Where Do You Keep Your Dulcimer in the Home?
If you play or practice regularly I would imagine that you keep your dulcimer pretty handy ... but where. I think most of us are aware of the foibles of moisture and wood, but what about sunlight? A spot of sunlight through a south facing window on the carpet is a favorite place of the family cat, but your treasured dulcimer ... ummm ... not so much. The UV rays can not only leech the color from the wood, they can be harmful to the very finish put there to protect the instrument. Most hard finishes will crack if left, over a period of time in these conditions. If your dulcimer is uncased and hanging or on a stand in a spot where sunlight might fall on it for most or part of the day, please consider moving it to a better suited place.
Just as light can be harmful, heat may also have adverse affects on your dulcimer. Direct or radiant heat tends to dry whatever is in close proximity. While we want our instruments to be dry, we also need to have some idea of 'how dry'? Moisture content in wood is a fact. When it changes, so does the wood. This means actual swelling, shifting, warping (no matter how slight) and a general stress put glue joints and thinly planed wood as well. Few instruments (that I have seen) are sealed against moisture any where but the outer surfaces. That's great to protect against the glass of milk Lisa is enjoying with her fig newton but HUMIDITY will go through a soundhole like lettuce through a duck! So, the more even you can keep the moisture level the less 'walking' the wood will do.
Now that we have this subject open, I hope you guys will share tips and advice on how to best locate your dulcimer within your home. I realize that each home is different and that there are many, many variables house to house and region to region. Just want to raise awareness of how we can better take care of our MD's.