In "varnish world" there are 3 topics which will generate never ending discussion: wear, dirt, and crackling. So let's discuss wear.
I agree with Roger's statement, via Charles Beare and others, that the classic Cremonese varnish likely wore quite quickly and in a particular way, early in its life time. This is also true of the lack of wear [durability] of the classic ground. Other varnishes...the "Amati" varnish, Venetian varnishes, French varnish have different life cycles.
The same is true with contemporary varnishes. Fulton, Michaelman, baltic amber, etc. each have different properties.
The need for protection of the instrument is different than that of antique instruments when they wereconstructed.
In my experience it stands that the color varnishes are more tender than the non-colored ones. The making is very different.
In contemporary varnish, one can control the "wear-ability" of the surface and its appearance by making informed decisions.
The violin was posted once before. Prior to leaving home it got one more application...the same varnish plus a touch of bone black and cochineal for a "veil". The rib picture is the closest to the way the color looked to me the day I sent it off.
Like most of you I have been following Roger's bass making thread with fascination. Thanks Roger. However, I have a question...I know, varnish wise, in time and materials I figure a viola is 1.25 violins, and a cellos is 3 violins...more or less....but I have never oil varnished a bass. So is a bass 2 celli...3....4??