Case Humidity Control
Now that heating season is here, the relative humidity in my house is hovering around 20%. To protect my instruments, I'm using Stretto humidifiers in both my violin and viola cases.
I've been measuring RH with the same digital hygrometer (alternating between the cases). Even after giving it several hours to adjust to the environment in each case, the violin case's RH never reads above 30%, whereas the viola's is in the 50-60% range. My viola case is a composite case with a weather seal and the violin case is wood. It's not the highest-end case, but I would not have guessed that it would do so poorly in this regard.
Is this simply the difference between composite and wood cases? Are there wood cases that provide a better environment for humidity control, or should I be looking at replacing the wood violin case with composite?
I have two Musafia cases that are made of wood and I never have any humidity problems inside the case. That means I keep the case closed even when practising to allow the fabric to absorb humidity. Maybe in your case, you need sometbing better than the stretto, so get and install the wick humidifiers from Musafia which are very efficient.
Musafia has some fairly extensive weather seals on their cases available. That will probably make a difference, even though the cases are wood.
Ah, interesting. I wonder if there are wooden cases that provide decent weather seals at a more agreeable price point than a Musafia. (If anyone knows of one, please let me know!)
Wood, unless treated with a moisture barrier is not impermeable to water vapor penetration, whereas some synthetic materials are much more so. The differences you are noticing between your synthetic case with a weather seal, and your wooden case without are about what I would expect. Using two humidifiers in your wooden case might take care of the difference, or maybe not. (Wooden cases can be highly variable in their moisture retention.)
Here is our recent
The Musafia cases are also generously lined with materials designed to maintain stable humidity within the case. I've found my Enigma-model case to maintain very stable humidity as long as the case is kept closed.
Let's clarify a little here. By "wood" we are talking about wood laminate (plywood), not solid wood. That means a sandwich of number of layers of wood glued together.
I think Laurie was trying to say that there was a recent blog of hers that dealt with this issue along with a recent thread by David Burgess.
Thanks all. I guess I'm in the market for a violin case upgrade.