Do you apply polish (or varnish cleaner) to your violin or cello?
When I purchased one of my violins, I asked the luthier if I should apply any polish to the instrument, and, if so, how often?
I was scolded.
The violiin has lasted very nicely for the past 100 years (96, actually, but I dared not interrupt!), and would cope equally well for another couple of centuries without me slapping wax or chemicals onto it.
OK. I got the message.
But, in my last cello lesson, my teacher gave me a bottle of "varnish cleaner", made by W.E. Hill & Sons, and showed me how to meticulously work it into a small area of the top plate.
So, what do I do now? Indeed, do you polish your instrument (and how is cleaning the varnish different to polishing)?
The only reason to polish an instrument is to make it look nice. Besides wiping rosin and gunk off the instrument, I don't see the point of cleaning the varnish unless it's actually got dirt on it.
Although I have purchased several bottles of different "violin cleaners" and polishers over the past 70 years I never used them much and not at all in the last 20 years after reading that the stuff can soak into the wood and spoil it and the SOUND it is supposed to support. I have been advised that if you can't clean it off with a bit of water, have a pro do it. Anything that might soak into the wood and not evaporate (oils. etc) might be damaging and should be avoided by ignorati like me (and most of us). Wax build-up is also something you want to avoid.
Graeme, your cello teacher is a little behind the times. We in the luthier trade don't generally recommend that cleaners or polishes be used any more.
The best polisher/cleaner is that one the player NEVER USES!!!!
Thank you people. I have a lot of confidence in the advice I have been offered here.