Violin storage at constant high temperatures?
Hi, I wanted to know how good a violin can resist a constant hot temperature, like 86ºF at night up to 100ºF at noon, with a humidity of 19-25%.
I've read that, as long as the temperature and humidity stays more or less constant, and considering they are not extreme, violins can resist pretty well. I'm storing a student violin in an attic, which is dark but gets pretty hot (100ºF maximum).
It looks totally fine to me since trees get direct sunlight everyday, in summer they must get way beyond 100ºF, and they are OK with that. Also, thinking about human body temperature, which is about 100ºF, it looks like violins don't get wrapped over time due to our own hands.
I also wanted to know the opposite, how good a violin can resist temperatures that go from 46ºF at night to 57ºF at noon. Humidity staying between 35-55%. It's the same attic, but in winter.
Please don’t store a violin in an attic.
Trees are not glued together.
Varnish can melt and turn into something less Cremonese.
the glue will melt
That’s dangerously low humidity too. Why do you feel a need to store it that way? Isn’t there some other alternative?
Paul: The answer to your question is, no violin can survive those conditions. It looks like you have been reading an unreliable source, but you came to the right place here. Do not store your violin in the attic unless you can afford to have the pieces reassembled and the instrument re-varnished when you retrieve it. Do you have a friend who can store it over the summer under better conditions? The proper relative humidity for your instrument is 40-50%, at 60-70 degrees Farenheit. We all will be relieved to hear you have chosen a better location for your violin over the summer!
Go ahead. This is job security for violin makers and repair people.
Those conditions are not good for a violin. Especially at such low humidity, there is a significant risk of cracking. Varnish and glue can suffer at those temperatures as well.
The temperature actually stays between 87-95ºF most of the time, when I mention 100ºF, that is the maximum peak my thermometer has read. The violin is inside a wood case, and the attic is small and dark as it does not get direct sunlight. I asked because there's no easy alternative.
Hi Rich... yeah..... enough of the smalltalk ;) Youre right!
There can be no single answer to this question, as the effects depend strongly on how the wood was aged, the conditions during assembly, type of glue used, and type of varnish.
Andrew, Don, now those are the kind of answers I was expecting. Thank you for your time.
140F is the standard temperature of water-saturated hide glue in a glue pot. It "melts" at lower or higher temperature, depending on the gram strength of the glue and the water ratio.
One of "my" violin makers told me that one of the cellos he made had to be glued back together after the purchaser moved from the California high desert where it was made to Seattle where the humidity unglued it.
If the main issue is fluctuations in relative humidity rather than in temperature, then the obvious solution is to keep the moisture content of the wood constant, by packing the violin in a sealed polyethylene bag, maybe with a layer of paper or cotton to prevent any additives in the plastic from interacting with the varnish.
Humidity is a big problem for instruments, even more so than heat. But it’s important to keen in mind that humidity is relative to temperature when measured in a room.
What a coincidence, I've been asked to write a paper for a scientific journal on what happens inside cases from a thermo-hygrometric standpoint when exposed to cold or direct solar radiation.
Dimitri... Are you actually testing pressure-sealed cases? I can see some measure of sealing for waterproofing, but any pressure would distort the case and cause leaks. And wooden cases will leak through the wood.
Don, I was looking forward to your interest in this subject. In my test last Saturday I used cases which were several years old, and had been left open for the better part of a week in my study (i.e. home office) in order to be acclimatized to the initial conditions indoors.