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Thread: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

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    Default How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    I am coming the the experts! I have a new Pava Pro Varnish finished A5. How do I care for this finish? I have tried just a soft cloth, but I want to be able to remove hand oil build up on neck and arm residue on top, etc. Is there a type of cleaner, polish, does a bit of water sprinkled on a cloth work?What is safe and effective? I am accustomed to nitro and need advice. Thank you so much! Dan

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    When I worked as a violin repairman and maker we used this.....

    https://www.savageclassical.com/prod...rument-polish/

    Great product, hopefully you can find it in a smaller bottle.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Thank you, Charley! Is there a technique? Thanks so much.

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    There is a description in the link that sums it up. The 100 ml bottle should last a loooong time.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    gosh dangit and I've never cleaned mine, just wiped it off every now and then

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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Usually a damp, damp not wet, cloth is all you need. Some finishes react to cleaners and varnish is less tolerant than lacquer.
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Usually a damp, damp not wet, cloth is all you need. Some finishes react to cleaners and varnish is less tolerant than lacquer.
    I agree with pops1 and would only add that new varnish can be particularly vulnerable. I don’t know when Pava and her team completed your A5, or what varnish they are using, but that finish could still be curing. I would err on the side of caution.
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    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    You can always email the Pava folks and get the best recommendation from the maker:

    https://pavamandolins.com/contact/

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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by John Soper View Post
    You can always email the Pava folks and get the best recommendation from the maker:

    https://pavamandolins.com/contact/
    That should be the first place to go.
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    My local luthier has always told me the go-to cleaning tool is a damp soft cloth. He also recommends Dunlop D65 used sparingly if I really want a cleaner, says to never use anything with silicone, and don't put wax on the finish cause it builds up , and should not be needed. The points made here about varnish are also worthy of note - I don't think I'd put anything on it for a while. Can't speak to the Nikco Verniiline that Charley recommended, but it seems to be made specifically for varnish, and he has experience with it. The Pava site has a FAQ with a Care and Feeding section that says this:
    The mandolin is finished with shellac. It is very durable and quite resistant to sweat, heat, and alcohol. To clean, your mandolin should be wiped with a dry or damp then dry t-shirt. Be careful not to snag the corner of the f hole when wiping. A small amount of lemon oil or guitar polish is ok.

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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    frets.com has excellent info on cleaning and way more
    Clark Beavans

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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Thanks all! These are very informative answers and suggestions. I really appreciate knowledge and experience. Dan

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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    This from Tom Ellis himself, found in the FAQ section on his Ellis Mandolin site. I would imagine it relates to the varnished Pava:

    "The varnish I use is very durable and quite resistant to sweat, heat, and alcohol, however it will still be curing and soft for 6 months or so. To clean, your mandolin should be wiped with a dry or damp then dry t-shirt. Be careful not to snag the corner of the f hole when wiping. A small amount of lemon oil or guitar polish is ok."

    I keep a micro fiber towel in the case for wiping mine down. Dampen like he said if needed for anything that doesn't wipe off. A clean bit of t-shirt would be excellent but I didn't have a spare one to give to the cause. I've never seen need for polish but ymmv.

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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wilson View Post
    This from Tom Ellis himself, found in the FAQ section on his Ellis Mandolin site. I would imagine it relates to the varnished Pava:

    "The varnish I use is very durable and quite resistant to sweat, heat, and alcohol, however it will still be curing and soft for 6 months or so. To clean, your mandolin should be wiped with a dry or damp then dry t-shirt. Be careful not to snag the corner of the f hole when wiping. A small amount of lemon oil or guitar polish is ok."

    I keep a micro fiber towel in the case for wiping mine down. Dampen like he said if needed for anything that doesn't wipe off. A clean bit of t-shirt would be excellent but I didn't have a spare one to give to the cause. I've never seen need for polish but ymmv.
    This is helpful, Mark. I just want to care for it right, from the start. Do you think an armrest would leave marks?

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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    If you are dealing with a shellac or French polish I would think that a compound used for cleaning a violin would work. Use sparingly. Less is really more.

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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    My violin mentor swore by spit and a soft cloth. Ymmv
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    Do you think an armrest would leave marks?
    Does your Pava have a date on the label? In the quotation above, Tom Ellis cited six months as an estimated time for his varnish finish to cure, and I’d be reluctant to add an armrest before that date. Truthfully, I’ve been reluctant to add an armrest to any mandolin I’ve bought new, or custom ordered, though I’ve readily installed them on used instruments that already showed signs of wear. Of course, this is where JeffD typically enters and reminds us that you only lose resale value if you plan to resell and that we should do everything we can to optimize an instrument as a tool for making music regardless.
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    I have an arm rest on my Brentrup. I don't always keep it on these days, but yes it left a mark. The varnish was 10 years old before I put it on. It doesn't bother me as this is my main gigging instrument and it shows it. I don't quite have a speed neck, but I am getting close from playing over the years, even wearing the color off the neck. Dings and things from hot humid gigs, the varnish will get soft in those environments and damage easily. The more I play it the better it gets. I play it for the sound, not how it looks. Yes I wish it was pristine, but I love it just the same. Hans told me "I build them to play, I am not sure some who bring them in play them. I can tell you play this." If it is ok with Hans it is ok with me.
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    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    I just tried Dave Harvey's Jubilee cleaner/polish on my Kimble and it works spectacularly. I did wait until the finish had fully cured (1 year) before using anything other than a damp cloth.

    Agree that Pava is probably the best source for info, but I think the finish on both are the same. It also worked great on my six year old F5S, which had some old beer can spray marks (which is another story entirely...)

    I have McClung armrests on both my instruments and they have not left any markings in the finish.

    https://cumberlandacoustic.com/product/jubliee-polish/
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Thanks all! I have enjoyed McClungs and Cumberland Acoustics on all my mandolins, but with this one I am being super careful. Kevin, I have some of Steve’s Jubilee polish. I will keep that in mind. Pat, I will look for a date. Otherwise, I will do a bit of asking with the Ellis site. Thank you! Dan

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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    I have not found anything better than Renaissance wax. It's a UK import and a bit pricey, but you can find it online. From Wikipedia website, " Renaissance wax is a brand of microcrystalline wax polish used in antique restoration and museum conservation around the world. Commonly used to polish and conserve metal objects, it is also used on gemstones and such organic materials as wood, ivory, and tortoiseshell."

  36. #22
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    I wipe my instruments off with a soft rag when I'm finished playing. They rarely need anything else.

    Beware of off the shelf polishes, especially on varnish finishes. Even some of the commercial guitar polishes have things in them that are bad for finishes. And if you use polishes often, the stuff will build up, and it can take a lot of work to safely remove the build up.

    Follow the manufacturer's instructions!!

    I do use a high grade violin polish or the Stew-mac polish in the repair shop from time to time. I use them sparingly.

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    Do you think an armrest would leave marks?
    Dan, I asked them about armrests. They said six months, then looked up the number for me and told me when the finish was finished on mine. They're really helpful, and respond to email pretty quickly.

  38. #24

    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Since when is shellac alcohol-resistant? Re: Pava site FAQ. Varnish according to Ellis.
    I’m thinking that whatever’s on that mandolin may be an open question, so go easy.
    Generally, even a well-known finish can suffer variable curing rates from a variety of sources. Could be slower than expected, or sometimes never. Too bad a mandolin has no door jambs to do testing on.

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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Alcohol is extremely invasive to shellac, other spirit [alcohol based] varnishes, and nitrocellulose lacquer, and can do serious damage immediately.
    Water is also an enemy of the above finishes, but does damage more slowly.

    The word "varnish" is used for an awful lot of things these days. Modern "conversion varnish", which might be somewhat less delicate, is now used by many instrument makers. And even some polyurethane products are now being labelled as "varnish." Or perhaps they are using a more traditional varnish. Only the manufacturer can give you that information.

    In any case, the best care for your instrument is to wipe it off with a soft rag after playing, and avoid frequent use of any kind of polish.
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-17-2020 at 2:54pm.

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