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Mar 15, 2017 - 4:25:58 PM



33 posts
Joined Oct 16, 2016

Has anyone ever seen an moisture absorption/de-absorption rate for tone woods?


Mar 15, 2017 - 6:40:34 PM

6 posts
Joined Oct 31, 2014

Air dried and kiln dried are slightly different in terms of humidity. There are all kinds of charts on drying lumber, percentage of moisture levels, and even information on moisture levels of tonewoods on the internet.  Just a simple google search will bring up a wealth of information, then just pick the info. 

How a luthier drys and stores wood is important, and this information is also out there.  Good Luck.

Mar 16, 2017 - 7:55:08 AM



33 posts
Joined Oct 16, 2016

Yep...did that. Sorry for not being clear. What I am not finding via Google or anywhere else is data on gain and loss of moisture versus time and environment. For instance, keeping your fiddle at a nice 68 degrees/45%RH at home then taking it to an outdoor jam at 90 degrees on a humid summer day. Or the reverse, taking it to a cool auditorium in winter with 20%RH? How long will the tone wood hold the moisture content from the controlled environment at home? 

Mar 16, 2017 - 9:08:34 AM

6 posts
Joined Oct 31, 2014

There is a tough question, and I would contact a violin maker myself. 

Mar 16, 2017 - 2:50:40 PM

771 posts
Joined Jun 26, 2007

Too many variables to get simple answers. Your high temp and humidity for several hours are unlikely to cause problems. Very low humidity for several hours is likely to cause a few pegs to pop loose. Damage, such as cracks, is dependent on other factors, such as condition of the wood and construction details. If you find any definitive answers, let us know.

Mar 16, 2017 - 6:44:52 PM

889 posts
Joined Jan 25, 2008

you could saturate it before you go into the humidity, Keep a humidifier in the case then when you go out it wont be different.

Mar 17, 2017 - 8:14:14 AM

545 posts
Joined Feb 28, 2012

I used to attend a convention in AZ, where it is noticeably drier than in Oregon. My violins would change dramatically, even though I kept Dampits(TM) in them when they were in their cases. A bow could be removed from the case with slack hair, and in five minutes it would be taut, without touching the screw. Scary stuff.

I had some free plates (unfinished) warp there, until they were reminiscent of a manta ray flapping its wings, and a scroll (also unfinished) that split up the middle of the volute at the top. I was pretty unhappy. :-)

Mar 20, 2017 - 8:17:25 AM

792 posts
Joined Jan 9, 2009

My sense is that wood takes a significant amount of time to absorb or lose moisture.    (Bow hair is another matter.)

If the goal is to keep the absolute moisture level in the wood constant (hard to do as temperature changes), as the temperature goes UP, the relative humidity has to go DOWN because warm air has a higher capacity to hold moisture. 

But I find that within normal ranges of temperature and humidity during the festival season in the northeast US, I don't worry about it.  I go camping with my nicest fiddle and my Martin guitar, play them under cover in the rain, keep it out of direct sunlight for the most part, I put in the case overnight.   Other than that, they are out and laying about a good part of the day.

The most damage, I have found, is when I leave a guitar out all winter on the guitar stand when the humidity is 30% or lower for months on end.  I have had one guitar top crack by getting too dry and another got a hump in the neck.    Both guitars were repaired by re-humidifying first.  I never detected a problem with my fiddles in the winter.....yet.   And I leave them out on top of the piano all the time, summer and winter. 


Edited by - vibratingstring on 03/20/2017 08:18:22

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