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Help with unknown violin ID


P J Lester
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Just another way to make an instrument look a bit like an antique along with a screwdriver:

In the dim and distant past I restored a number of English country chairs which were mostly hand made or 'bodged' in the woods around HIgh Wycombe during C19th. The standard finish of the day involved dipping them in a tank of urine to stain the different woods uniformly and then apply a shellac based laquer.

After 150 years of use in someone's smoky and/or damp cottage the parts that weren't polished or rubbed constantly through use had invariably turned black. This gave the impression of a nice brown polished finish with horrible gunky black stuff on it. The latter could be relatively easily 'cleaned up' with a standard linseed oil/methylated spirit mix and a bit of fine wire wool if desired, or left as the patina of age. 

 

 

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  • 9 months later...
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 "The dark varnish that Bass Clef likes, is more the sort prevalent in Vienna and many other Füssen diaspora regions from about 1730 until about 1815 and is of an entirely superior nature"

Most assuredly so...

In doing a little cleaning/polishing with a commercial violin cleaning solution the so called dark "varnish" transferred from the violin to the cleaning cloth with minimum resistance. Something akin to semi dry oil paint encountering turpentine. Within a very short time all said varnish was gone and this violin is now displaying it's attractive , what I assume to be original orange/red varnish. My conclusion is that a previous owner decided he/she wanted a black violin and used whatever was on hand to achieve the desired effect. I will post photos for those interested shortly.

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 "This gave the impression of a nice brown polished finish with horrible gunky black stuff on it. The latter could be relatively easily 'cleaned up' with a standard linseed oil/methylated spirit mix and a bit of fine wire wool if desired, or left as the patina of age" - Bob K

I had not seen Bob's comment previous to my last post.

PRECISELY!

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9 minutes ago, pipper said:

 "This gave the impression of a nice brown polished finish with horrible gunky black stuff on it. The latter could be relatively easily 'cleaned up' with a standard linseed oil/methylated spirit mix and a bit of fine wire wool if desired, or left as the patina of age" - Bob K

I had not seen Bob's comment previous to my last post.

PRECISELY!

Phew! - good job it turned out well. I've just re-read my post above, which was more of a comment on the black gunky stuff and a method I've used for restoring the finish on furniture such as rustic chairs.  I would be more careful with a violin and only tinker with mass produced trade fiddles. Where necessary, I use a commercial cleaning solution that I get from Beare & son in the UK but I'm sure there are many similar products.

If anyone who's reading this has a nice violin that needs cleaning take it to a professional for advice first!

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