barnesviolins

Flood Damaged/Moldy Instruments

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So we are seeing the flood damaged instruments come in now down here in Houston.  Most of them are student level instruments. Our rentals go straight into the trash and get replaced.  Schools are considering their fleets a total  loss.

 

Just got a call on a 1922 Roth violin.  Now at this level, I'm thinking about the ways to treat it and if it is even possible.

 

People have to tear out everything in their house that was wet.  Bleach the wood or substructure and then rebuild.

 

Is it possible to open a dried out violin, treat the interior with bleach, close it up and have it be safe?

 

Anybody have experience with flooded instruments and whether or not they can be saved?

 

I appreciate sharing your experience or knowledge around this.  I don't want to do something that I think would be safe and then have someone get sick from mold. I know that Steinway won't resell any flood damaged pianos and anything over 2 feet (going above the legs) is considered totaled.

 

Thanks

 

Dorian

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Maybe I'm not understanding this well, but, shouldn't the mold die as soon as the wood dries out? How could the mold survive on dry wood? And it is the spores that are dangerous, dried out mold doesn't produce spores anymore, so shouldn't be a danger, should it? Why would you need to bleach it, won't just time and dry air do the trick? I believe UV light should also work.

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GeorgeH   

In the meantime, you can tell your customer that In 200 years, some pseudoscientist will claim that the trace residues left by the flood waters were added by Roth to give the violin a superior tone.

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While there are many ways to get rid of mold, the one that's supposed to have no residual clean-up and no damage to the surface the mold is on is cold jet dry ice blasting. But I don't know who does it on small stuff, it's normally done in large scale like attics and such.

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carl1961   
7 minutes ago, Dwight Brown said:

UV light?

 

DLB

I agree, we us UV lights to kill bacteria in sugar tanks (they just blow the air from around the UV) and I also hear they have them on airplanes in the bathrooms

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Dealt with a mouldy 1929 Dötsch Violin about 11 months ago-- I took the back off, dusted all unvarnished surfaces with borax powder, allowed it to sit for a couple days, then brushed it off, wiped it down with a cloth dampened with a 10:1 water/bleach solution, allowed it to air-dry then re-dried it in my UV box to kill off any remnant spores. 11-months mould-free with no measurable warping.

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duane88   

I would think that the first order it to get the instrument dried out without cracking or distorting.

I just got back from Japan and saw what looked like a glass display case in a friend's barber shop. It had all of his camera gear in it and showed the inside and outside humidity. 45% inside, 78% outside. Some control of the drying process as a starting point?

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duane88   
2 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

In the meantime, you can tell your customer that In 200 years, some pseudoscientist will claim that the trace residues left by the flood waters were added by Roth to give the violin a superior tone.

Bruce is a REAL Scientist. 

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You probably want germicidal UV lights for this; most light boxes aren't in that range (UV-C). It should also improve the odor, but keep it away from the varnish...

 

Don't people dry out violins with dried rice?  Uncooked rice is very hygroscopic. Might have less residue than Borax powder; even though the rice is a PITA to remove. 

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Can't remember the name of the company, but there are artists like Rich Robinson from the Black Crowes who had a lot of vintage Gibson, and Gretsch guitars damaged severely in floods, both acoustic, and hollow body electric that have been restored and he still plays. Could do a google search about it and come up with the company........just did, RS Guitarworks, talk to them and find out what they did. Good luck.

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carl1961   
8 minutes ago, l33tplaya said:

You probably want germicidal UV lights for this; most light boxes aren't in that range (UV-C). It should also improve the odor, but keep it away from the varnish...

 

Don't people dry out violins with dried rice?  Uncooked rice is very deliquescent. Might have less residue than Borax powder; even though the rice is a PITA to remove. 

Yes your right UV-C very dangerous strength

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GeorgeH   

Please read what the CDC says about mold before you get too worried. If the violins dries out without any mold, it will be as safe as a violin that was never in a flood. If it stays dry, it will not grow mold. 

Mold is all around us all the time. The dangers of mold have been over-hyped by an industry that greatly profits from removing it. 

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm

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11 minutes ago, saintjohnbarleycorn said:

be careful with the boax power it can destroy you skin and wouldn't want breath any 

From Wikipedia:

" Sodium tetraborate decahydrate has no known hazard issues. Conditions defined as "over-exposure" to borax dust can cause respiratory irritation, while no skin irritation is known to exist due to borax. Ingestion may cause gastrointestinal distress including nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. "

If the inside of the instrument is dusted with borax, left for a while, and then blown out with compressed air, not enough would be left to cause any problems, and the residual borax shoud be enough to prevent any mold growth.

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12 hours ago, LethbridgeViolins said:

Dealt with a mouldy 1929 Dötsch Violin about 11 months ago-- I took the back off, dusted all unvarnished surfaces with borax powder, allowed it to sit for a couple days, then brushed it off, wiped it down with a cloth dampened with a 10:1 water/bleach solution, allowed it to air-dry then re-dried it in my UV box to kill off any remnant spores. 11-months mould-free with no measurable warping.

Vinegar is complementary in mold removal to borax...

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5 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

Please read what the CDC says about mold before you get too worried. If the violins dries out without any mold, it will be as safe as a violin that was never in a flood. If it stays dry, it will not grow mold. 

Mold is all around us all the time. The dangers of mold have been over-hyped by an industry that greatly profits from removing it. 

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm

Right.  Before they freak out they should be sure mold is actually present, and then still not freak out...  Not sure what we're coming to...

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21 hours ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

Vinegar is complementary in mold removal to borax...

+1 on the vinegar advice. Vinegar is a great mold killer, and apart from compounds made in reaction to it, vinegar evaporates entirely.  You have to be a lot more careful with bleach. I am not sure I would use hydrogen peroxide but I would use dilute hydrogen peroxide in preference to bleach.

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I lived in Krems an der Donau in the 90's, and one year half of the town, and surrounding area got massively engulfed by the Danube. My experience was that, at the time, there was absolutely nothing one could do, but twiddle your thumbs and make daft jokes that Krems an der Donau had become Krems im Donau (roughly; Krems on the Danube had become Krems in the Danube).

 

After about a week the water went away of it's own accord, and everything was covered in a thick revoltingly smelly putrid grey sludge. In the period as the people were shovelling the sludge away, I got a few “flooded” violins given to me. I just hung them on the balcony (mostly because I didn’t want my workshop to smell like that!) and forgot about them. After about 2 months, when they had thoroughly dried out, I took them to bits and scrubbed them (with tap water and a short haired brush), put them back together, and cleaned them in the normal way, and they were all perfectly all right. I think the only chemical you need is patience.

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

If anybody has any moldy old Italian instruments that they want to discard, as a public service, you may send them to me. :D

Watch the beaches along the upper Gulf of Mexico.  I am.  Modern foam filled cases float:ph34r:

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here is the msds info,

Skin Contact: After contact with skin, wash immediately with plenty of water. Gently and thoroughly wash the contaminated skin with running water and non-abrasive soap. Be particularly careful to clean folds, crevices, creases and groin. Cold water may be used. Cover the irritated skin with an emollient. If irritation persists, seek medical attention. Serious Skin Contact: Wash with a disinfectant soap and cover the contaminated skin with an anti-bacterial cream. Seek medical attention

 

 I used some for fleas one time and did not vacuum under my desk completely, I was getting contact with the skin on my feet , it took about a year for the skin to grow back. that was way more than you would get with what you are doing, but I thought I would just add my personal experience , wiki is not accurate info. 

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