Post by Curmudgeon
My old (76) nails are splitting both longitudinally and horizontally (Delaminating). This is recent - never had a problem in the past. Does anybody have any suggestions?
Maybe you're already doing these things, but at the risk of wading through stuff you already know...
Keep nails as short as you can without losing the tone you like. I've shortened my nails quite a bit in the last few years and it helps. The less nail, the lower the chances that wear and tear and accidents will weaken the nail. And you always have newer healthier nail in contact with the string. Everyone's fingertip/nail geometry is different, but experimenting with shorter may help.
Keep nails smooth. I use the micromesh kit from Strings by Mail--you can buy direct from micromesh, but not quite as convenient. I use all the way to their finest grit, which is really polishing. This keeps little nicks from propagating into real cracks.
I also use Healthy Hoof as a moisturizer. I'm sure there are lots of other useful nail moisturizers. I think this helps, although it's hard to know for sure. The idea is that by keeping the nails from drying too much splits aren't quite as bad.
I have what appears to be a milder issue with splitting, but this regime has reduced breakage through accidents and wear and tear. I can still see the delamination lines, but they don't open up and affect the sound when my nails are short enough.
Here's hoping we don't have to relearn how to play without nails at our advanced age.