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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Fiddle polish

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

old cowboy - Posted - 03/27/2021:  12:55:13

What do you polish your fiddles with? For years I used a good furniture polish on my guitars, such as Old English and then was told that was all wrong! Funny it worked for 60 yrs!

ChickenMan - Posted - 03/27/2021:  13:39:33

A clean dry cloth. Don't use polish on your fiddle, it's not sealed like furniture is sealed.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 03/27/2021:  15:00:09


Originally posted by ChickenMan

A clean dry cloth. Don't use polish on your fiddle, it's not sealed like furniture is sealed.

Yes, stay away from polishes! They contaminate the varnish and seep into any exposed wood or cracks. The residue left behind can do a lot of harm over time. A dry cloth used every time you play will keep the instrument safe. If there's more accumulation, take it to a reputable luthier who is equipped with the professional products and expertise to handle different varnishes. 

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 03/27/2021:  18:00:07

A clean damp cloth and a clean dry cloth. I bought a bundle of inexpensive white washcloths years ago and they have stood me in good stead. I had to wash then before using them the smelled strongly of bleach.

KCFiddles - Posted - 03/29/2021:  12:56:08

I agree with all the above. I routinely work on fiddles/ violins that are well over 100 years old, and it's bad enough cleaning off decades worth of rosin and sweat and skin oil without having to deal with furniture wax and similar crud. Oils of any sort make repairs harder. Just keep it clean. Damp cotton cloth, followed by dry cotton cloth, and wipe all the rosin off after playing. A lot of my customers put in a LOT of hours playing, and every so many years I'll strip their fiddle down, clean it well, and restore the varnish where it's worn off and repair any other damage, and re-do the setup.

boxbow - Posted - 03/29/2021:  15:08:51

I occasionally buff mine with a soft clean rag. For a while now it's been a retired ragg wool hiking sock. It has not improved my playing one bit. For the more stubborn spots, it's a couple of puffs of breath to steam it up and more elbow grease. My fiddles don't live hard lives, so it's minor maintenance more than anything. There remains some stubborn rosin on the belly at the end of the fingerboard, but it's minimal and doesn't seem to be getting any worse.

So. Elbow grease and heavy breathing.

luthier65 - Posted - 04/03/2021:  10:22:20

The BEST polish is the one that you do not use.

KCFiddles - Posted - 04/05/2021:  15:09:36

I just sold a very high end viola made by Leo Aschauer in 1965. The same woman had owned and played it since new. It showed lots of playing wear, but otherwise looked like new. The owner, a woman I know, loved her instrument and took very good care of it. She never applied any polish to it, just wiped it down after playing and periodically cleaned sweat and oil and makeup off of it. This instrument was just a very good case in point.

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