PDA

View Full Version : Do humidity readings in-case vs in-body differ?



Recstar24
11-11-2015, 08:41 AM
As the winter season approaches us here in Chicago, I always wondered what you all have found to the above question. I do have a hygrometer in my uke cases in the headstock area, and last winter settled on sponges slightly damp in a plastic snack bag as a humidifier and was able to survive the winter season. I messed with all sorts of beads and vials and crystals but nothing beat the damp sponge in my case.

I did have an issue with water leaking a little bit out of the bag which I caught immediately, but coupled that with having a more expensive uke this season, my own questions about humidity and how to best regulate it, I'm considering going with the oasis inside the body kind.

Anyone that has measured humidity inside an uke before and compare it the case reading, or has done both case style humidification and in-uke humidification, I would love to hear your advice and input.

wayfarer75
11-11-2015, 08:48 AM
I haven't, because I'm not putting the hygrometer in the uke. I just measure it at the headstock area, keeping the hygrometer in the compartment under the neck.

When things get really bad in the winter, I'll put another humidifier by the neck. The last two winters were very cold, and my house got so dry, but the ukes came through just fine.

Some on UU have used the damp sponge method while keeping the ukes in a large plastic storage box.

Allen
11-11-2015, 09:10 AM
The humidity inside the case is going to be very consistent. Whether up by the neck or inside the body. The air inside the case will reach equilibrium in a very short amount of time.

An inexpensive method is to use a small tupperware type container that will fit in the neck area. Drill holes in the lid and put a damp sponge inside. It doesn't want to be wringing wet so that water might seep out. It doesn't take much moisture in a confined space to make all the difference.

Then just check the condition of the sponge every day or so to see if it needs recharging.

M3Ukulele
11-11-2015, 10:57 AM
I'm in Western Canada so it gets cold and dry and central heating dries things out. I've had pretty good success with a Oasis in the sound hole and a second planet waves with sponge by head stock. I like Oasis for sound hole but think Alan is correct a good Tupperware with holes in top of container at head stock is likely just as good way to go. when I leave ukuleles behind for my month holiday in winter I alway worry, but using both seems to work fine. I have oasis hydrometer in one case but went to Home Depot and for $9.99 CD$ purchased a couple digital hydrometer that work just as good. A bit bigger footprint but still fits in case.

mikelz777
11-11-2015, 11:28 AM
Yes, there is a difference in humidity readings and it can be quite significant. I live in MN where the humidity can get very low in the winter. I was concerned about getting a solid wood uke and having proper humidification so I did a bunch of experiments both with an empty case and with a (laminate) uke in the case. In an empty case I placed the hygrometer where the body of the uke would be and on separate days, placed the hydrometer in the head space, in the neck space, in the little storage area and in the body portion of the case. The humidity readings were quite variable and differed significantly. I did the same thing with a uke in the case except I took an additional reading with the hydrometer (Oasis) placed in the body of the uke. Again, the readings varied widely and in the end, the only setup I felt comfortable with was when the hydrometer was placed directly in the body of the uke. Placing the hydrometer in the head space, neck space or storage area was almost useless for humidifying the body area. When the humidity really drops, I place an additional hydrometer (a Humistat, usually wide open) in the neck space of the case. I would encourage you to do the same experiment and see for yourself how much the humidity varies.

spookelele
11-11-2015, 11:30 AM
The humidity inside the case is going to be very consistent. Whether up by the neck or inside the body.
I'm going to disagree.

The body of a uke is sealed by the finish. The only way in is the hole.

Humidity isn't that fast to equalize. Your basement is likely higher humidity than your attic even if all the doors are kept open.

In a case, especially nicer cases, the fake fur and foam clamps down around the neck, so air is not free to move around the case.

hollisdwyer
11-11-2015, 01:23 PM
As there is a range of 'acceptable' humidity levels for a Uke, why is it so important to determine the difference in levels in the body or in the case. As long as both readings are within acceptable parameters I can't see that it matters.

I now have a hydrometer in all my cases (Oasis) and use the Oasis humidifiers but do not always hang them in the actual body of the instrument.

I am probably being too obsessive as the winters are mild (Mediterranean mild) in Perth, Western Australia. The summers used to be very very dry but not any longer. Climate change anyone?

Katz-in-Boots
11-11-2015, 02:03 PM
In a case, especially nicer cases, the fake fur and foam clamps down around the neck, so air is not free to move around the case.

that's what bothers me. Some cases clamp down over the neck so that there are string marks in the padding.
I have a case with a hygrometer on the under-neck compartment, but the body of the uke is where I am most concerned about humidity. I got Oasis in-body humidifiers for that reason. Then I start worrying about the neck and whether I should also put a Herco or similar in the headstock part of the case. This is definitely obsessive for where I live: Tasmania is not extreme (though historically Hobart is the 2nd driest state capital city after Adelaide).

I also wonder how much of the humidifying effect goes straight to the case rather than the instrument because no matter what the outside humidity, the Oasis things seem to need refilling all the time.

Recstar24
11-11-2015, 03:04 PM
Thanks all for the input. Glad to hear some nice discussion and I appreciate the testing especially from my Minnesota friend, as the winters here are similar. I'm going to go ahead and order the oasis uke humidifier, but continue to monitor the case humidity with my hygrometer and supplement with damp sponge in case if needed.

JustinJ
11-11-2015, 03:17 PM
I humidify the room where I play and keep my instruments. I live in the Northeast and in the winters it can get dry especially with the heat on.

Last year, I started to humidify each bedroom and my downstairs. It made such a difference in my family staying well. It felt good to breathe and we all slept better.

I could tell a difference when I went into building or people's house that were not humidified.

It's not only a good solution for instruments but for your own health.

Recstar24
11-11-2015, 03:37 PM
I am a music teacher and my room houses 60 ukes - 30 sopranos and 30 concerts all solid mahogany. We invested in a very nice room humidifier that has been effective. For the long winter and thanksgiving breaks I have large plastic bins, I stack them 10 in each bin with a damp sponge in plastic bag and each bin stays right around 45% RH.

ALing
11-11-2015, 06:11 PM
I have also done humidity measurements in the body and headstock areas of the case. Hygrometer readings can be so inaccurate, especially trying to compare across brands so it isn't worth mentioning specifics. But I do find that there is a difference between both areas but a small one for my particular ukuleles and cases. But there was enough of a difference that I have Oasis humidifiers in the body and the headstock areas.

I keep a hygrometer in the headstock area but I also check for sharp fret edges as a practical test for humidity. I live in a relative dry climate and am more likely to wind up with a dried out ukulele instead of a swollen one.

mikelz777
11-11-2015, 06:20 PM
Thanks all for the input. Glad to hear some nice discussion and I appreciate the testing especially from my Minnesota friend, as the winters here are similar. I'm going to go ahead and order the oasis uke humidifier, but continue to monitor the case humidity with my hygrometer and supplement with damp sponge in case if needed.

It's a good idea to keep monitoring your humidity situation. I actually put my hygrometer inside the uke (I've rigged it with a string to lower in and take out.) and then put the Oasis humidifier in the hole and hang it on the strings as it was designed to do. That way, I'm applying and measuring humidity where it's most critical - in the body. My ukes lay flat in their cases until I take them out to play so it's not an issue having the hygrometer rattling around in the body. If I had to move my uke anywhere I'd just temporarily put the hygrometer elsewhere in the case until I returned home and was settled again.

bookoo
11-11-2015, 08:19 PM
I humidify the room where I play and keep my instruments. I live in the Northeast and in the winters it can get dry especially with the heat on.

Last year, I started to humidify each bedroom and my downstairs. It made such a difference in my family staying well. It felt good to breathe and we all slept better.

I could tell a difference when I went into building or people's house that were not humidified.

It's not only a good solution for instruments but for your own health.

+1
__________________________________________________ _______________

Kayak Jim
11-12-2015, 04:17 AM
I also wonder how much of the humidifying effect goes straight to the case rather than the instrument because no matter what the outside humidity, the Oasis things seem to need refilling all the time.

Yes humidity goes go into the case (soft material and backing plywood) and from there it can go into the instrument (and travel to parts of the instrument not near the humidifier). The whole enclosed case+ uke becomes a humidified system. I've never heard of (nor can imagine) a uke damaged if there was a well maintained humidifier anywhere in the case.