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bsharma8

Hill Polish on Bow Sticks

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Can't find anything other than an old post about Yehudi Menhuin using alcohol on his bowsticks. Would the Hill polish be okay for rosin build up and just general cleaning? I'm planning to test it on a few commercial german bows I have lying around. 

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I wouldn't use alcohol either, unless you want to strip off any french polishing it may have. I have used turpentine spirits,  varsol / stoddard on occasion.

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I always clean bows with alcohol.  It quickly removes rosin and dirt from most bows.  After cleaning, I apply a very thin coat of orange shellac to the stick by the French polishing method.   In my experience, alcohol does not remove the finish from good bows, or, if it does, any finish that is removed is renewed by the French polishing.

Some cheap bows have colored finishes that are easily removed by alcohol, but since they are cheap bows I don't really care.  On some of these bows, when I see that the finish is alcohol-soluble, I clean lightly to remove most of the rosin and dirt and leave most of the finish.  And on some cheap bows I strip off all the finish.  They look better after being French polished on the bare wood that they did with the cheap colored finish that I removed.

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2 hours ago, Mark Norfleet said:

By the way, it's also not a very good thing to put on violins as far as I'm concerned.

 

Agreed. One way I heard it described was as a coating containing linseed oil. Pretty much any oil application will slick up the surface, and act to enhance the appearance of transparency and depth. A wet oil coating will also act as an air filter, absorbing detritus and pollutants from the air. If the oil coating remains liquid, that might be OK, because the oil and absorbed contaminants can probably be easily wiped of. But if the oil dries (like linseed oil), you basically end up with an added layer of varnish, with a bunch of junk in it. 

I suspect that some coatings which people attribute to a buildup of "french polish", contain layers of hardened Hill polish.

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I long since don’t personally use Hill “polish” either. The most important part, is to wipe it off, once you have finished “polishing”. I have the recipe somewhere in my computer, and could post it, should anyone wish to make their own bootleg Hill “polish” (most expensive bit is the bottle)

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I tried it on an inexpensive german bow, I see what you mean by sticky and slicking up the surface. Definitely wouldn't want to use it on my french bows. I could probably use it as a shoe shiner at this point. 

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16 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

 I have the recipe somewhere in my computer, and could post it, should anyone wish to make their own bootleg Hill “polish” (most expensive bit is the bottle)

I would like to know what the recipe is when it's convenient for you.  I'm not interested in making it, but would like to know what I spent so much time cursing.

When I see this polish in the case of a customer, or evidence that they've been using it or something similar, I insist that they toss it.

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Polishes are not good for cleaning because they tend to trap dirt. They are intended for clean surfaces. That being said, I also don’t recommend using Hill polish. I’ve come across a lot of violins that have suffered damage to their varnish from oily polishes. 

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58 minutes ago, Mark Norfleet said:

I would like to know what the recipe is when it's convenient for you.  I'm not interested in making it, but would like to know what I spent so much time cursing.

When I see this polish in the case of a customer, or evidence that they've been using it or something similar, I insist that the toss it.

I have it noted in my computer in German:

1 Teil Wollfett Lanolin anhydrid

1 Teil Leinöl

1Teil Terpentinöl

im Wasserbad schmelzen

3Teile Wasser dazugeben

 

-Which I would translate as:

1 Part Lanolin

1 Part Linseed oil

1 Part Terpentine (N.B. Terpentine, not terpentine substitute)

melt in a waterbath

add 3 parts water

Personally I haven't used Hill polish for a couple of decades, however I would not condem is as others have here. Perhaps it should come with a government health warning, that once one is finished polishing, one should thouroughly wipe it off, for instance with a clean kitchen (paper) towel.

I don't know the recepie of "Super Nico" but expect that it isn't much different.

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Thanks Jacob!  

I would have not guessed that lanolin was in there.

I'm happy to condemn it for use on anything other than inexpensive mass produced instruments.  I wish I had the hours back that I spent removing it with solvents I shouldn't have been exposing myself or shopmates to.

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8 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

D- limonene is inexpensive and good for removing rosin buildup. I would have reservations about using it on any instrument about which I was uncertain of the varnish composition (any solvent, really, including water). 

Agreed.  It does work well for most varnishes.  One should always be careful and observant no matter what you're cleaning with.

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14 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

D- limonene is inexpensive and good for removing rosin buildup. I would have reservations about using it on any instrument about which I was uncertain of the varnish composition (any solvent, really, including water). 

Should be fine on a french polished expensive bow?

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1 hour ago, bsharma8 said:

Should be fine on a french polished expensive bow?

If you are concerned about cleaning an expensive bow, I would suggest you ask to have it cleaned professionally, each time you get it re-haired.

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19 hours ago, Mark Norfleet said:

When I see this polish in the case of a customer, or evidence that they've been using it or something similar, I insist that they toss it.

Toss the instrument or just the polish? :-)

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5 hours ago, HoGo said:

Toss the instrument or just the polish? :-)

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Probably depends on the value of the instrument. ;)

Most of the "citrus cleaners" I have purchased so far have been mostly mineral spirits, with some added citrus scent. Buyer beware.

And not all "mineral spirits" are the same. Some lighter fractions remove rosin quite well, while others do not.

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