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I Removed Chinrest, but Cork is Stuck to the Violin's Varnish
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December 23, 2017 - 12:49 pm
Member Since: July 24, 2017
Forum Posts: 43
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I decided to play without the chinrest today (as an experiment, and I'd like to continue for a while without the chinrest).

After I unscrewed the clamps, I discovered that the cork part was glued to the violin.  A little tug got the chinrest off, but the cork is stuck to both the front and back of the violin.

My options are: 1) just leave it as is, 2) try to pry it away with my fingernail, and hope the varnish or wood doesn't get damaged, 3) use some type of liquid violin polish or cleaner that won't damage the varnish, or 4) anything else?

I imagine this might be a somewhat common problem, since varnish can stay tacky even after a long period, and the chinrest might have been installed when the varnish was still a little wet.  This is a Strobel Eastman violin from 2006, that I bought used.


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December 24, 2017 - 7:28 am
Member Since: February 11, 2014
Forum Posts: 633
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I would leave it alone. You will probably put the cr back on after a couple of months. I did. It's fun to play without the cr and shoulder rest, liberating. But then after a while the negatives start showing up. Nothing big so you may like it forever that way.
I think that it sometimes is a combination of soft varnish and adhesives in the cork that cause the situation, some "airing out" may help them just fall off. I do not know what WD40 would do to your varnish, but I have used it on mine without harm.

Fort Lauderdale
December 28, 2017 - 12:53 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15831

Peeling it away with your nails is not a bad idea. Don't try to get everything off, but just the cork. This is super common and the cork is glued to the varnish now. More time is necessary to fully cure the varnish than is given before the chin-rests are installed plus varnishes are made to be soft so as not to dampen the vibrations too much.
One option is to paint alcohol, providing it's an alcohol based varnish, over the area after you have removed as much cork as possible, and wait a few minutes. Repeat this until the varnish has softened enough to repair itself. Don't use too much alcohol. We sometimes paint the brush on a piece of paper to absorb excess alcohol to get a dryer application.
No guarantees!!! Attempt this at your own risk :)

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