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

  1. #26
    Layer of Complexity Kevin Knippa's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Unless something has recently changed, varnished instruments out of the Ellis shop are finished in Epifanes Clear Varnish with Tru-Oil over that. Josh Lutrell does the finishing on both the Ellis and Pava instruments.

    Older instruments were finished with Behlen's Rockhard Table Top Varnish and Tru-Oil up until Behlen's changed the formulation.

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  3. #27
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    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.
    I was gonna say...

    I use a terrycloth sweat band / sleave on my right fore arm - instead of an arm rest. Just more comfortable for me. But I would not hesitate, were that to my taste, to put an arm rest on. Im not going to let some future unnamed buyer limit the joy I can have right now and.... well you know..
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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    funny....

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  5. #28
    Mando-Afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Hi JeffD! Yes, I hear ya. I have already commenced in using the t-shirt with a bit of dampness method Mark Wilson and others suggested for maintaining the shine while the varnish cures. I remember, but had forgotten, your sweatband method you describe here. I suppose a long sleeved shirt without buttons is another way to keep the skin off of the edge of the mandolin. I do like the look and find the armrests comfortable, but I was worrying maybe too much about the marks it could make (more like an imprint). I have heard a strip of soft leather for the padding rather than cork are more protective of the varnished edge -- is that true? Dan

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    Mando-Afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Knippa View Post
    Unless something has recently changed, varnished instruments out of the Ellis shop are finished in Epifanes Clear Varnish with Tru-Oil over that. Josh Lutrell does the finishing on both the Ellis and Pava instruments.

    Older instruments were finished with Behlen's Rockhard Table Top Varnish and Tru-Oil up until Behlen's changed the formulation.
    Does this mean that it is more durable, and that an armrest or polish would have a less detrimental potential? Did I get that right? Thank you, Kevin. Dan

  7. #30
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    something about lighter fluid?

    I like the idea of asking; however.

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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  9. #31
    Layer of Complexity Kevin Knippa'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
    Does this mean that it is more durable, and that an armrest or polish would have a less detrimental potential? Did I get that right? Thank you, Kevin. Dan
    What do you hope to accomplish with polish?

    The Tru-Oil is applied to be able to buff the instrument long before the Epifanes varnish is hard enough. I don't know that it adds any durability. I have an Ellis mandolin that is over ten years old. I have used an armrest that barely grabbed the edge of the instrument without any problems, but I have never seen a need to use any kind of abrasive polish. I wouldn't want to take the risk of burning through a layer of varnish. If you do, you will likely have witness lines. If you rub too hard and remove too much, there is no going back.

    As varnish cures it will sink into the grain of the instrument. This is part of the character of varnish and it won't generally maintain a high gloss appearance over its entire life. If that is what you are after, varnish finishes might not be for you. Tom Ellis offers to rebuff Ellis instruments after the varnish has sunk. I don't know if they would do the same for a Pava. I don't know if he is just buffing the varnish that is there are applying Tru-Oil again.

    If, for some reason, the instrument became really grimy, you could probably safely use naptha, which is lighter fluid, to clean the surface, but you are probably better off wiping the instrument off after use, with a dry cloth or, at most, a soft cloth slightly dampened with water.

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  11. #32
    Mando-Afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Knippa View Post
    What do you hope to accomplish with polish?

    The Tru-Oil is applied to be able to buff the instrument long before the Epifanes varnish is hard enough. I don't know that it adds any durability. I have an Ellis mandolin that is over ten years old. I have used an armrest that barely grabbed the edge of the instrument without any problems, but I have never seen a need to use any kind of abrasive polish. I wouldn't want to take the risk of burning through a layer of varnish. If you do, you will likely have witness lines. If you rub too hard and remove too much, there is no going back.

    As varnish cures it will sink into the grain of the instrument. This is part of the character of varnish and it won't generally maintain a high gloss appearance over its entire life. If that is what you are after, varnish finishes might not be for you. Tom Ellis offers to rebuff Ellis instruments after the varnish has sunk. I don't know if they would do the same for a Pava. I don't know if he is just buffing the varnish that is there are applying Tru-Oil again.

    If, for some reason, the instrument became really grimy, you could probably safely use naptha, which is lighter fluid, to clean the surface, but you are probably better off wiping the instrument off after use, with a dry cloth or, at most, a soft cloth slightly dampened with water.
    Kevin, You are correct-- I really am interested in maintaining it and keeping it free of residue, not polishing it. It came me exactly the way I want it to stay. Your knowledge about the finish material and its durability was the information you provided that I was after. I don't need it to shine like a polyurethane finish... I appreciate the appearance but what I want is the advantage of the resonance and opening up of the instrument over time. Thanks for your clarifying explanation.

  12. #33

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

    I second using nothing or at least asking Pava. If possible, I would give it a couple years to cure without putting anything on it. Even, if it is dry it still might be soft.

    I learned the hard way, trying to deep clean rosin and gunk from 100 year old violins with the wrong polish and having it reactivate the finish into a sticky mess....

    Some of you may remember my story from a few years ago, I attended a 3 hour Catholic wedding service in an old church in June without air-conditioning -- it was uncomfortable in my gray polyester suit -- when it was finally over I was firmly stuck to the pew -- in fact, it made a ripping sound as I slowly pulled myself up using the pew in front of me for leverage -- needless to say, there is no graceful way to accomplish that. Again, somehow just body temperature alone reactivated the "varnish" whatever it actually consisted of into a mess. (I looked around to others in hopes of filing a class-action lawsuit against the church and their lousy pews for damages, but most people seemed more concerned with throwing rice and getting to the reception.........)

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  14. #34
    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 Jeff Mando View Post
    Some of you may remember my story from a few years ago, I attended a 3 hour Catholic wedding service in an old church in June without air-conditioning . . . (I looked around to others in hopes of filing a class-action lawsuit against the church and their lousy pews for damages, but most people seemed more concerned with throwing rice and getting to the reception.........)
    A three-hour summer service without air conditioning would qualify you for damages even without the varnish, I'd think.

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  16. #35
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Some of you may remember my story from a few years ago, I attended a 3 hour Catholic wedding service in an old church in June without air-conditioning -- it was uncomfortable in my gray polyester suit -- when it was finally over I was firmly stuck to the pew -- in fact, it made a ripping sound as I slowly pulled myself up using the pew in front of me for leverage -- needless to say, there is no graceful way to accomplish that. Again, somehow just body temperature alone reactivated the "varnish" whatever it actually consisted of into a mess. (I looked around to others in hopes of filing a class-action lawsuit against the church and their lousy pews for damages, but most people seemed more concerned with throwing rice and getting to the reception.........)
    So I hope it was just a ripping SOUND and not ACTUAL ripping

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  18. #36
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    For what it is worth, my 1925 Lyon & Healy Model A has a varnish finish that remains just gorgeous after 95 years. I must admit I do not know how many years it was under the care of a collector (previous owner) and possibly not played a lot. I only use a very soft cloth to wipe it down. That seems to keep it looking pristine. So it seems it is quite possible to maintain a nice clean sheen over many years with just a wipe down. (I do however use a half sock over my right arm to prevent getting any sweat or oily skin on the mandolin top.)

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

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  20. #37
    Mando-Afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Tim, It is nice to hear that a Varnish finish can maintain that sheen for so many decades! Thanks!

  21. #38
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    My Weber is 13 yrs old, varnished. I have spilled lots of beer dribbles and a few (Lot of)whiskey dribbles and lots of sweat. Never polished, only damp wiping. It looks stellar. If you want an arm rest without the funky clamp, get a Weber combination tailpiece. I use that exclusively, and love them! Montana Lutherie is moving, but I think they are still selling (moving from Logan MT to Whitfish(350 miles north), last I heard, but that could be wrong...
    Any who, combo Weber armrests should be the norm, they rock.
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  23. #39
    Mando-Afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    Thanks for the combo armrest idea Matt.

  24. #40
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt'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
    Thanks for the combo armrest idea Matt.
    They really are a nice item. The rest is attached to the tailpiece. No clamps. It takes a special technique for efficient string changes, but works great once you figure the process out.
    No one chimed in when I suggested the spit polish, but it is the cheapest option and seems to work, though I usually use unprocessed water
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
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    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
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    Too many microphones

    BridgerCreekBoys.com

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  26. #41
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    All the Pava Pro models get the same varnish & tru-oil combo as the Ellis. The Players are finished with a catalyzed shellac called Royal-lac. And all satin models have a nitro lacquer satin finish. It’s recommended that you only use a soft dry cloth on the neck of the Pro models due to the speed neck option. There’s very little finish and you want to avoid taking off any color by introducing any kind of moisture or polish. Lemon oil is fine though. If you must use a polish try Music Nomad Guitar One or Meguairs #7 Show Car Glaze. Lint free cotton rags or old t-shirts are best for applying. Armrest are going to leave an indentation regardless of the age of the finish. Just mind the amount of clamping pressure. Any slight marring can be buffed out if need be.
    Last edited by MandolinFlyer; Aug-20-2020 at 12:42am. Reason: Typo

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  28. #42

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

    Just for more obfuscation: a car-finishing glaze (Meguairs 7, etc) is supposed to be non-abrasive, a polish is very mildly abrasive, but even the manufacturers don’t stick to this definition. The above #7 is water, naptha, diatoms and small ingreadients, and is therefore a fine abrasive and several solvents. Both water and naptha are good at cleaning organic dirt, and should mostly evaporate. What happens to the variety of instrument finishes is probably complicated, but if naptha, for example, is known to be a solvent for one’s finish, I’d be very sparing in using it, or any of the wood or leather specialty products that are mostly solvents plus slow-evaporating oils.
    All of this is essentially inconsequential unless, 1. Finish is a really big issue, or 2. Whatever you put on sinks in and messes up future touch up, like, for example, silicones.

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  30. #43
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    diatoms! Geology in the forum!

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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  32. #44

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    diatoms! Geology in the forum!

    f-d
    . Biology

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  34. #45
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    diatoms! Geology in the forum
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    . Biology
    I'd say both

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  36. #46
    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to clean and polish Varnish on my New Pava Pro

    I've always understood naphtha to be safe for cleaning all finishes. It shouldn't be the first thing you reach for (soft clean dry cloth first, slightly moistened soft clean cloth second, mineral spirits or naphtha third). See frets.com article on cleaning.
    Clark Beavans

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