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View Full Version : New + old picks/weird smell?



CountryMouse
08-24-2009, 09:07 AM
I am awaiting my first ukulele. It's a Mahalo (I can't afford much right now).

I have in the past played autoharp, dulcimer, and a little bit of mandolin. Also electronic keyboards, also not very much.

I have a question: I have a Tupperware box I've kept my picks and other autoharp and dulcimer paraphernalia in since the late 60's. Since Tupperware is pretty air-tight, I'm wondering what in the world in that box could have developed a strong vinegar smell! Ick!

In it are lots of picks: plastic, some possibly celluloid (including collar stays--great for interesting effects on the dulcimer), and felt. Also there are a couple picks that are plastic (I think) sandwiched inside felt on either side. Also my round pitchpipe, which I've had since the 60's. I tossed the two squashed metal thimbles, as they seemed to be sorta corroded.

What chemicals could be disintegrating/decomposing/outgassing here?? I hate to toss a lot of useful (and nostalgic) flat pics, finger picks, and some nice felt pics too.

I am going to use a totally new box of some sort for my ukulele things, as I don't want whatever this is to contaminate my new picks and such.

Has anyone got any ideas of what's going with my pick box, if airing things out will help, or if these pics are too old and must be tossed?

Thanks!

CountryMouse

Lanark
08-24-2009, 10:39 AM
I know that when some old film stocks and plastics begin to deteriorate that they're supposed to give off a vinegar smell from the acetate leeching out.
I remember seeing something recently on art preservation on the TV where some museums were having problems with some plastic works made in the late '60's - Early 70's becoming discolored and starting to break down. (There's some discussion of this on the Denver Art Museum (http://www.denverartmuseum.org/discover_the_dam/conservation/contemporary_plastics) site. Be aware that it may be NSFW due to exposed plastic statue nipples in the conservation documentation.)

I suspect that some of your older picks may be in the process of decomposing.

CountryMouse
08-24-2009, 10:52 AM
I know that when some old film stocks and plastics begin to deteriorate that they're supposed to give off a vinegar smell from the acetate leeching out.
I remember seeing something recently on art preservation on the TV where some museums were having problems with some plastic works made in the late '60's - Early 70's becoming discolored and starting to break down. (There's some discussion of this on the Denver Art Museum (http://www.denverartmuseum.org/discover_the_dam/conservation/contemporary_plastics) site. Be aware that it may be NSFW due to exposed plastic statue nipples in the conservation documentation.)

I suspect that some of your older picks may be in the process of decomposing.

Thank you SO MUCH for such a prompt reply! I'm gonna throw them out.

Do you think the felt picks are okay? I don't know exactly what they're made of, technically. But they are the soft, thick, ever-so-slightly fuzzy ones.

CountryMouse

dentuke
08-24-2009, 03:37 PM
Get a new tupperware box and stash a Bounce fabric softener sheet into the sound hole of the instruments...

CountryMouse
08-24-2009, 07:21 PM
Get a new tupperware box and stash a Bounce fabric softener sheet into the sound hole of the instruments...

Thanks for your suggestions, however Tupperware does not make containers like this anymore, and I haven't been able to find anything at all as good since. However I washed it out, and it seems fine now. :-)

I threw away all the picks--see above what Lanark had to say about acetate leeching out--ewwww.

As to Bounce--I can't use it--allergies.

However those were good ideas (if I were a normal person). :D

CountryMouse