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Violin waxing

Hi Steve,
i have used an auto wax on the body of my violin. The wax is brand name "Mothers" California Gold. it is a carnauba paste wax and contains a cleaner. I apply with a soft cloth, let it dry to a haze and remove haze with a soft cloth. The violin finish is then clean, slick and shiny. The rosin dust that collects below the strings wipes off with no effort. Do you see any problem with using that wax?
Thanks for any answer and for your website.

Most commercial waxes contain silicone. They contain it because it works well. The down side is that it soaks through the finish and gets into the wood. Silicone in the wood is bad news if the finish ever needs to be patched or, god forbid, replaced. Luthiers try to avoid polish altogether (wiping with a soft, clean cloth does the trick) but, when polish is used, we use McGuire's. McGuire's products do not contain silicone.

Polishes made specifically for the musical instrument industry, Gibson Polish, Martin Polish, Knilling Polish, etc. don't contain silicone, but they have another red flag. The reason a violin stops shining is that it gets microscopic scratches in the finish that diffuse the light reflecting from it. Brand name polishes contain solvents that melt the top layer of the finish and smooth out the fine scratches. This thins the
finish in the same way that buffing thins the finish. On most instruments there is lots of finish to spare and losing some off the top doesn't hurt, but continuing the practice into the far distant future would be bad.

Top quality violins are finished with oil varnish. Middle quality violins are finished with spirit varnish (shellac). Bottom quality violins are lacquered. You can "shade" an oiled or spirit varnished violin by dipping a cloth in alcohol and rubbing on the places on a violin that are normally thinned by ware. The color is in the finish and as the finish gets thinner that spot gets lighter. Remember that some of the first violins ever made are still in use. Your violin may still be in use 500 years from now. You should consider all modifications to your violin in that light.

Steve Mason