Finish checking on my old Martin

Tall-Fir

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Just looking for advice here. I moved 7 months ago. In my new apartment I have my guitar out on a stand and I play it frequently. This is different than in the past, as I always kept it in its’ case. Recently, the finish has started to check. I would say it is checking at a fairly rapid rate. Is there anything I can do to stop my finish from checking? What causes checking anyway?
 

Freeman Keller

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That is one of the characteristics of nitrocellulose lacquer - with age it checks. Humidity swings, exposure to cold seem to accelerate it but I don't know anything that will prevent it. However I'm sure you do know that leaving it out on a stand it a recipe for other humidity problems, unless you know that you room is humidified between 40 and 45% percent I would suggest keeping it in a case with a humidifier. It will still check, but more slowly.
 

Paul G.

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1. Keep it in the case.
2. Keep it humidified. When heat or AC are on, the humidity in your house will be very low. Make sure you have at least 40% humidity. If not, keep it in its case, preferably with a humidification system -- I like the Dadarrio Humidpak system (no liquids, so no chance of leaks), or maintain room humidity.
3. Keep it from big temperature swings. If you turn down your heat at night, or only run AC in the evening, then keep it in its case so temperature changes will be gradual.

Are you seeing a pattern here? If it's too much trouble to open a case to play your guitar and then put it back afterwards, perhaps a reevaluation of your priorities could be in order.

One last thing -- Finish checking is not a bad thing, slow down its progress by all means, but DO NOT "repair" or refinish a guitar with checking. It is a natural process.
 

Tall-Fir

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Thx so much for the advice everybody. I value what everyone has to say in this regard and I will be reprioritizing. I will be looking for a humidifier system as of today. Thx again.

My 1972 D-35 sounds wonderful. It’s very powerful. Generally, I have played it quite a bit and it still is in really nice shape as I have taken good care of it.
 

Telekarster

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Checking is one thing, and actually desirable to some, but glue joints coming loose or cracks developing are another matter entirely. As others have said, be sure to try and keep your environment to 40-45 percent humidity as much as possible. A humidifier or dehumidifier, depending on your situation, should help you with this. D-35 is one of my favorites ;)
 




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