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MMD > Archives > April 2005 > 2005.04.07 > 04Prev  Next


Environment Control for Musical Instruments
By Conrad Bladey

A controlled environment is the single most important thing you can do
to protect anything.  Install modern windows including UV protection
and upgrade your furnace and air conditioner so that it can keep things
stable.  Seal windows and door frames and where possible install a good
heavy storm door that shuts tight.  Get a good humidity measuring device
as well as a good thermometer and check.  If dryness is a problem look
into humidifying tools for pianos.

Check with experts in regard to the different temperature and humidity
tolerances of the wood, metal, cloth and paper in your collection.
Generally most museums make a compromise between the cooler temperatures
and those tolerated by people.

Talk to a conservator or conservation supply house to find the best
product for your application and environment.  Control the environment,
eliminate bugs and pests and get a good air cleaner with dust filter.
Use cotton gloves always.  Be careful when dusting: avoid abrasion.
I remember when Mount St. Helens blew up -- ash everywhere!  When
dusted improperly the ash would take finishes off wood.

As for wax, be aware that there are many many kinds of wax.  These
respond to different conditions.  Some are quite hard (like Edison
black wax cylinders) and have a higher melting temperature.  I have
seen wonderful results with microcrystaline wax in hot humid southern
environments.  Wax may require more frequent re-application than
lacquer, however it comes off much easier when necessary.

Conrad Bladey


(Message sent Thu 7 Apr 2005, 11:52:50 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Control, Environment, Instruments, Musical

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