The finish on a musical instrument is arguably the most important and the most difficult task to do correctly. You want it to look beautiful. You want the wood to be at least resistant to humidity, spills, and perspiration. And yet too heavy a finish will dull the voice of the wood.
In restoration antique value comes into play as well and some rare instruments should not be refinished at all. The instruments we work on generally are hoping for a new life and a new finish or a skillfully blended finish on a patch is called for. Often this is the most time consuming part of a restoration.