What varnish is used on violin?

Varnishes for violins tend to be either oil varnish, or sprit based varnish (also known as shellac) and in this post, we’ll take a look at oil varnish. We know how good some old oil-based varnish recipes are because some renowned violin makers have been using varnishes based on centuries-old recipes.

How do you oil varnish a violin?


  1. Put one coat of Madder tincture on the back of the violin.
  2. If the color looks good to you, apply to the remaining parts of the violin.
  3. Let dry for at least an hour or two otherwise you risk dissolving the last layer when putting on a fresh one.
  4. Repeat until you think its red enough.

How do you restore a varnish on a violin?

To restore the wood finish of your violin, you must first wipe off all dust and dirt with a microfiber cloth. Then, using a small amount of violin polish on a different cloth, wipe the body of the violin along the grain of the wood, using long strokes. Follow this up by cleaning your strings.

What is used to finish a violin?

Violin varnish
Violin varnish is applied with a brush in two or more coats. It is composed of sun-thickened oils such as linseed or walnut, oxidized resins and added coloring matter. Good historic Italian varnish is highly translucent and soft, yet friable.

Why are violins varnished?

Varnish is applied to protect the wood from the long-term effects of humidity and wear. Violin makers normally have their own particular method for applying varnish to finished instruments.

How do you make oil varnish?

The standard mixture is 1/3 Boiled Linseed Oil or Tung Oil, 1/3 thinner (mineral spirits, paint thinner, turpentine, naptha), and 1/3 varnish (poly, spar, etc..). Now the blend mentioned in Brian’s question involved using both linseed oil and tung oil.

What is oil varnish?

: a varnish consisting of a solution of natural or synthetic resins in a drying oil (as linseed oil or tung oil)

Can you use wood polish on violin?

Never, ever use household wood polish on your violin. They can leave deposits that negatively impact the sound of your instrument. Therefore, the best way to polish your instrument is to use your own breath, or have a luthier perform it. Keeping your violin clean and looking great really just requires regular wiping.

Can you Restain a violin?

Refinishing an instrument for aesthetics is not recommended. One of history’s great, unsolved mysteries is what makes the sound produced by the finest of Italian violins so magnificent.

Can you clean a violin with olive oil?

Olive oil would be fine for polishing a new instrument because the varnish will be in its finest, most protective state at the moment. On the other hand, olive oil will never dry, so any dust or dirt will stick to the instrument until it’s cleaned again.

Can you use beeswax on a violin?

No, it will ruin your bow hair and doesn’t work. It would likely have the very opposite effect that you’re intending.

What kind of light do you need to varnish a violin?

Oil varnishes need UV light to speed up the oxidization of oil. It is best and often fastest to put the violin out in the sun. For this, get a length of firm string {a fishing synthetic line is great} and attach it somewhere, where the sun shines most of the day.

What kind of resin is used for violin varnish?

Violin varnishes are clear, protective layers on the wood, traditionally composed of the clear, more or less hard resins of various plants. One example of such a resin is common rosin, which is related to the clear drops of “sap” one sometimes sees dripping down the sides of pine trees.

How long does it take for varnish to dry on a violin?

Put the violin in the box or outside to dry. Allow at least a day or two per layer. Use your finger to check how the varnish is curing. When it ceases to be sticky to the touch, you can go over the surfaces removing any zits and dirt with your nail.

What’s the best way to apply spirit varnish?

Spirit varnishes are usually brushed on in a large number of highly dilute coats, so each coat, and each mistake, might represent 5% or less of the total effect and blend in, finally. The easiest and safest way to apply spirit varnishes is by spraying with a spray gun or airbrush.