Son wants to take his 120 year violin to Florida when we go for vacations in December. I strongly object, as I am sure the violin will not survive 100% humidity for 2.5 weeks. He says that he can not stand the sound of his other violin and will not be able to practice.
Any advice on what can be done? Is it possible to lower the humidity somehow? Are there any violin cases that will help to fight humidity? The showers in the apartment will be on often (there are 5 of us), wet towels after the pool will be resting on the floor, etc., so 100% humidity is quarantined. AC can not reduce the humidity.
What kind of case does your son have for his older violin? A case maker can correct me if I’m wrong (Mr. Musafia perhaps?), but I would say if the case is made of wood instead of carbon fiber, ABS plastic or other materials like that then dehumidification might not be necessary since wooden cases keep their inside humidity better than non wood cases. Or at least dehumidification would just be a welcome addition to the wooden case. I don’t know much about things for dehumidification in a case, but there is the two-way Boveda system. It’s supposed to keep the humidity at a specific level based on the system you get. Most people use the 49% packs, but maybe there’s one for lower humidity to help combat the Florida weather?
All Boveda packs are 2 way, that's how they keep the humidity at a particular level. Here is one for musical instruments to protect from extreme humidity (the pack is larger to accommodate the absorbed water):
Close the bathroom door when showering. Don’t leave wet towels on the floor (that’s gross anyway). And use a case with the equivalent of Musafia Tropicalizatiom. Plus a Boveds, as others have noted.
His case is, most likely, "Bobelock Half Moon Puffy" It is abut 4 years old, came with the violin, and I have no idea what it is made of :(
Florida IS a "swamp" but when I have been there (in May, October, December and February) indoor AC certainly controlled the humidity as well as the temperature. As a "desert rat" at home I certainly could not have been comfortable without the Florida AC - even in winter - but with it I was.
If it’s the Bobelock Halfmoon puffy case then yes it would be 5 layer plywood construction. Andrew’s right though the case won’t do anything if the violin is outside of the case but the case being wooden will help while it is inside the case. Another good point is that AC will definitely keep the humidity at bay as well as keep the temperature down.
sounds like a good plan, thank you!
The violin will survive those weeks, and more, in Florida. You could find some differences in tone and more out of tune strings, but there will be no damage for one month in humidity. Actually if you stay there, you will have no problem for years. Changes in humidity, rather than absolute humidity are the issue.
You know, it's not really the humidity that causes sudden damage but the rapid change between different humidity levels. If the violin is sitting in a puddle of condensation then the glue will soften, but I don't think it's too much cause for concern if you take care of the thing while it's there.
If you realize that ubiquitous AC (in the USA) is only a few generations old you might wonder how all those fabulous ancient instruments survived 2 previous centuries without it.
Albert Spalding used to take his Strad down to Captiva Island, FL, back when open windows were the norm. Your son's axe will probably survive.
Air conditioning does indeed decrease the relative humidity because the room air is passed over a heat exchanger that is functioning at a much lower temperature. You don't typically see all that condensation because the unit pumps it outside. A central air conditioning system will dehumidify a home much faster than a typical room dehumidifier will.
Carlos D'Agulleiro, I vehemently disagree about the likelihood of no damage. The damage may not be as dramatic, sudden, or noisy as that from too little moisture, but restorers do spend a good deal of their time fixing issues due to excessive moisture.
Maybe best solution is to buy a dehumidifier. I just found a relatively small one on amazon, so I can take it back to Canada with me.
Which small dehumidifier? Some of the really small ones, small enough to pack in a suitcase, hardly do anything.
maybe like that: