Klarinet Archive - Posting 000197.txt from 1994/01
From: "Dr. Ronald P. Monsen" <RPMONS00@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: Does wood accomodate itself to a particular climate?
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 1994 14:21:42 -0500
It has been my experience that the great changes in RH are the real culprit.
Of course temperature changes rapidly and extreme will do damage. But in
my years behind the ebony agony tube those of us who have gotten into trouble
with the climactic conditons usually ran afoul in big climate changes.
e.g. Several students of mine had cracked instruments during atour in which
they visited Montana and Wyoming in the dead of winter. It was not the temp
which caused the problem--they know not to let it get real cold and then blow
warm air into it--warming it up under the arm etc. But what we found happened
was that the elevation and the sub zero cold produced very very low RH.
This is indicated by the rings getting loose and falling off. Posts moving a
bit and binding keywork, etc. I tell them to keep humidity in the case and
also suggested that they wrap their cases in a large plastic garbage bag to
help maintain moisture content. Not pretty but darn effective.
I keep my reeds in a sandwich bag during the very cold weather to keep them
from dehydrating so much.
The fewest problems I had with both reeds and instruments was during the
1971 and 1972 period I was living in London. It stayed pretty much the same.
When Brymer came to the US with the LSO in 1973 he had an older set of his
BH 1010 clarinets. He was afraid of the changes and the cracking scene.
As it was we had to take him down to Ward Brodt Music in Madison and have the
repair guru do some keywork.
I do not know if this helps you but it has been a concern of mine. The idea of
a tight sealing case is quite good. I know that Selmer (Paris) has formfitting
cases for the saxophone called Flight-Line cases. They are fibre glass and
seem to have a pretty good seal--for a sax? Go figure. I can tell you that
they are very strong for transportation. I was asked to stand on a loaded
tenor case andbounce--I am not the sugar plum fairy--but the case nor the
instrument was damaged. So luggage handlers should do little harm that way.
Perhaps some sort of custom case work--or the use of a gauge for relative humi-
dity plus a source of moisture would do you.
Hope this helps--Ron Monsen
PS: I also recall with horror what happened to my reeds the first time I
played in Denver--and Laramie (higher yet) was really a trip-out. But that
had to do with elevation and air support not the climate. Good luck.