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Could Chinese violin finish contain lead?
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DanielB
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May 31, 2012 - 8:18 pm
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I was scraping the rather thick finish off a probably Chinese made "free" bow and ended up getting a speck of the finish material in my mouth.  It tasted sweet.  That sets off a warning flag in my head that some of the finishes on the assorted inexpensive violins and bows might contain lead acetate, which is still used in many parts of the world to speed drying.

Sealed in a finish like that, I don't *think* it would be a hazard to adults, except maybe being worth a bit of extra caution and a dust mask and proper disposal if refinishing.  But I thought of the assorted "cute" vids I've seen of toddlers with those teeny 1/32 or whatever violins.  It might seem like a cool idea to parents wanting to encourage an early interest in music, but I think there might be some chance that the finish and possibly the coloring materials may not actually be safe for small children who might put the instrument or bow in their mouth.  If someone did want to give a small violin to a small child as a gift, it might be an idea to call the local board of environmental health.  Take the instrument in to their office and they have a scanner that could tell if there are heavy metals in it and if they are at a level high enough to be concerned about.  It wouldn't hurt or mar the instrument at all, and then you'd know for sure it was safe.

There have been some problems over the years with Chinese manufacturers using lead-containing pigments and finishes even on items marketed as children's toys.  I really doubt the rules about such things even address musical instruments, so it might be better to be safe than sorry.

I doubt anyone here would let a toddler chew on an antique violin or bow, but any finished wood made before recent years might have lead or other heavy metals in the pigments or finish. 

Most of the worry would be from small children chewing on the finished wood or (lower risk) repeatedly handling such an item and then putting their fingers in their mouth or etc.

I may be worrying about nothing here, but I figured I should kick the idea up in case it may be of interest to anyone.  We had lead problems with my youngest child, and had to do some lead removal of old paint on some window frames, so I tend to maybe be a bit more likely to worry about such things than average.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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TerryT
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As a buyer obtaining product world-wide, I have worked for companies that deliberately keep away from Chinese products as other companies experiences have been that if the correct material has not been available, or another material is cheaper, it may have been used as a substitute.
That maybe ok if you are making children's toys, but if your parts are safety critical, for automobile braking systems or aircraft parts, you cannot afford to risk it.
And materials that are banned in the US or UK may not be so in China, as per the lead paint case a while ago.
The amount in one bow, if used at all, may not be a problem, but I try never to put in my mouth anything that I don't know what it is, or it's origin. It's called common-sense and self-preservation

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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NoirVelours
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June 1, 2012 - 8:06 am
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Ok... either I don't have common sense or I'm stuck in a toddler phase because I put my bow in my mouth probably every practice... You know when clicking on accomp. music mp3's, a video or trying to rearrange my music sheets on my music stand. Instead of putting down the bow to use my hands I keep the violin on shoulder and bit my bow gently then use my hands. I've been careful of course to not leave teeth marks on the bow. I have no idea if my bow is chinpink-violin-girlese or not though...

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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Oliver
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June 1, 2012 - 4:24 pm
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Oh no !!!  facepalm

Not gourmet bows.   Shar would snap that right up ($).

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
June 2, 2012 - 8:45 am
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Maybe I can make some money on a sweet tasting bow. smile

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Late bloomer
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June 2, 2012 - 9:28 am
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Yea, peppermint stick bow with angle hair pasta strings.

Sounds Good!!  dazed

No matter where you go, there you are!

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Fiddlerman
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June 3, 2012 - 7:08 am
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LOL LB,

I think that it would actually be possible on the surface anyway. Don't know how long it would last for NV though. smile

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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DanielB
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June 3, 2012 - 7:58 am
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The question would be whether it would be better marketing to sell flavored bows or some sort of drops or maybe something like a chapstick that could be applied to the bow stick.  I can see it now...

Fiddlerman's Magic Bow Flavors (patent pending).. Why settle for a boring traditional flavored bow when you can try one of our 17 delicious flavors instead to add a bit more interest into your playing?   Yes, now you too can have a bow that tastes like kiwi-strawberry, cherry-vanilla, chocolate-mint, grape, fruit punch, or any of the other 17 tempting flavors including our newest flavor, hickory smoked gator jerky.  Try some today, and the critics will never again be able to say your performances are 'tasteless'.  

  Disclaimer: Fiddlerman.com is not responsible for any damages that may result from additional drool getting on your bowhair, and all rehairing or refinishing of bows will be at the buyer's own expense.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Oliver
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June 3, 2012 - 8:12 am
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I would hope that any "designer" bows would include suitable aromas.  Maybe chocolate smell for Baroque (?)  Seems right to me.  And what should a Blue Grass bow smell like ?  ( one guess ) ?  Etc.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Late bloomer
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June 3, 2012 - 9:21 am
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Hey, oliver I like the aroma idea even better, only problem is .

If you make it smell like the music sounds. Mine would have to smell like S---!exactly

No matter where you go, there you are!

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springer
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Ooooh yuck pooooo nasty.b-slappartyred_cursingred_cursing

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Crazymotive
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I grew up in an era where lead was in almost all paints and toxic chemicals were in almost every product and  I don't thi thi thinkkk it a a afe afec afec affected m m m me...

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Fiddlestix
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Oliver said
I would hope that any "designer" bows would include suitable aromas.  Maybe chocolate smell for Baroque (?)  Seems right to me.  And what should a Blue Grass bow smell like ?  ( one guess ) ?  Etc.

Being it Blue Grass, I'm sure the bow would have to smell and taste like Corn Liquor ?drooling

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Fiddlerman
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June 4, 2012 - 8:01 am
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That's hilarious Daniel. Good chance that it would be successful to some degree.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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cdennyb
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Fiddlestix said

Oliver said
I would hope that any "designer" bows would include suitable aromas.  Maybe chocolate smell for Baroque (?)  Seems right to me.  And what should a Blue Grass bow smell like ?  ( one guess ) ?  Etc.

Being it Blue Grass, I'm sure the bow would have to smell and taste like Corn Liquor ?drooling

Mine's not a bluegrass fiddle bow but on ocassion it DOES seem like it tastes like Corn Likor... lol or maybe it's just an aftertaste and not the bow afterall.

cheers

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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springer
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cheersI want one, I want one - PLEASE!!!!!! devil-violindevil-violindevil-violindevil-violindevil-violin

 

drummerserenade

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EJ-Kisz
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roflol  You guys MUST have grown up in the "lead-era!"  .....but so did I and this all sounds great!!

Funny thing is, after playing out this last time by a campfire, my violin smelled like smoke/campfire for about 2 weeks!!  It drove me crazy!!  I finally had to let it sit out of my case for a few days to air out!  But still, every now and then, if I hit a note just right, you get the aroma of campfire! rofl

 

Maybe you can come up with f-hole air fresheners as well as the flavored bows & rosins!!!  I would DEFINITELY buy those!!!!

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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DanielB
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No no no.. don't get *rid* of the campfire smell.

 Just compose 'Campfire Sonata for Violin in G major" or something, and when you play it and people actually smell a campfire for a few seconds, they will think you are just that amazing!   "Such evocative music.. Why for a moment, I could almost actually smell the campfire.."

devil

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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suresh
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cheerleaderCongratulations DanielB! You are now a Honarary Advisor(after 199 posts).

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it ..(William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night)

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EJ-Kisz
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DanielB said
No no no.. don't get *rid* of the campfire smell.

 Just compose 'Campfire Sonata for Violin in G major" or something, and when you play it and people actually smell a campfire for a few seconds, they will think you are just that amazing!   "Such evocative music.. Why for a moment, I could almost actually smell the campfire.."

devil

LOL, I never thought about that!!  I'll definitely use it!!  Maybe next time I play out, I'll hand out marshmallows!!  tongue

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

SkullSmall-1.jpg

 

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