October 10, 2021, 2:18 PM · 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.

Replies (16)

October 10, 2021, 5:35 PM · 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?
October 10, 2021, 6:34 PM · 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):

October 10, 2021, 6:52 PM · 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.
October 10, 2021, 7:35 PM · 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 :(
Edited: October 10, 2021, 9:32 PM · 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.

No instrument case is going to protect your violin from humidity if you play it out of the case!

Electro-mechanical de-humidifiers function in the same way as refridgerative air conditioners. In fact, my own airconditions have "dry" function (i.e., dehumidifier).

October 10, 2021, 10:52 PM · 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.

Use the wooden case, get a boveda pack or two, keep the AC on and close the bathroom door when you shower and the should be fine. I use two boveda packs in my viola case, but I use the stretto in my violin case.

The stretto only adds moisture though so I only use it during the winter here in Texas. I have used the boveda in tandem with the stretto in my violin case with as well, but I can’t say whether it helped or really did anything. Right now in Texas humidity never really goes above 50 according to my case. I did a gig once during the winter and the room had a humidity of about 25 and my violin DEFINITELY felt that. The stretto helped a lot.

October 10, 2021, 10:59 PM · sounds like a good plan, thank you!
October 11, 2021, 4:33 AM · 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.
Be aware that it is more dangerous for the violin to go from humid to dry, rather than going from dry to humid. So your care must be on the way back, especially as winter comes.
You don't need to insulate the case. Just put the violin inside a plastic bag, (a trash bag works) and close it well with little air. And into the case. Take it out only in an A/C room and put it in the bag in the same room.

October 11, 2021, 8:24 AM · 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.
October 11, 2021, 8:55 AM · 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.

My concern with violins in my early days was not the direct effect of humidity but of my sweat dripping onto my violin.

And yes, sometimes a seam would open - that's why we always had some hide-glue crystals, an artist pallet knife and some clamps.

Edited: October 11, 2021, 9:48 AM · 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.

A/C, good case, Boveda. Make sure the bow his haired for summer weather, not Arctic winters. Bring extra strings. And don't chuck it all into the ocean.

Oh-- wet towels can go on your balcony railing, or back to the bin at the pool.

October 11, 2021, 10:33 AM · 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.

Here's what I don't understand -- why anyone needs to shower longer than 2-3 minutes after hitting the pool. And if your rental unit has an outdoor shower for rinsing off after walking back from the beach, that's even better. Towels can be draped over the side of the deck.

Junior's violin will be fine.

October 11, 2021, 12:35 PM · 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.

OP, is there a way to isolate one room from the the rest of the apartment, and keep the instrument in that room along with a dehumidifier?

If relative humidity levels over a span of 2+ weeks can not be kept under an average of 80%, I would not risk taking an expensive or otherwise treasured violin. That's what cheap violins are for. Major orchestra string players often use these for things like outdoor concerts.

October 11, 2021, 12:53 PM · 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.

What I did not mention is that my son took his violin with him to Florida a couple of years ago. It was only one week and it seems like nothing happened, but what I found was some visible yellow staining in the case around the lower part of the violin. So, to me it seems like the violin was wet and some moisture was dripping from it (?)

Edited: October 11, 2021, 1:34 PM · Which small dehumidifier? Some of the really small ones, small enough to pack in a suitcase, hardly do anything.
October 11, 2021, 4:11 PM · maybe like that:
the room is about 10x10'

will it work?

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