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by Simon Gilboy June 22, 2017
Musicians are extremely wary of any substances they put on their wooden musical instruments such as guitars, violins, cellos and double basses etc. And rightly so. The biggest concerns always seem to relate to either affecting the resonant properties of the wood or causing long-term damage to the finish. It can be a bit of a minefield as the internet is so full of misinformation that many musicians resort to a 'do nothing at all' ethos.
This stems from a misunderstanding of the general function and purpose of a wax polish. Its purpose is to protect the 'finish', the lacquer, varnish, nitrocellulose or polyurethane protective layer that the luthier applies to the instrument to protect the wood for the long term. In polishing we seek to protect this finish from daily wear and tear with a thin layer of wax that acts as a kind of sacrificial layer that is easily replaced.Most instrument makers use layers of lacquer, varnish or nitrocellulose to protect the wood of an instrument, and varnishes have been used to coat string instruments like violas, cellos and violins for hundreds of years. It started life as a closely guarded secret substance. Different formulae were concocted by the luthiers, a trade secret never to be revealed. Those varnishes were made of plant resins combined with oils like linseed, honeybee propolis, gums and other oils. The usage of beeswax was commonly added to the mix to decrease the brittleness of the resin and protect the resonant qualities of the wooden structure. This type of varnish had a higher proportion of resins, and a hard, shiny surface.
"The lacquer protects the wood, but what protects the lacquer?" ~ Simon Gilboy
Gilboys Gold has been specifically designed to protect all types of wood finishes. It was designed by antique furniture restorers with over 25 years experience using traditional methods of restoration learned from long apprenticeships.
"A hard-wearing yet flexible wax finish that retains the resonant properties of the instrument"
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