Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
8 months ago
597 posts

One reason for letting instruments acclimate to their environment before opening is that with gloss finishes they will craze when subject to rapid changes in temperature. This is much more likely to happen than a problem with the wood. Temperature and humidity will effect wood expansion and contraction and glue joints. The use of modern glues has pretty much eliminated the glue joint problem. It is always better to err on the side of caution than to be eager and sorry.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Black Dog Bess
Black Dog Bess
@black-dog-bess
8 months ago
24 posts

Some instrument dealers actually put instruction stickers (I'm thinking Elderly and Sweetwater) on the shipping box imploring you not to open the box for several hours during cold weather. After seeing all the remarkable changes that can happen to wood even in a stable home environment, I've decided to believe them. It's tough not to let your curiosity get the best of you, but since your instrument may have traveled through so many different environments before it got to you, I think it's worth letting it adjust to it's new home.

Barb

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
8 months ago
597 posts

Like John said, i would advise them to let them acclimate to room temperature before opening if they are coming out of a UPS, FedEx, or post office truck. I picked up a ukulele I ordered at the post office this morning and opened it right away when I got home. I reasoned that it had been in the heated post office for about 4 1/2 hours and I carried it to my parked truck (about 30 seconds in the cold) which was warm and drove home (about two minutes) pulled in to the garage. I then walked to the house (about 30 seconds) and then went inside. I placed the box on the table, heated a cup of coffee in the microwave and then opened the package. No problem.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
8 months ago
187 posts

Matt, I mention the following to my customers who buy one of my dulcimers in the wintertime:

I tell them to bring the box into their house, but NOT TO OPEN IT for an hour or so!  I know it's agony to be so close to enjoying a new instrument, but it will be worth it.  There is a real danger of thermal shock occurring if a cold wooden instrument is suddenly subjected to warm temperatures.  I don't know of any breakages so far, but I've experienced the heartbreak of seeing the fine lacquer finish of a Warren May poplar dulcimer CRAZE in front of my eyes when I took it out of its cold box too soon.  It looked like the surface of old china, with fine cracks all over it.   It's difficult to repair the finish.

Matt Berg
Matt Berg
@matt-berg
8 months ago
51 posts

Two people were kind enough to purchase instruments from my Etsy site during the recent cold snap.  I messaged them that I would hold on shipping until the cold broke as I was concerned that the instruments may become brittle and break in the cold.

This was as much fear as knowledge.

Does anyone have experience with having instruments break during shipping due to cold weather?