View Full Version : Humidification in the desert

Still Water Weapons
01-02-2016, 06:40 AM
I'm sure the topic of humidification has be discussed before, but I have specific questions that hopefully those more experienced than I can help with.
I live in Tucson, using central heat right now at it is in the chilly 60's:). Humidity in the house is most likely single digits.

I humidify my solid top, laminate sides uke and my other cheaper one with Oasis humidifiers. I am also careful to keep them in cases when not being played. Here is the question, is the case part important? I am looking to upgrade to an all solid uke this year. Is a uke that is humidified OK to hang on the wall in my environment, or is the micro climate of a case important to keep the level up high enough? This would apply to a solid top uke and an all solid uke.
Thanks for your replies!

01-02-2016, 07:15 AM
Yes, the case is important. I found that a gig bag with an Oasis doesn't hold the humidity as well as a solid case. I live in a very dry area too, and I wouldn't hang a solid wood uke on the wall without an enclosure. I think of humidity like it is heat. When you heat a room, if you leave a window open, a lot of the heat will escape. If you remove all the walls, a heater has to work very hard and if the wind whips up, it can't be very effective. You want to humidify the neck as well as the body, because a dry neck will shrink and the frets will become exposed more and be sharp on the ends. I wouldn't worry so much about all laminate or plastic ukes. If you do try and hang one, keep a close eye on it for any signs of trouble. If the room is humidified properly, then no problem.


01-02-2016, 07:26 AM
You could find a glass-front cabinet, seal the corners with caulk, and add a humidifier. Or make your own.

We're in the middle of renovating a bathroom, but after that's done, I plan to modify an abandoned bookcase into a uke cabinet so that I can display my two all-solid ukes (Pete Howlett koa tenor and Ohana mahogany soprano) instead of leaving them in their cases when I'm not playing them.

The back of the bookcase is cardboard, so I'll buy a piece of plywood at a hardware store and have it cut to size. Then I'll caulk the edges. I'll mount hooks on the back to hold the instruments. The front will be plexiglass, again cut to size, with hinges attached.

For humidity, I may simply place on the bottom a couple of shallow plastic bins, filled with water, with holes punched in the top.

When this gets underway, I'll post updates.

Still Water Weapons
01-02-2016, 07:47 AM
OK, so the case is important! Thanks for the replies, I've wondered this for a while and never got around to asking. I will probably reactivate some plans to build a display case.
Call me lazy, but I tend to play more when my uke is out rather than in the case.

01-02-2016, 10:01 AM
Get a good room hygrometer (not those cheap uke case things, their junk). The humidity level should be between 42-50 on the meter, not 55, not 35. If the room you are playing in is at that level you can leave your uke out or put them in the case. When sealing them in a plastic case, you have to really watch them to make sure you don't over do it, the ukes can gather mold or the glue can let go if the levels are too high.

QUOTE=Still Water Weapons;1794861]OK, so the case is important! Thanks for the replies, I've wondered this for a while and never got around to asking. I will probably reactivate some plans to build a display case.
Call me lazy, but I tend to play more when my uke is out rather than in the case.[/QUOTE]

01-02-2016, 10:10 AM
With a display case you need to make sure you have a source of moisture in there, a dish with water works. Most important is to put a humistat, which measures the percentage of humidity, into the case. I have about 6 of them placed around house. I KNOW what the humidity level is, no guessing. I even have them inside some of my hard cases with the ukes. As a wise man said "I only really know what I can measure"

Reno Dave
01-03-2016, 05:38 AM
Living in Northern Nevada, I can be challenged sometimes keeping the humidity levels up for my beautiful ukuleles. I have even installed weather stripping around the edge of my hard cases to trap the humidity in and keeping dryness out. I use an Oasis humidifier in the sound hole and when the humidity levels drop I place an additional humidifier in the case as well. Watching the local weather on TV tells me what current conditions are.

However, the biggest asset I have is a humidity gauge in every ukulele case. I found at my local "PETS MART" store humidity gauges with sticky backs in the reptile section of the store. The cost about 8 bucks each. They are inexpensive and are my first line of defense when the humidity drops. Oddly enough all three humidity gauges in the different cases hover at the same level.

I keep my ukes in a cooler room stored in their cases away from heater/AC floor vents. The individual humidity gauges in each case really helps.
Reno Dave

01-03-2016, 06:13 AM
I too, live in the same dry area as you, probably the driest climate in the country. Just use your oasis humidifier in a hard case and make sure it's always filled, I fill mine about every week. 3 years with all solid ukes and I've never had any problems. Don't have any hygrometer and don't have any idea what the %'s are inside the case, but everyone I know in the Phoenix area does the same thing and I've never heard of any problems.

If you want to build or buy a cabinet or have a humidified room, then you'd want a hygrometer and keep track of the %'s, I suppose.

My 30's Martin has been in Arizona for years with no humidification, it has some repaired cracks on the back, but has been stable for the 2 years I've had it. I keep it stored in a hard case, though.

I recently acquired an all solid Pono that has been kept in a gig bag for 10 years with no humidification and other than some sharp fret ends it's in fine shape! I wouldn't chance it with a new instrument, though.

So, just keep your oasis filled and try not to worry about it. :shaka:

01-04-2016, 06:22 AM
Another Arizona denizen with humidity concerns. I use an Oasis on my solid wood ukes. But it takes 15 seconds or so to put the humidifier in and take it out, which makes it less likely that I will grab one of these for a few quick strums, which can turn into a longer playing session.

Are there such things as whole room humidifiers that might work well? I would still keep those better ukes in hard cases, but getting around the minor hassle of moving the humidifier would be a plus to me. BTW, I keep my ukes in a fairly small room - probably 10 x 10.