Mudcat Café message #967866 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #18751   Message #967866
Posted By: JohnInKansas
17-Jun-03 - 03:53 PM
Thread Name: Sometimes goes limp (bow hair)
Subject: RE: Sometimes goes limp

The thread never died: - we just need a new (or maybe additional) direction for the creep to keep it going. Since I don't do well with inuendo, and can't think of anything very clever, I'll respond to the original post and the early "serious" replies.

Any of us with some camping experience in wet weather have probably seen the "overnight disassembly" of instruments left out in reasonably protected places, like under the camper or hidden under a tarp. This can happen with high humidity and cool nights even without actual "rainfall."

This happened to one person of my acquaintance at two separate years' sessions at Winfield. One year he left a relatively old "beater" fiddle under a table (which was under a canopy) and found it "took apart" in the morning. A couple of years later he left a fairly nice guitar tucked under his camper, and found several very large "additional acoustic resonator" points in the morning. The guitar was repaired, but I believe the fiddle is still somewhere "in a box."

I have not heard of much significant damage from playing in "drizzly" weather, or under canopies during rainfall; but the people with the "good" instruments tend to be pretty cautious. It is critical that the instrument be dried of any visible moisture before it's put away, and that it be put in as near to an "indoor" space as is available. (Even in a tent, the "body heat" from the occupant(s) probably helps, so that's likely to be better than a protected "outside" space. The higher humidity due to occupancy is probably less damaging than the outside "dew.")

If possible, a "wet" instrument should be put where there's some air circulation; but sometimes it's best to put even a wet one in a case because of the other "hazards of camp life."

Any camper with some experience can attest to the difficulty of drying things by a campfire. Combustion produces a lot of water vapor, and the relative humidity near a fire is often much higher than a little distance away. The familiar odor of burnt tenny-runners on sleeping campmates also testifies to the difficulty of obtaining predictably uniform heating of anything using campfire heat.

And don't forget that wet hair and strings may contract significantly when they "stabilize" to new conditions - and the glue may be softened by the wetness, so loosening things up before putting them away may be advisable.

Wet weather is an ENEMY of wooden instruments. Sometimes the enemy can be defeated - other times it's best to run away.