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Finish for a chin rest?


Gary M
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This is a Noob question but I am having trouble finding an answer on line so I will try it here. "What kind of finish, if any, do you put on a chin rest?" 

I am making a new custom chin rest for a redish colored violin. I made a pattern of my jawline using modeling clay and am replicating it as close as possible in a block of Basswood as a test piece. Basswood is relatively easy to carve which is why I choose that but it is way too soft for daily wear and tear.

The final piece will probably be of Rosewood since I have a nice chunk of that handy but I am open to other options. Also the Rosewood already has a nice color and I am trying to avoid the Nitric acid thing if I can.

Should also mention that I am using my current instrument's chin rest as an overall pattern. It is a Guarneri style model. That is my favorite for comfort so far.

Violin.jpg

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12 hours ago, Violadamore said:

IMHO, using any sort of applied coating or treatment on any part that spends as much time in contact with your body as a chinrest does is iffy.  Some things attack the body, and some things the body attacks.  :)

I'm with you on this. What would you think of a few coats of fukiurushi? Once cured that stuff is pretty resistant. Guess it's just the application that's dicey

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18 hours ago, chiaroscuro_violins said:

I've been using rottenstone and mineral oil.  Is this problematic?  A good system?  

I prefer to use a drying oil (on fingerboards too) so the oil won't continue to move through the wood and saturate it. Pure tung oil is more durable than linseed oil, and is available as a "food-safe" product. One downside is that if it hasn't been heat treated or semi-polymerized, any remaining on the surface can dry with a micro-wrinkled finish, appearing whitish, so if using raw, be sure to wipe all excess off the surface before it dries.

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I do not make violins and only do some maintenance and very minor repairs on my own instruments - but I have been playing for 82 years.

I use an M.E. Strings chinrest cover on all my violins and violas: :https://www.ebay.com/itm/ME-String-Chinrest-Cover-for-Violin-and-Viola-Preventing-Clamp-Contact-with-Neck-/322109345547

These cotton covers are made for Guarneri-style chinrests but they also work well on the "original Stuber" chinrests that I use.  In lieu of thee I would use chamois and fashion mu own cover (did that for decades).

With one of these it does not matter what kind of finish you use on your chinrst.

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1 hour ago, JacksonMaberry said:

I'm with you on this. What would you think of a few coats of fukiurushi? Once cured that stuff is pretty resistant. Guess it's just the application that's dicey

AFAIK, urushi lacquer and drying oils like @David Burgess recommends, are nontoxic/non-allergenic, and insoluble in body oils and sweat once cured'.  However, urushi has a plastic-like slick texture on smooth surfaces, which could be uncomfortable on a chinrest, especially in hot weather.  I use urushi primarily on saya (which ride in your obi), and to permeate tsuka wraps, which are anything but smooth.

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9 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

AFAIK, urushi lacquer and drying oils like @David Burgess recommends, are nontoxic/non-allergenic, and insoluble in body oils and sweat once cured'.  However, urushi has a plastic-like slick texture on smooth surfaces, which could be uncomfortable on a chinrest, especially in hot weather.  I use urushi primarily on saya (which ride in your obi), and to permeate tsuka wraps, which are anything but smooth.

Right, thanks for this. A friend of mine who's a smith in BC (check him out on Instagram @islandblacksmith) told me the fukiurushi, wiped on, wiped off, lets you keep some wood texture so I thought that might be a possibility for fiddle furniture. I haven't worked with urushi of any kind (yet, but I'm currently mounting a sunnobi tantō of the Kagemitsu style) though so I defer to your expertise.

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10 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

AFAIK, urushi lacquer and drying oils like @David Burgess recommends, are nontoxic/non-allergenic, and insoluble in body oils and sweat once cured'.  However, urushi has a plastic-like slick texture on smooth surfaces, which could be uncomfortable on a chinrest, especially in hot weather.  I use urushi primarily on saya (which ride in your obi), and to permeate tsuka wraps, which are anything but smooth.

I'm not sure I wanted to know about your saya, which rides in your obi. Them sounds a bit too much like female anatomy parts. :D

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A soft buffing wheel loaded with some Bon Ami,(calcium carbonate) or some diatomaceous earth,,,and a touch of olive oil made into a paste like consistency will polish rosewood or ebony,, or any hardwood to look like glass without any finish on it. The oil ends up drying and holding it all together. At first, it slings out a bit, but after that it's a treat.

I have a buffing wheel I loaded with these things that has lasted for years, and will last much longer than I will.

It leaves things dry and polished like you've never seen. It just lasts and lasts.

Other polishing compounds always leave a reside all over that has to be cleaned off, what a mess.

This leaves pegs, nuts, fingerboards,and  chinrests, clean, very smooth and shiny, just a quick wipe with a soft cotton rag when done and Bang!

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This is how the chin rest came out. It is my first. The material is Rosewood. I used the Micro Mesh system as suggested in a previous post to polish it. No chemical finish yet. Let's see how it goes. Thanks for everyone's help.20211019_203711.thumb.jpg.d65161315147a7f29f6dd6226224563c.jpg

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Thanks. Yea, a couple of other people have pointed that out. I must have been channeling my Dad who was an award winning, master wood carver and carving tool maker. I was always amazed by his sharp clean lines and I try hard to emulate his style. Maybe not appropriate in this case.

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17 minutes ago, Gary M said:

Thanks. Yea, a couple of other people have pointed that out. I must have been channeling my Dad who was an award winning, master wood carver and carving tool maker. I was always amazed by his sharp clean lines and I try hard to emulate his style. Maybe not appropriate in this case.

Looks great though! Clearly skill runs in the family.

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