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Andreas Preuss

How to protect a cello varnish against sweat and body warmth?

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The cello is a nice Caressa and Francais. 

The player is extremely meticulous about the varnish surface. When the varnish becomes dull at the shoulder and on the upper back he is a sort of freaking out. 

2 weeks ago I tried to fix the problem with brushing on the affected area a thin layer of clear varnish and let it dry for 1 week to make sure that it hardens out sufficiently.

the player is not too enthusiastic about a protecting plastic sheet on that area.

i am not too enthusiastic about some commercial durable varnish (for boats), because I don't know how reversible it is.

I am almost thinking of a breast rest (similar to a violin shoulder rest) to solve the problem.

Anyone here on MN had the same problem?

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35 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

The cello is a nice Caressa and Francais. 

The player is extremely meticulous about the varnish surface. When the varnish becomes dull at the shoulder and on the upper back he is a sort of freaking out. 

2 weeks ago I tried to fix the problem with brushing on the affected area a thin layer of clear varnish and let it dry for 1 week to make sure that it hardens out sufficiently.

the player is not too enthusiastic about a protecting plastic sheet on that area.

i am not too enthusiastic about some commercial durable varnish (for boats), because I don't know how reversible it is.

I am almost thinking of a breast rest (similar to a violin shoulder rest) to solve the problem.

Anyone here on MN had the same problem?

Cello bib would be the best choice as not to alter the instrument. 

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1. never alter the varnishing imo

2. the person should alter their clothes

3. In order to "reshine" areas without any lasting negative effects I suggest "HOWARDS ORANGE OIL"

a very small amount can be put on a polish cloth and buffed in by hand, it has a way of making everything nice looking without laying down any film build up or excessive oil. The shine usually last about 2 weeks and can be rebuffed or re applied without much concern as long as it is not dumped on.

I would buy them a bottle and show them how to maintain it themselves, it's very easy to use, and can even be used in just spots, and then kinda of rubbed in everywhere else with the main concentraion on the areas of wear.

It is a fairly fugitive oil that will not adversely effect repair work as long as it is not dumped on ie; loaded into the seams, just a dab on a rag, wipe the surface , everything look nice and shiny, yet no real build up.
 

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I would recommend contact paper even though the customer is hesitant. If you look around a bit, you can find something that will match the sheen of the varnish well enough that it won’t be noticeable. This way the player doesn’t have to worry about clothing choice or cello position or finding a bib or pad, and it won’t be visually distracting. Installation is easy and reversible.

Clear varnish can protect, but it needs to be fully cured to offer any resistance to acidic sweat. Depending on the varnish, it may or not be completely dry when it appears to be. I’m not eager to add varnish, though, unless there’s enough damage that something must be done. 

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3 hours ago, ClefLover said:

Cello bib would be the best choice as not to alter the instrument. 

 

6 minutes ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

I would recommend contact paper even though the customer is hesitant.

Both of the above would be my first recommendations, but there's also the possibility of educating the client on what many people think is the charm of naturally-worn varnish.

We can sometimes be educators, and don't always need to suck up to the initial impulses of our clients.

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42 minutes ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

I would recommend contact paper even though the customer is hesitant. If you look around a bit, you can find something that will match the sheen of the varnish well enough that it won’t be noticeable. This way the player doesn’t have to worry about clothing choice or cello position or finding a bib or pad, and it won’t be visually distracting. Installation is easy and reversible.

Clear varnish can protect, but it needs to be fully cured to offer any resistance to acidic sweat. Depending on the varnish, it may or not be completely dry when it appears to be. I’m not eager to add varnish, though, unless there’s enough damage that something must be done. 

I agree completely, I have a swath of contact paper on my cello on the “hump”( which is what I call the shoulder where the hand rests in fourth position) As well as on the opposite side of the neck. The varnish on the edge is a bit worn after 13 years of study playing, but the varnish under the contact paper remains perfect. I don’t have any on the back where the cello rests against my chest, and there’s a little bit of wear at that location( How about that? Real honest to gosh “antiquing”!) But contact paper doesn’t cause any problems and is easily removable.

Edited by PhilipKT
Doubling

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6 hours ago, David Burgess said:

 

Both of the above would be my first recommendations, but there's also the possibility of educating the client on what many people think is the charm of naturally-worn varnish.

We can sometimes be educators, and don't always need to suck up to the initial impulses of our clients.

My client is cooperative enough for some 'education' and we are trying now to work out the best long term solution. 

He is not against natural wear, but knows as well that his 'body heat' plus sweat will wear off the varnish more and quicker than desired. So we are aiming at slowing down the natural wear as good as possible. In the end I am glad that he is a musician who cares about the preservation of his instrument. I'll keep you posted for the solution we will eventually find.

I guess it will end up in improving the pad he is using and additionally educate him for daily do it yourself varnish maintenance.

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7 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

I would recommend contact paper even though the customer is hesitant. If you look around a bit, you can find something that will match the sheen of the varnish well enough that it won’t be noticeable. This way the player doesn’t have to worry about clothing choice or cello position or finding a bib or pad, and it won’t be visually distracting. Installation is easy and reversible.

Clear varnish can protect, but it needs to be fully cured to offer any resistance to acidic sweat. Depending on the varnish, it may or not be completely dry when it appears to be. I’m not eager to add varnish, though, unless there’s enough damage that something must be done. 

Contact paper, that is the first time I hear about it. I suppose this is not the same as a self adhesive plastic film?

Where can get the contact paper?

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It’s a plastic sheeting that has adhesive on one side. It comes in a roll and has a paper backing. Mine has a satin sheen to it. A lot of people use it to cover books (that was how I discovered it in grade school), and it’s available at most home goods or arts and crafts stores in the U.S.

Perhaps there’s another name in other countries(?). 

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3 hours ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

It’s a plastic sheeting that has adhesive on one side. It comes in a roll and has a paper backing. Mine has a satin sheen to it. A lot of people use it to cover books (that was how I discovered it in grade school), and it’s available at most home goods or arts and crafts stores in the U.S.

Perhaps there’s another name in other countries(?). 

Sure, now I know what it is. I'm I just didn't know that there are varieties for the surface. 

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12 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Contact paper, that is the first time I hear about it. I suppose this is not the same as a self adhesive plastic film?

Where can get the contact paper?

Contact paper is exactly that, a “self adhesive plastic film”

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