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ID a revarnish?


MikeV
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5 minutes ago, Nick Allen said:

Do you mean like stripping the original varnish all of the way off and then revarnishing? If so, then yes, those jobs are usually pretty obvious. 

Or do you mean simply varnishing over old varnish? Which could cause craquelature/crazing. 

I disagree about a stripped/re-varnished instrument looking obviously stripped and re-varnished. 

1 hour ago, MikeV said:

Are violin revarnish obvious?  Does crazing hit at a revarnish?

I don't think crazing hints at a revarnish unless, like Nick said, one type of varnish was overcoated with another type of varnish.  I don't think stripping and re-varnishing lead to crazing.

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1 hour ago, MikeV said:

Are violin revarnish obvious?  Does crazing hit at a revarnish?

 

image.thumb.png.956bb913de93af23ba4fa9ea7cef554b.png

It's not possible to say anything from a small detail like this.

The ways you would know a violin was revarnished :

1. the vanish is not right for the maker

2. the varnish appears much newer than the violin must be

3. we see traces of a different colour in the runout of the table grain and in other inaccessible parts like the inside of the scroll turns

Many original varnishes have light or heavy craquelure.

 

 

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Was wondering what thing to look for.  I was looking at the violin above and didn't look like an obvious revarnish, but was told it was suspected to have been revarnished.  In the particular case of this violin, I think a coat may have been added, but not sure.

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Some clues that a violin has been revarnished:

-Mismatched varnish on different parts (sometimes it’s just bad retouching, though)

-Traces of an original varnish at the corners and in the c bouts or in the recesses of the scroll and by the neck mortise

-Marks from a scraper or even sandpaper that go partly into the ground and are clearly not brush strokes.

-As Martin Swan said, wrong varnish for the maker.

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16 hours ago, martin swan said:

Many violins have a "coat of clear" on top of the original varnish. US shops in particular have done this traditionally, even to Strads and del Gesus.

people like shiny violins ....

Yes they do. How much does this clear coat affect the instrument?  Is removal practical?

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Well reading this series of comments a question came in my head. Would an expert re-varnish improve the sound? Or is it impossible to tell?

As I understand it the varnish is supposed to be able to protect the wood while still allowing the wood to flex, so a bad varnish would interfere with sound but a good varnish would not.

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27 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Well reading this series of comments a question came in my head. Would an expert re-varnish improve the sound? Or is it impossible to tell?

As I understand it the varnish is supposed to be able to protect the wood while still allowing the wood to flex, so a bad varnish would interfere with sound but a good varnish would not.

If the original varnish was poor and rather thick, a better varnish applied properly could drastically improve the sound. 

However, removing varnish negates much of  the original value. It’s very heavily frowned upon for any instrument by an individual maker or considered fine. There’s less concern about revarnishing cheap factory instruments, where a good revarnishing job and a professional setup can actually increase value. There’s a fine line to be treaded trepidatiously, and failure to do so can seriously ruin a reputation. 

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