White Powder on Stored Violin
I pulled my Hidersine Reserve Guarneri model violin out of storage and noticed the body completely covered in a fine white powder. It was more or less brand new when put into storage with half a dozen silica gel sachets inside the case to counteract any damp there may have been. It looks like it had been dusted with rosin or talc; more like flour or talc as it wasn’t sticky. Of my 5 fiddles this was the only one that appears affected. Not really a musty smell either and body looks clean inside. Actually have to check another fiddle yet, but my guitars and mandolins aren't affected. Baffling.
Just a guess, but varnish didn't like desiccation? I alwatys worry more about dry air affecting the wood than wet - but I guess that depends on where you live.
Yeah, I’m trying to wrap my mind around putting desiccants in a violin case. I’ve lived in humid climates for decades but not *that* humid.
Yeah, the desiccants were owing to an acoustic guitar being ruined after being cased for 3 unusually wet seasons over a year ago, and a Kingston violin case to that wasn’t cheap. I live in the far north of Scotland where the cold isn’t so much the problem as the quantity of rain and high winds. I digress. The room had been a spare bedroom turned into a storage room with reduced airflow for unavoidable reasons (it’s now a bedroom again), and having 3 external walls and a shallow angled gable end roof/ceiling can be cold and damp. For the life of me I can’t recognise it as mould, it feels too dry. But Hidersines these days are Chinese/HK made and Chinese instruments aren’t always made of correctly dried woods I believe and wonder if there’s been some moisture left in the woods the desiccants have removed but couldn’t evaporate as normal in an enclosed case. If it is a kind of mould though, can the case be salvaged or is it in the fabric? There’s no obvious sign in the case but it’s fabric/velour-ish lined and a golden colour so wouldn’t be obvious anyway. Bow seems unaffected. As a side note the analog hygrometers in ALL my cases seem to be useless. The digital hygrometers in my guitar cases are great. I’ll be buying more digital ones I think.
If you keep a bunch of instruments around, and the cost of electricity where you live isn't prohibitive, you should probably keep the instrument in a room with an electric dehumidifier.
Yeah, despite energy suppliers, and especially gas and oil wholesalers, making record profits over the last year uk prices are sitting around an all time high with no end in sight so for many the choice is between eating or heating. Until now I’ve managed to avoid that but it’s catching up faster than I can outrun it. Hey-ho.
Buri, that's the first claim smugglers always try. The security folks are on to it, kinda like teachers are on to "the dog ate my homework". ;-)
Maybe the desiccant has nothing to do with it. Maybe the desiccant is completely saturated and there's still moisture present and some kind of mold grew on your instrument.
Possibly some kind of insect eating liner or case material (or worse, violin:)).....? OP said white powder, I would think mold would be more "attached" to violin or case.
Matthew I agree mold is a long shot.
The only possibility I can think of is that the violins were stored somewhere where a lot of dust was created, perhaps by building work, and one case had a far less airtight seal than the others. But I suppose there's no white powder on the fabric in the case?
Maybe it's just mold. Try to store it with silica gel or in a dry well ventilated area.
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