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Aug 8, 2023 - 5:14:54 AM
962 posts since 9/3/2022

I know it's hard to answer without photos but a work colleague has offered up a free violin that's painted "white" of all colors...

I haven't seen it yet but he said I could have it. I thought if anything, it might look cool to hang on the wall. But my question is, do you think it's possible to remove paint from a violin and revive it back to natural wood? I suspect no but, crazier things have been done I'm sure. Once I get it in my hands, I might have a better idea if it's worth it or not. Anyone ever attempt to remove paint?

Aug 8, 2023 - 5:36:55 AM
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DougD

USA

11987 posts since 12/2/2007

Sure. It depends on what kind of paint it is. Lacquer can be dissolved with lacquer thinner or maybe acetone. For other types you'll just have to experiment. This will probably also remove any finish that might be on the instrument, so you'll likely have to start from scratch if you want it to have a finish.
You can also sand paint off too.

Aug 8, 2023 - 10:30:02 AM
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RichJ

USA

989 posts since 8/6/2013

You might want to just string it up and play it. Who knows???
I'd close my eyes to play a sweet sounding ugly fiddle any day. lol

Aug 8, 2023 - 10:35:01 AM
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Erockin

USA

962 posts since 9/3/2022

quote:
Originally posted by RichJ

You might want to just string it up and play it. Who knows???
I'd close my eyes to play a sweet sounding ugly fiddle any day. lol


I totally considered that! This will def be a project that I will complete in it's entirety. Once I get it, I'll post some photos. If it's not 4/4 size, I will most likely just hang it. But yes, playing a solid white fiddle might be just the way to go. Pics soon!

Aug 8, 2023 - 10:46:34 AM
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1532 posts since 3/1/2020

Yes, it’s possible, provided the instrument hidden under the paint is decent and that the wood has not become compromised by whatever was put on it.

I would caution that the violins that receive paint jobs tend to be the worst of the worst, though. There are of course some exceptions, but be prepared for the usual.

There are a number of paint and varnish stripping products available that can take the paint off. If you strip it, be thorough—even the smallest spots that remain will really stick out when it’s revarnished. Also keep in mind that the wood will likely be raw once you’ve stripped it and will need a new ground before colored varnish is applied.

Aug 11, 2023 - 9:33:45 PM
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42 posts since 9/18/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Erockin

I know it's hard to answer without photos but a work colleague has offered up a free violin that's painted "white" of all colors...

I haven't seen it yet but he said I could have it. I thought if anything, it might look cool to hang on the wall. But my question is, do you think it's possible to remove paint from a violin and revive it back to natural wood? I suspect no but, crazier things have been done I'm sure. Once I get it in my hands, I might have a better idea if it's worth it or not. Anyone ever attempt to remove paint?


Worked out pretty good for this fiddler:  https://youtu.be/2XECwQ2X59o

Aug 12, 2023 - 1:15:46 AM
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1532 posts since 3/1/2020

Mark O’Connor’s white violin is the exception to the norm. The painted violins you find for under $100 online or in places that don’t typically carry violins aren’t going to be anything like that. If the violin was something better that was vandalized by being painted over, there’s a little better chance of making it into something again. Unfortunately paint or dark varnish are often used to conceal a lot of sins.

Aug 18, 2023 - 6:25:15 PM
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11493 posts since 3/19/2009

WHen your colleague said it was painted white, was it white when made or was it painted later? I've often wondered about the wood quality under factory painted violins..Can you elaborate?

Sep 27, 2023 - 5:47:53 PM
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455 posts since 6/26/2007

If it was painted over violin varnish.... Try some xylol (xylene), the luthier's go-to for removing built-up rosin. It will dissolve a remarkable variety of otherwise durable materials (including your brain and liver, so remember ventilation and/or respirator!), but won't hurt shellac-based finish at all. Depending on the paint, it will either come off or it won't, but it won't hurt anything to try.

Sep 27, 2023 - 9:19:10 PM
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1532 posts since 3/1/2020

Xylene is a very powerful solvent. Just like any other chemical, it is not a good idea to go straight to a powerful solvent without knowing what is in the varnish and testing carefully. Although some luthiers do use xylene, I certainly wouldn’t call it the standard. There are many alternatives that are less toxic and equally effective.

Sep 28, 2023 - 4:07:42 AM

Erockin

USA

962 posts since 9/3/2022

Update....I'm still waiting to obtain this said instrument. lol. He's a traveling boss that reminds me every time he sees me that he'll bring that in next time he visits his moms house. Sheesh, I hope he's at least visited and forgot the violin...lol

Nov 2, 2023 - 9:29:40 PM
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284 posts since 11/26/2013

I played for 35 years on a white Barcus-Berry fiddle. Back then they were using Hofner violins for their fiddles with the built in system. Now a days they use cheap CHinese violins (maybe even VSO's), their quality has gone way way down.

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