Should I be worried about scratches from Fine Tuning Levers?

July 18, 2019, 11:04 PM · I was shifting my residence. There were couple of instances when the instrument might have been handled roughly by logistics person while moving with rest of the luggage. The Instrument was inside a hard case. When I opened the case, the bridge had fallen and the fine-tuning levers had scraped the varnish exposing the white wood. (I have attached link to the images describing the present state of the instrument below). I don't have expert Luthiers nearby. Are those scratches something I should be worried about with regards to wood deterioration or should i leave it alone. Is there any minor touch up work I could do on my own like using regular wood varnish? The violin sound has not been affected though.

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Replies (11)

July 19, 2019, 12:07 AM · I don't have an answer for you, but OUCH. I would be pissed.

Actually I have some bare spots on one of my violins, around the bridge feet, and my luthier said not to worry about it.

July 19, 2019, 1:45 AM · Bare spots in white are bad thing, my luthiers told me. He has put something black as filling as first aid
July 19, 2019, 1:48 AM · on cheaper violins you can use magic marker of the same colour as the varnish, be sure to test it first on a plain piece of wood
Edited: July 19, 2019, 2:18 AM · you need to get a Wittner tailpiece, with built-in fine-tuner, rather than these horrible metal things that inevitably damage the wood underneath - even without collapsing bridge.
July 19, 2019, 6:33 AM · What Lyndon wrote!
July 19, 2019, 7:27 AM · The horse has unfortunately escaped the paddock this time, but there will doubtless be other similar occasions when the violin could be at risk. My recommendations to minimize the risk are,
1) Put a cloth or chamois firmly under the tailpiece to protect the wood.
2) In order to minimise the sound post falling in the event of a bridge collapse, keep pressure on the top table by wrapping a cloth round the violin's waist, holding the cloth in place by a tightened strap. The idea is to maintain a similar pressure on the sound post to that of the strings on the bridge.
3) Consider taping the pegs in place so that they can't move - of course if you have geared pegs . . . ;)
4) If the violin lies slightly loose in its case, pack it in firmly all around with cloth or chamois. I do this anyway with one of my violins.
5) There should be a blanket over the violin to protect it from a bow coming loose.
July 19, 2019, 12:08 PM · I’d feel gross if I opened my case and saw that!!!!

If you really cannot take it to a luthier even within a few months I’d get a varnish touch up pen from a home improvement store and match it best I could to help at least protect the wood. I would try that before a marker but Lyndon is pretty clever so there might be a better reason for using a marker that I don’t know about.

July 19, 2019, 12:19 PM · Was your bridge tilted in the wrong way. More than any other single issue, that could lead to a fallen bridge. Be sure that you understand how the bridge should stand, and how to correct it when it's wrong. This is something that requires constant attention.
Edited: July 19, 2019, 5:01 PM · Using a colored marker directly on bare wood can cause the wood to absorb color, resulting in a irreversible darker spot.
The correct technique would be to isolate the bare wood by applying clear and transparent coats, after which it will be possible to apply any color without it being absorbed by the wood, resulting in a reversibility of the touch up (it can be removed completely thanks to the protection of the clear layer without the wood is irreversibly stained).
Applying only this protective clear layer is enough to protect the wood and prevent dirt from penetrating deeply with time and with an irreversible staining effect(dark spots).
Clear dewaxed shellac is quite good for this purpose, applied with care on the exposed bare wood areas only with a very thin brush.

Having said that, if the violin has a very low value there will not be much to compromise and even using a colored marker will not be so bad, after all the area under the tailpiece is not so visible and the value of the violin will not be depreciated by many thousands of dollars, so it is up to the common sense of everyone whether to make these DIY touch up or if to spend some money bringing it from a luthier for a professional and invisible state-of-the-art touch-up work.
But we must be aware that if the wood has absorbed the color it will not be possible to restore things and remake an invisible touch-up, even for the most expensive restoration shop.

July 19, 2019, 6:21 PM · I wouldn't bother with the revarnishing shenanigans and just scrape the rest of the varnish off. You're already part of the way there...
July 19, 2019, 8:28 PM · Cotton why?

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