how remove violin varnish

February 11, 2014 at 07:19 PM · how remove violin three conditions

1) violin painted by polyster

2) violin painted by alcohol varnish

3) violin painted by oil varnish

Replies (28)

February 11, 2014 at 09:05 PM · I would suggest searching the forum at:

They seem to have pretty much discussed everything to do with violin making st some point. :)

February 11, 2014 at 09:42 PM · My first thought would be a vapor degreaser. Try at your own risk.

February 11, 2014 at 11:19 PM · If you are talking about an existing violin, my advice is "nothing." Leave it alone.

February 12, 2014 at 12:55 AM · 1st rule of violin restoration, never remove any original varnish!!!

February 12, 2014 at 12:31 PM · Ok,sometime we need and there is no other some ads i've seen "revarnish" word.this word show there is a way for removing orginal varnish

February 12, 2014 at 09:43 PM · Revarnishing on average knocks 50% of the value of the violin, just because some idiots have done it doesn't make it right.

February 12, 2014 at 11:29 PM · "this word show there is a way for removing orginal varnish"

Of course, there are many ways to remove original varnish. NONE of them should be used except on an instrument you have made yourself.

February 13, 2014 at 12:44 AM · I would ask why you want to revarnish and what the approximate value of the instrument in its current state first. If it is a pink painted $50 "starter"...why not?

February 13, 2014 at 01:30 AM · Whatever you try, try it on a VSO first and be careful handling solvents. I wonder if a sandblasting enclosure might take care of the varnish as well as any scratches, etc.

February 13, 2014 at 03:52 AM · If it is a cheap VSO then go ahead. There are now small model 'sand blasters' that operate something like an airbrush. They are used to remove paint from things like model trains without damaging the surface so that is an idea worth exploring.

I have also seen enviromentally friendly paint strippers which do not use dangerous chemicals so I would google search for that too.

February 13, 2014 at 05:02 AM · Part of me understands the desire to strip one's violin of it's finish.

Back in July of 2011 I was trying to find information on my Knilling violin, made probably in the late '80s. Before posting a photograph a well know bow maker provided me with two possible models. I am positive the one he described as a Model #10 is what I have. Here is what he said:

”The #10 models were more of an orange color with a bullet-proof poly-ureathane finish, and a mediocre sound (because they were made heavy and then encased in a thick, plastic finish).”

After some work (mainly a neck lift and a new bridge, then later new pegs and better bow), I experimented until I found some strings that made the violin sound decent, for an old student violin.

Towards the end of August of 2012 I purchased my UCWV (Unlabeled Chinese Workshop Violin). I think I was very lucky with that find. It is a wonderful instrument, though I still do not like antiqued finishes.

I no longer have a desire to un-antique my UCWV, after a year and a half it is starting to take on a little different appearance and now has a personality and look I love dearly. I do still have a strong desire to strip the Knilling down as far as a solvent can take it and then give it a light oil finish. But I won't.

I have taken the chin rest off and plan to remove the rattlesnake rattle when I have spare time (like that's going to happen). Hopefully by summer I will find time to work on Ritchie's Before the Chinrest. If I accidentally drop the violin it will probably survive (I generally play sitting in a carpeted room). I don't plan to tie it to my neck.

But who knows, someday I might still strip it and add a little green to the varnish. I'm am somewhat Irish after all.

February 13, 2014 at 10:24 AM · Thanks

Is there any chemical?

Have you experienced something like this?

February 13, 2014 at 12:00 PM · There are commercial solvent ("chemical") mixtures that you can purchase at your local hardware store for paint and finish removal. One that is somewhat familiar to me is called "Zip Strip."

The chemicals in these products vary but dichloromethane seems to appear on many of the materials safety data sheets. Other chemicals that appear, not necessarily in particular combinations, include methanol, 2-butoxyethanol, acetone, toluene, and monoethanolamine.

The only "recommendation" I will make is that if you do use any type of solvent-based product, be sure to follow manufacturers' recommendations for its use. Proper skin and eye protection -- and excellent ventilation -- are essential.

February 13, 2014 at 02:30 PM · thanks paul to much

February 13, 2014 at 04:25 PM · Another stripper has his wings!!! Heaven help us!!

March 26, 2014 at 03:10 PM · Belt sander, 60 grit. Works every time!

Cheers Carlo

March 26, 2014 at 03:28 PM · Carlo, excellent. Remove varnish and regraduate all at the same time! ;)

March 26, 2014 at 04:56 PM · If you can't afford a belt sander, then I find a potato peeler works pretty good. And you get that antiqued texture effect in the process.

March 26, 2014 at 06:22 PM · @Elise, hard to get into the corners with a potato peeler. With my way there are no corners!

Cheers Carlo

March 27, 2014 at 09:33 PM · Actually it makes perfect sense if the undercoat is shiny and the varnish is missing above it, if there is any varnish or undercoat left it can take a shine, however usually it is indicative of a fake wear.

March 28, 2014 at 04:31 AM · dear elise,

what do you do if your potato peeler is on vacation?



March 28, 2014 at 07:40 AM · Buri: Vacation? My staff don't need 'vacations'. But if, say, they were inconveniently incapacitated by something - lets say death - then I'm sure the cook would get either the scullery or the kitchen maid to cover until the position can be refilled.

March 28, 2014 at 07:54 AM · aaaah. multi tasking. Nobody has any pride anymore.

March 28, 2014 at 04:19 PM · After I removed the varnish from my Rocca (I used xylene because it is carcinogous and will kill off any woodworm) I simply applied a light tan shoe polish and buffed it up real good. Fabulous!

March 28, 2014 at 04:58 PM · why would you need to take the varnish off?

Use commercial car paint remover. This will remove all kinds of varnish, then put the violin under water for a couple of weeks to remove the remover and it's ready for re varnishing.

I did this on my 1715 Barron de fouls Stradivari because I wanted it to have the same black colour all aver. I didn't like the different shades of colour it had before, although Charles Beard described it as having a lovely patina to the varnish in the certificate. Now the the violin is invisible in the dark. By the way, I used gloss spray paint.

An quick and easy solution is to use sand blasting.

March 29, 2014 at 12:42 AM · If you can't afford a belt sander, then I find a potato peeler works pretty good. And you get that antiqued texture effect in the process."

What is so wrong with removing varnish by dragging the fiddle on a rope behind your car?

I'll admit that the potato peeler sounds more artistic. :-)

March 31, 2014 at 09:06 AM · @David. I wouldn't do it your way, you risk damaging the rope.

Cheers Carlo

April 1, 2016 at 02:43 AM · Ordinary varnish paint and varnish remover from the hardware store works fine. The thick kind with methyl chloride as a key ingredient works best. It is nasty--you absolutely need rubber gloves and good ventilation--but it really works. I had to redo the varnish on a violin I made. It will not affect the wood or ordinary animal glue. It also does not really affect any wood sealers or stains that have entered the wood.

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