After being abroad for a month I got out my Les Paul Classic which had been sitting in its case for as long. I noticed some faint cracks in the varnish, they seem to stem from the bridge and pots. Does anyone know if cold temperatures could have caused this? As it's winter here in NZ and there has not been any heating in my house for the past month, this was the first thing that came to mind.

Bit gutted, but it still plays and sounds the same so I'm not gonna get too upset about it.

Yeah i think when something freezes and thaws constantly, it causes splits and fractures to appear. This happens to some places in the world with roads, i forget the proper name for it though. As long as it's only in the varnish it should be fine, but i'd watch it just to be sure.
Do the cracks look like the "checking" halfway down this page?

If so, it's almost certainly from the temperature. Guitars are not comfy with extremes, in moisture or temperature. Sorry to hear about it man. To keep it from happening again, don't leave the guitar any place you would be uncomfortable in. If you would be uncomfortable without AC or heat, it's bad for the guitar.
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Last edited by Free to Guitar at Sep 13, 2008,
They are nowhere near as noticeable as the ones on that webpage and go in straight lines horizontally as opposed to the more random pattern on there.

The temperature doesn't get extremely low here, probably around 5ºC at night. There is quite a bit of moisture in the air, maybe not having the house heated for such a long time has allowed moisture to build up in the air. Having said that my guitar has been locked in it's case.

I believe the term used in the geographical sense is frost - shattering or freeze thaw,
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How long did you take to open the case?

If you mean how long it took me to actually physically open the case - just pop, pop, pop, pop, clink and we're open. If you mean how long after I returned home then around 36 hours.
Just got off the phone to my dad and he mentioned that this used to happen to a lot of old Gibsons as they were finished with cellulose lacquer which is more brittle than the lacquer used today. Would Gibson go as far as using the old cellulose lacquer on their re-issues? I've done a google search and found out the Classic is finished with 'nitro-cellulose lacquer'. Is this the older more brittle stuff?

Quote by Mr Sal
The temperature doesn't get extremely low here, probably around 5ºC at night.

The temperature doesn't have to be below freezing. A month of cooling at night and heating during the day is probably the cause.

As for your dad's theory, all nitro finishes are prone to this. Some might be more than others but it can happen with any of them.
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Looks like I'm gonna have to find a babysitter for it next time I go away. Cheers.
il baby sit it

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Quote by Scrubs
I believe the term used in the geographical sense is frost - shattering or freeze thaw,

Happened to me with two different guitars. Both were polyurethane finishes so they didn't crack but the wood itself deformed underneath the finish. It's from freezing the wood and it wouldn't matter how long you left your case closed before reopening. The first guitar was my Charvel/Jackson which I took with me to CFS Alert (>700 NM from North Pole). The aircrew left the palette that my guitar was on out on the tarmac in sub-zero wheater for hours causing it to freeze. The second was my American Deluxe Strat. When I moved from ONtario to Alberta in the winter, the movers left the trailer out overnite with my guitar in it in sub-zero temps again. While guitar woods are dried there is still some moisture in them. At sub-zero temps the moisture freezes & expands, expanding the wood as well. It never goes back to it's original condition.

A milder version of this may not deform the wood as mine did but hurt your more delicate laquer finish.
Moving on.....