish, and you've gotta pick it out, and then restore.  :wub:

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2 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I hang out in the early music crowd, so please excuse my biases. Paganini seems to have managed, for what it's worth. 

How good was Paganini, by today's standards?

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2 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

How good was Paganini, by today's standards?

I'll let you know once the Delorean is back from the shop. Can you believe what a new flux capacitor is going for these days?

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2 hours ago, Violadamore said:

....And yet another inconclusive "stuck-cork" thread clutters up the database.  Sorta like Strad discussions.  :lol:

All of the strad discussions I have seen are pretty decisive and conclusive...............

Depending on which side of the fence you sit :rolleyes:

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Getting cork off is a pain. I’m not sure I have a perfect method for doing it, but I work with a spatula to gently lift off any parts I can, then use pumice and mineral oil to abrade the rest away.

I like leather instead, as Violadamore suggested. It can stick a bit but usually comes off more easily and doesn’t leave pieces in the varnish. 

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3 hours ago, David Burgess said:

How good was Paganini, by today's standards?

Probably not very. Also, I don’t think the il Cannone sounds that great :-O

He had some great PR going though, to become such a legend. 

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I hope y'all will forgive me for further driving the discussion off topic, but it boggles the mind to think how we insist that the makers of yesteryear are unsurpassable, and in the same breath, insist that the players of the same time couldn't possibly meet modern standards. 

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1 hour ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I hope y'all will forgive me for further driving the discussion off topic, but it boggles the mind to think how we insist that the makers of yesteryear are unsurpassable, and in the same breath, insist that the players of the same time couldn't possibly meet modern standards. 

But I just said:

Also, I don’t think the il Cannone sounds that great. 

:-D

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4 hours ago, DBCooper said:

But I just said:

Also, I don’t think the il Cannone sounds that great. 

:-D

To remove cork I usually use cold steel (a dull scraper) and light fingers .

The real problem is the different types of varnishes you can come across, some of which need special precautions to keep almost anything from sticking to it or marking. Personally I don't use anything with lubricating qualities because it can force you to tighten the chin-rest even more. I prefer an inert material like chalk, the dusty type, which helps avoid slipping and over tightening.

On the 'Cannon' the lower edge of the belly still has a fairly pronounced lip and the chin-rest will stay in place with either fitted cork or a silicone cast covered with thin leather. The chin-rest screws hardly need to be tightened.

Paganini in his time was setting a new standard for violin playing but I would be surprised if some affirmed that his technique hasn't been improved upon. The consensus on his playing and musicianship at the time, even by other violinists is generally positive if not enthusiastic. To this,  add the composer/musicians such as Liszt and Schubert. Paganini was certainly a great entertainer but with people like that in the audience you can't 'fake it'.

As for the "sound" of the Cannon, to each his own. I've heard the violin now for decades, close up, in a hall with all sorts of music and all qualities of players. It would hold it's own against the best (just my opinion).

 

 

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