Sign in to follow this  
outofnames

Fix minor nick/chip or leave it be?

Recommended Posts

So I managed to put a small nick on the edge of the top plate of my violin last night when I bumped my stand.  Just enough to expose the nonstained wood.  It's about the size of this 'S' if you're reading on a mobile device.  It wouldn't be noticeable if it were a light stain, but it's dark.  It bugs me because I can see it.

My violin is the one I posted on here a few months ago; Mirecourt workshop, Derazey ink stamp, maybe made around 1900 give or take a decade. 

Do you guys ever suggest having a luthier do a bit of touch up, or just let it be etched into the history of the instrument?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...adds to the patina...^_^

I've put a couple of tiny dings into mine too. Frustrating, I know...but every journey to an antiqued instrument begins with a single ding...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...if it really bothers you, you could darken it a wee bit.

Coffee, tea...bit of dirt...

I'm not sure which is the best...I'd have to experiment...but someone should know...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would advise against a stain—it’s too easy to go dark if your color isn’t controlled well enough. Any skilled luthier should be able to do touch up on the nick. 
 

However, if the nick has indented the wood, it might be a bit more complicated,  but still reparable. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A commercial stain - yes, might not be a good idea. But I can't see how you'd go too dark with coffee or a little Earl Grey...

Both are water-based tannins as well...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, outofnames said:

Do you guys ever suggest having a luthier do a bit of touch up, or just let it be etched into the history of the instrument?

It depends on how much it bugs you...
Someone who's good can make it disappear.  Staining it might make look less bad and have you feeling better about it, but will probably hinder efforts to make it look good in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll see what my luthier thinks when I see him in a few months.  He's done some serious instrument reconstruction.  

At some point in the past, a prior owner took out a chunk of wood above a rib joint.  It appears to have been gently smoothed and darkened, but not stained or filled.  My little ding pales in comparison, it's just noticeable because it's so light and fresh.

I handle it with kid gloves, so my moment of carelessness really bugs me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

General advice? Not specific advice. ^_^

Mike makes a good point though. Post a picture!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Rue said:

General advice? Not specific advice. ^_^

Mike makes a good point though. Post a picture!

 

Yep.  Here you go.  I'm sad just looking at it....

20200112_091335.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My vote is rub it to darken. It will fade over time and just be part of the story. However it’s your fiddle. A little touch up will take your eye away from it.  Perfect is kinda boring if you know what I mean 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW - rubbing it with fingers might introduce oils, which could potentially be an issue down the road. I don't think tannin would be an issue.

Regardless- this is a tiny ding. Probably  not an issue either way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The maker of my instruments lives half an hour away from my house and has routinely touched up small dings like the OP showed.  He uses spirit varnish to do touch ups like that and it is so fast-drying that it dries in the air while I wait.  My thoughts are to do nothing and let it be a contribution to the history/patina of the instrument or else use some sort of "official"  touch-up medium.  If the injury actually goes through to raw wood, some sort of sealant varnish-like substance would protect the instrument better than some water-based stain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Rue said:

How so?  Provided you didn't glob on some thick acrylic...

It's pretty common to see damaged edges that have been quickly retouched with a fairly dark stain or varnish that has a color concentration which is too high. That can soak into the wood and be difficult or impossible to remove without removing more wood.  If the owner wants it to look as good as it can, it's best to repair the wood (if it's damaged) and then put on varnish that matches what is on the surrounding area.  

Thick acrylic, if it was not intensely colored, wouldn't be too bad!

2 hours ago, Michael_Molnar said:

How can anyone give advice without a photo? 

Perhaps through experience...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, gowan said:

... If the injury actually goes through to raw wood, some sort of sealant varnish-like substance would protect the instrument better than some water-based stain.

How much protection - of the entire instrument  - does a tiny ding like this warrant?

A water based stain, in this instance, isn't to protect anything. It's to make the ding less visible (which is distressing).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Mark Norfleet said:

It's pretty common to see damaged edges that have been quickly retouched with a fairly dark stain or varnish that has a color concentration which is too high. That can soak into the wood and be difficult or impossible to remove without removing more wood. ...

Thick acrylic, if it was not intensely colored, wouldn't be too bad!...

I don't think tea would be an issue. You'd have to brew it really dark, and probably apply it several times to get it too dark.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Rue said:

I don't think tea would be an issue. You'd have to brew it really dark, and probably apply it several times to get it too dark.

If it were come to me for repair, I would ask the owner to not even touch it, let alone re-touch it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure. For a serious repair. Absolutely.

Replace a missing piece? Fix a crack? Remove 150 years of rosin build-up? See a professional!

This example is like a hangnail. Does it even need a doctor? Much less a cosmetic surgeon?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies all.  Sounds like a split of opinions.  I wouldn't try to touch it up myself, I'll see what my luthier suggests.  Perhaps just a subtle fix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Rue said:

This example is like a hangnail. Does it even need a doctor? Much less a cosmetic surgeon?

That's for the owner to decide.

My first words in response to the original poster were, "It depends on how much it bugs you..."

I have customers who would not notice they had caused damage such as this, and others who have called me in tears after doing just a bit more than in this instance to their instruments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, outofnames said:

Yep.  Here you go.  I'm sad just looking at it....

20200112_091335.jpg

You're gonna be in for a lot of sadness if that is getting you down lol. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.