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byjimini
11-24-2014, 07:52 AM
I'm in the UK and last night the outside temperature dropped to 1C; not a problem when you have the heating on, except when I go to sleep and have the heating turn off.

My ukes are on a Hercules display stand, should I put putting rugs over the stand, or storing the instruments in their cases? Or am I worrying about nothing.

Rick Turner
11-24-2014, 08:08 AM
Temperature isn't really the issue, it's low humidity. Do you have any idea of the ambient humidity there in your house? If not, you should get a humidistat...a reasonably accurate one. If your humidity is much below about 30%, you should either get a room humidifier and try to keep the place at 45% or so, or else keep the ukes in a closet or cabinet that is humidified or in hardshell cases with humidifiers.

byjimini
11-24-2014, 08:13 AM
Thanks Rick :)

The humidity here at the moment is a mighty 80%. :/

Rick Turner
11-24-2014, 08:41 AM
Just keep an eye on it. Humidity can drop precipitously when there's no rain, it's cold, and you heat the place, and it's the fast drops that really stress wood.

mds725
11-24-2014, 09:45 AM
One mistake people often make about humidity is assuming that the indoor humidity where they keep their ukuleles is the same as the outdoor humidity where they live. I live in San Francisco, and in normal winters, it rains a lot and the outdoor humidity is high when it rains (although it drops a lot when it's dry). However, the heating in my apartment dries out the indoor air, so it's dry indoors even when it's humid outside. That's one reason why, as Rick said, it's important to have a device that measures indoor humidity.

byjimini
11-24-2014, 10:21 AM
Yes, I'll be investing in a gauge as of tonight. :) Thanks guys.

Booli
11-24-2014, 11:38 AM
Does anyone have a recommendation or link to a reasonably accurate humidistat for measuring room humidity?

Not case humidity, but for a whole room...

I see analog-dial type ones from Herco, and digital units from other makers, priced anywhere from $19 to $69, but am not sure if the more expensive units are really any better than the cheaper ones...

please advise - THANKS :)

byjimini
11-24-2014, 11:50 AM
Booli, I've bought a cheap one for now, and will see how it goes.

Recstar24
11-24-2014, 12:25 PM
Does anyone have a recommendation or link to a reasonably accurate humidistat for measuring room humidity?

Not case humidity, but for a whole room...

I see analog-dial type ones from Herco, and digital units from other makers, priced anywhere from $19 to $69, but am not sure if the more expensive units are really any better than the cheaper ones...

please advise - THANKS :)

Check out my calibration hygrometer thread here if you haven't already - I just picked up a caliber IV which by my research is the most accurate one of the cheaper more common consumer models.

Someone on a guitar forum measured its accuracy at different RH points and found it to be pretty spot on. In the same thread I also link to David Burgess who sells a calibrated Caliber IV.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?102280-Calibrating-a-hygrometer

Ramart
11-24-2014, 12:53 PM
humidistat...

A.K.A. "hygrometer"

Rick Turner
11-24-2014, 02:06 PM
Google the word. Both seem to be acceptable, though "humidistat" is more often used when the device is connected to a switch that triggers a device to either raise or lower humidity.

HBolte
11-25-2014, 03:37 AM
Yeah, like the difference between "thermometer" and "thermostat." Hygrometer measures, humidistat controls.

vanflynn
11-25-2014, 04:12 AM
If the room gets cool at night, make sure that the case is stored out of direct morning sunlight. Those black cases are solar collectors and rapid temp changes (especially in lower humidity) can be bad

stevepetergal
11-25-2014, 05:20 AM
Rick is right, humidity control is really your main concern. But, it would be best if you avoid freezing and thawing your instruments. The inter-cellular moisture in the wood can freeze (at what temp. and after what duration??), causing unwanted expansion and contraction usually associated only with humidity fluctuations (which cause expansion and contraction by adding and subtracting extra-cellular moisture).
By the way, blankets are really intended to keep body heat in. Your ukulele has none. Benefit? Probably none.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-25-2014, 06:36 AM
Another thing to keep in mind is that cold air has the ability to hold very little moisture while warm air can hold a lot more. Home heaters can dry the air out as well but better warm than cold. I find the oasis in-case humidifiers to be very effective.

mds725
11-25-2014, 08:13 AM
I find that keeping an open container of water near my radiator helps with the indoor humidity generally. But I use Oasis in-case humidifiers (and in some instances, the Oasis humidifier that goes in the body of the instrument) to be safe.

Rllink
11-25-2014, 09:39 AM
Interesting thread about humidity. Although, when I read the title of the thread I thought that the OP was storing his ukes outside, and had to bring them in for the winter. Even though I have a laminate ukulele, and not an expensive one at that, I bought a humidifier for it. No use not to. They aren't that expensive. My sister-in-law plays the mandolin, and has for as long as I have known her. She has two or three. He daughter plays the violin. They live out in the country and they live this sort of Mother Earth type life style out there. They heat with wood all winter, and it gets cold here in the winter. I asked her about cracking and humidity, and she said that she tries to keep them from drying out, which she did not elaborate on how she does that, but she also thinks that extreme temperature is as bad as dry air for wooden instruments. She said that in sub zero weather the wood can contract so much that it will break the glue joints and sometimes crack the bracing. Anyway, someone mentioned temperature changes, and I thought that I would add to that.

Recstar24
11-25-2014, 09:45 AM
If I could chime in seeking advice for my own...I have 30 mahogany mainlands in my music classroom, and are harsh winters are upon us, which means the heat is blasting away. Do people have experience with room humidifiers and can comment on their effectiveness? My music classroom is a normal sized classroom, maybe I can experiment with a tub of water by the heater or even a cheap mist humidifier.

Mim
11-25-2014, 09:47 AM
In the winter I "winterize" my shop for this very reason! Ukes are off the walls and stored in a room upstairs with 2 different whole house humidifiers in one small room (a little overkill, but one is set to only come on at a slightly lower humidity than the others, so in other words it is designated as the back up in case the other one goes empty and I did not notice it). It is that important! And in case the power goes out, it is easy to start the generator and keep that room all sorts of cozy. I have a bunch of humidity gauges, but the digital one I got from Wal-mart that measures humidity and temperature and is about $8 has served me well. And a good in-case humifier is worth every penny. But heck, my uke has a baggie and a damp kitchen sponge in it. I throw the humidity gauge in there to make sure it is doing a proper job from time to time!

vanflynn
11-25-2014, 10:07 AM
I ended up putting a humidifier in my furnace (~ $400) which really helps, but my freind has a couple of large indoor zenny trickle waterfall fountains as swears by them. He said that he adds a gallon of water to it over the course of a week.

I guess the main thing is that anything is better than nothing and you need a hygrometer to see if you have a problem

Recstar24
11-25-2014, 10:32 AM
I ended up putting a humidifier in my furnace (~ $400) which really helps, but my freind has a couple of large indoor zenny trickle waterfall fountains as swears by them. He said that he adds a gallon of water to it over the course of a week.

I guess the main thing is that anything is better than nothing and you need a hygrometer to see if you have a problem

Great idea! Mike at mainland also recommended an aquarium, those water fall things I would imagine release a lot of humidity in the air, as does an aquarium.

Before leaving school for thanksgiving break, measured humidity with a caliber IV, and it read in the mid 20's (uncalibrated). Not good I know, especially with 30 solid ukes. Checked the band room and orchestra room, the other music classroom we have, one of the other practice room areas for possible storage, all the same. Ukes are new and still in original cardboard boxes, but we are getting a cart built which will hold all 30. With them being out in the wild, I should start looking at what I want to do for the 2 week break in December.

Thanks mim for the input, it appears I am in a similar situation with many shop owners and need to take care of the humidity and storage thing ASAP.

Booli
11-25-2014, 11:34 AM
Check out my calibration hygrometer thread here if you haven't already
...

In the same thread I also link to David Burgess who sells a calibrated Caliber IV.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?102280-Calibrating-a-hygrometer

Thanks for the links and that thread, I read all of it, as well as the linked pages to the delcamp site forums, and all that David Burgess has on his own site.

Also a big thanks to everyone else who has contributed to this thread with helpful info.

However, I am still a bit confused...

I have a very nice 'Sharper Image' 1.5 gallon ultrasonic cool-mist humidifier, that I use to humidify my bedroom at night during the winter, as when the heat is cranking on colder winter nights (in NJ it can get down to -10 F outside in January), for without it, it is near impossible to breathe...so I am figuring that if *I* am uncomfortable, my ukes are probably going to be stressed by lack of moisture as well.

I fill the humidifier with tap water (we have well-water), which is filtered before it enters the system in the house, not sure what the hardness is, and the 1.5 gallons lasts about 24hrs before the humidifier is empty. It shuts off when there is no water, and is nearly silent.

Also, in my bedroom, I have several ukes out, and hanging on stands, and the rest are inside Uke-Crazy-style hard foam cases, in a nearby closet.

I am trying to keep them all happy without having to buy and maintain case humidifiers for 10+ instruments (@ nearly $20 ea) - I'd rather first spend some money on an accurate and precise hygrometer to see if my existing humidifier is enough, and if not, get a second whole room humidifier, and I'll take the ukes out of their cases and hang them up if need be...

I'm not in a position to have a humidor-style cabinet similar to what kohanmike has constructed...so my point in sharing all of this:

Has anyone else used that Caliber IV hygrometer that Recstar24 has mentioned, and if so, what is your experience with it?

I am also open to other suggestions, so please do not be shy. :)

Recstar24
11-25-2014, 12:21 PM
To the best of my knowledge, the caliber IV is the only one of the consumer models I found that had some measurement data to back up its accuracy. I may have read that the oasis is probably made from the same factory in china just a little more expensive because of the brand name and that it is ukulele related. The caliber III was very popular here and in the cigar world and the IV appears to be better and user calibratable.

With as many ukes as you own, I would just go with the burgess calibrated one as you'll know it will be accurate. My burgess one is coming in later this week, and I'll use that to reference my other caliber IV I just got from amazon. Searching old threads here, a lot of people here used the old caliber III which was kind of a standard for cheap. Ht accurate hygrometers.

stevepetergal
11-25-2014, 02:57 PM
If I could chime in seeking advice for my own...I have 30 mahogany mainlands in my music classroom, and are harsh winters are upon us, which means the heat is blasting away. Do people have experience with room humidifiers and can comment on their effectiveness? My music classroom is a normal sized classroom, maybe I can experiment with a tub of water by the heater or even a cheap mist humidifier.

If you get a room humidifier for your classroom full of ukes, you'll want one with a big reservoir. As big as possible, and be sure to fill it before you go home on Friday.

Recstar24
11-25-2014, 03:07 PM
If you get a room humidifier for your classroom full of ukes, you'll want one with a big reservoir. As big as possible, and be sure to fill it before you go home on Friday.

Already home :( will definitely have a plan for the two weeks of Christmas break.

I'll talk to the custodial staff and get them on board, they are nice enough where they would be happy to fill up a tank over break.

coolkayaker1
11-25-2014, 03:10 PM
7334973350

Ukes in their condominium. :-)

Sterilite stackable underbed box with lids $17 each; two car wash sponges, $1 each; two gallon Freezer bags (left open, no other mod) 50 cents each. Total: $20.00 to humidify 5 sopranos or 4 concerts or 3 tenors. Change water every 2-3 months. Hygrometers (in corner of each box, see stacked photo) optional. Cracked ukes in 2.75 years with this system: 0.

:p

SoCal88
11-25-2014, 06:20 PM
Nice set up CK1 ...curious... what humidity levels (on average or general range) do the 2 sponges get to in the condo's?

coolkayaker1
11-25-2014, 06:31 PM
Nice set up CK1 ...curious... what humidity levels (on average or general range) do the 2 sponges get to in the condo's?

Hi, SoCal88.

The humidity generally is 40%-50% when the condos are in a non-window area. The sponges need refills when the humidity drops off in 2-3 months, so I just watch the gauges.

I originally stacked the condos near a big window but, like a terrarium, the humidity shot up to 70%. This overhumidification (if one has only a bright, sunny room) can be corrected by opening the lid a bit (i.e. sliding them slightly to one side to leave a 3 inch or so gap on one side of the top), but this is difficult if one stacks them. But, again, once taken to a non-sunny space, boom, it drops to 40-50% (no more than 50%). Note: I tried it with only one cheap car wash sponge, but then the humidity was only 35% or so; one sponge might be enough if one puts the condo by a window (but they would be filling it more than every 2-3 months).

Sorry for too long answer. lol

Recstar24
11-25-2014, 06:46 PM
Nice setup! Love the DIY humidifiers. I've seen the ones with floral beads, which also output tons of humidity. Looks like your sponges are just as effective.

kohanmike
11-25-2014, 08:31 PM
I enclosed a shelf in my bookcase, sealed the inside edges, added trays of water and two hygrometers, an analog and a digital. It stays between 40% and 60% all the time by moving the covers on, off and partially on the trays. Most of my ukes are solid wood, and I built the shelf when my Lanikai solid monkeypod cracked during a dry spell here in Los Angeles. I was inspired by a cabinet wickedwahine1 posted last year.

http://www.fairfax67.com/images/1 Shelf.jpg

HBolte
11-26-2014, 03:15 AM
Another thing to keep in mind is that cold air has the ability to hold very little moisture while warm air can hold a lot more. Home heaters can dry the air out as well but better warm than cold. I find the oasis in-case humidifiers to be very effective.

I have a whole house humidifier attached to my furnace. It's still not enough. Even with that I keep my ukuleles in their cases with Oasis soundhole humidifiers.

Ramart
11-26-2014, 07:13 AM
$9.98 at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0013BKDO8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I noted that one purchaser commented under that listing's Q&A section that she had tested this inexpensive unit against "...the large professional computerised humidity meter at work connected to the air control system, [and] the Acurite has not failed once to deliver accurate measurements..."

I already had a hygrometer (built into a desktop LCD atomic clock) but I just ordered an AcuRite to confirm its readings. The AcuRite also reports the 24-hour high/low humidity range so you gauge conditions during your absences and overnight.

SoCal88
11-26-2014, 10:47 AM
Hi, SoCal88.

The humidity generally is 40%-50% when the condos are in a non-window area. The sponges need refills when the humidity drops off in 2-3 months, so I just watch the gauges.

I originally stacked the condos near a big window but, like a terrarium, the humidity shot up to 70%. This overhumidification (if one has only a bright, sunny room) can be corrected by opening the lid a bit (i.e. sliding them slightly to one side to leave a 3 inch or so gap on one side of the top), but this is difficult if one stacks them. But, again, once taken to a non-sunny space, boom, it drops to 40-50% (no more than 50%). Note: I tried it with only one cheap car wash sponge, but then the humidity was only 35% or so; one sponge might be enough if one puts the condo by a window (but they would be filling it more than every 2-3 months).

Sorry for too long answer. lol

CK1 - Thanks for the info...nice set-up...i might have to build my own condo complex as well :) You may remember me...we conversed on your blog about the Kiwaya MTK . I didn't pull the trigger on it (at least yet)...went a different direction for now.

coolkayaker1
11-26-2014, 10:20 PM
CK1 - Thanks for the info...nice set-up...i might have to build my own condo complex as well :) You may remember me...we conversed on your blog about the Kiwaya MTK . I didn't pull the trigger on it (at least yet)...went a different direction for now.
That was a lovely recent exchange about the Kiwaya tenor. Thanks for that. As I mentioned there, the Kiwaya tenor is my most regretted sold uke.

Let me know if you have any other questions about the uke condo. Bye now.