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Scratch through to the wood - fix it or leave it?
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Advanced member
December 10, 2017 - 5:51 am
Member Since: June 12, 2017
Forum Posts: 84
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 So I managed to do exactly what I knew I'd do, despite being so careful. I put a mark on my brand new FM Soloist that Ive only had for like 3 weeks. I've been trying out chinrests the last couple of weeks and of course I managed to put the key all the way through when tightening it yesterday. It made quite the sound which I hoped was just the sound of the screw. But sure enough, when I removed the chinrest, there it was. 

The look of it horrifies me but I'm trying not to panic about it as dents and scratches are bound to happen over time. And sratches from changing chinrests I bet are quite common. I'ts tiny, but my concern is that it's deep and goes all the way in to the wood. I googled and read that this can cause damage to the wood over time, as it get more sensitive to moisture etc. 

My question is; should I get it fixed by a luthier as soon as possible, or could I wait a few months to do it? (as money is tight right now) Or if I can just get violin varnish myself and just put on it as it's so small and in a place where it's not really seen much? I understand that the wood when exposed need to be sealed and I don't know if this is something that the varnish does if I'd do it myself?

There are so many different opinions online about these things, most of it from non-luthiers, so I'm not sure what's best.

If there is no real risk of further damage to the instrument due to exposed wood, I will not care about it and learn to live with it. 

Ferenc Simon

December 10, 2017 - 6:44 am
Member Since: September 24, 2017
Forum Posts: 252
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I'd say there's no real risk of anything happening from that, especially if it's a center mounted chin-rest since you have the massive end-block there and just a centimeter away there's a giant hole drilled anyway where the tailpiece peg is plugged in. 

Even if it was on the side, there is absolutely no real risk of further damage I can think of aside from the beauty-mark you already have :) As for the violin becoming more sensitive to moisture due to a tiny scratch, I highly doubt that, since it's not a sealed instrument... you have your F holes and the inside isn't varnished at all so violins ARE sensitive to moisture by default, which a tiny scratch on the outside won't amplify. 

It's still a pain to notice something like that so I know how you feel...., but I don't think you have any cause for concern.

Oh and I'm not a luthier either... I just watched a bunch of videos about how violins are made and didn't see anything there that would indicate a surface scratch of that size would matter much :)  




December 10, 2017 - 7:00 am
Member Since: February 11, 2014
Forum Posts: 633
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And that goes to several levels.
First congrats for sacrificing enough to fund a soloist. That took a big gulp. And I'm sure you found it worthwhile.
Second congrats on making this violin yours. That small minor detail of your violin will be with you forever. Enjoy it.
The varnish on the soloist is very light and is easily disturbed. You will create more memories in its character lines as you continue with it.
Third, file that wrench so that it will never touch a violin again. It does not need to project much.
As for the scratch, I would leave it alone.

Advanced member
December 10, 2017 - 2:51 pm
Member Since: June 12, 2017
Forum Posts: 84
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@Ferenc Simon I can't believe that I didn't think of that at all, that the inside is just naked wood. Feel like a facepalm-moment. Then I'm not going to worry about that part. Maybe the varnish in the area of the scratch will be affected though in the long run? But then again, varnish wears off over time anyway. 

@MrYikes I'd prefer NOT making it mine that way, it bugs the hell out of me. :P  
I was going to go for the FM Master but since I had it shipped overseas I decided that I might as well put in a little bit extra. Especially since I wanted something that will last me for a very long time, not planning on buying another one later down the line. And having invested so much, I wont let myself give up on learning. 

I also decided to use the SAS chinrest for now, so that wrench is not coming anywhere near the acoustic again! 


December 10, 2017 - 3:39 pm
Member Since: June 7, 2016
Forum Posts: 373
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Ferenc said most of what I was going to.

The varnish on the outside it to protect it more from dirt and droplets of moisture, rather than humidity. Sweat is the only likely threat (and random dust in the air).  You're not terribly likely to get much sweat in it (the rest of the chinrest tends to keep you from touching it), and dirt won't hurt the playing any.

I'd say do get more varnish on it, but there's no tearing rush.  I'd spend the time asking luthiers how to do it, and do it yourself. You might want to submit it to Fiddlerman's "Ask a Luthier" email address, [email protected].

I just looked on Youtube, and I couldn't find one where they addressed that. You're not the only person in the world who's got an issue like that, so I imagine it would be a popular video. This being Christmas season, it might be longer than usual before they can get to it, though.

Another option would be one of the wax crayons they use for scratches on furniture. It shouldn't hurt the varnish any, but might be impossible to get completely out if you later wanted to treat it some other way.  They come in a lot of colors and are easy to use, though, so if you mainly care about looks and keeping dirt and water out of the scratch, they might be a possibility.

Fort Lauderdale
December 14, 2017 - 10:52 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16074

@Bella86 - if you ever visit us in the states, we'll touch that up for free. You'll probably make more marks before that and in a way, it's OK. It shows that the instrument is being used and is alive. :)
If you can get furniture markers in your area, you can probably touch that up so that no one besides yourself, will notice is and you won't be so bothered by it. Usually the furniture markers have around 5 colors in which you can test on a piece of wood to find the closest match.

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

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