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Hello all,
> I believe that ALL messages should be posted to this list and discussed.
> Let the list membership decide what is harmful.  Isn't that the purpose
> of the list?
I don't believe that this group was inspired by the notion that all
topics of discussion should be posted.  In fact, from the informational
file sent out when we subscribed (and again not too long ago) it was
reasonably clear what the intensions of the list's founders were.  I
believe that the moderators of this group are aware of generally accepted
museum conservation practice and I suspect they are a thoughtful bunch,
with the concerns of musical objects as well as human feelings in mind.
As they were the ones who orginally set this ListServ up I, for one,
expect to play by their rules.
Many of Mr. OWENSL's questions are on the topic of instrument making.
While I understand his desire to know more about construction practices
(being a maker myself) and know that MICAT-L does not exclude these
topics, there are probably better forums of discussion for and by makers.
MICAT-L cannot be all things to all people.  There is at least one UseNet
newsgroup that is for general instrument construction topics and several
ListServes which would probably be more helpful and to the point for
makers.  If there is enough interest, a ListServ for hammered dulcimer
makers can be set up, as several makers have done for their own types of
I believe that many of Mr. OWENSL's questions are right on the mark for
this group, particularly those regarding history, care and maintenance,
and cleaning and polishing.  I only wish that I could be of more help to
him on these subjects.
(As far as cleaning and polishing of wooden instruments with a resin/oil
coating or those with a simple resin coating, I beleive that staying away
from all cleaners and polishes containing mineral or drying oils is a wise
idea.  Non-drying oils tend to penetrate into varnish fissures and creep
into places where removing the oil becomes impossible, altering
the visual characteristics.  Drying oils tend to bond with the existing
coating making it difficult to remove over time.  I suspect some sort of
wax/resin polish would be acceptable as it can be buffed to a variety of
lusters, can be stable over time, and can be fairly easily removed should
a better polish be proved better down the road.  Though exactly what wax
formulation to use is my question.)
I must say that I am not perfectly pleased in my participation in MICAT-L.
I had wished that the contributors would be more forthcoming in the way of
pointers to reference materials for those of us who are not as familiar
with the methods and materials of conservation practices for musical
instruments, particularly the basics, as a way to form a base of
discussion for many of us. (The pointers to the CoOL archives and CIMCIM
reference materials have been very helpful however.) In turn I had hoped
that there might be a more active collaboration between museum types (for
lack of a word) and instrument makers, repairers and collectors active in
the musicial community.  It seems to me that there could be quite a bit of
cooperation between makers, repairers, connoiseurs, and conservators for
the sake of the preservation of musical objects.  I do not expect to have
the conservation expertise of others spoon-fed to me, but I had hoped for
a larger number of participants raising issues of methods and materials of
conservation as they relate to both museum and non-museum instruments.
Take care,
David Van Zandt

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