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bnicholas26
07-06-2009, 03:51 PM
I was going to place a small humidifier in my case for my solid Ohai Pono. The hygrometer reads around 70% (even in the closet). Should I let it be for the summer? I live in Connecticut and will definitely humidify in the winter. I know the rule is 50% but how much humidity is too much?

DaveVisi
07-06-2009, 04:59 PM
I think you're pretty close to the high side of humidity. One thing to look out for is rapid humidity *change* The rapid dehydration can cause cracks and warpage. If I recall, wood takes on moisture slowly but can release it rather quickly. I wouldn't add any more, other than to stabilize it in case you move your Uke to a dry area for a few days. In other words, use the humidifier if you plan any drastic changes, otherwise I wouldn't worry about it.

upskydowncloud
07-06-2009, 11:33 PM
I was going to place a small humidifier in my case for my solid Ohai Pono. The hygrometer reads around 70% (even in the closet). Should I let it be for the summer? I live in Connecticut and will definitely humidify in the winter. I know the rule is 50% but how much humidity is too much?

My dial is showing 60% humidity in my case today (and has for the past few days) so I've taken out both humidifiers and am going to buy some silica gel to take the moisture out. It should be between 40 and 55% according to my case.

UkuEroll
07-07-2009, 07:48 AM
Do we need to worry about Humidity here in the UK, I never even gave it a thought.

specialmike
07-07-2009, 08:04 AM
You know, I asked this question and questions similar to this a while back. Just today, I asked a question pertaining to the problems of not having A/C in hot and humid GA weather.

Grumpy Coyote and all of the other fine people on UU said:


Like others have said - don't worry about it.

Wet is bad... like water wet. Humid is fine. Drying out (like desert dry) quickly from very humid can also be an issue, but wood is amazingly resilient.

You are not talking about extremes here - at least not from the perspective of wood. It’ll be just fine.

One note about cases (and it’s counter to most advice you’ll hear)… It’s usually a terrible idea to keep an instrument in a case full time. It’s not protecting it from the environmental changes, just dents. The exception is a humidity regulated case, that’s the only way the case makes much of a difference. Usually cases just make problems of heat and moisture worse.

So get it out of the case… keep it on a stand. Play the snot out of it. Only worry about rapid extremes and very very wet or very very dry.

So I would say as long as your RH, relative humidity, is hovering around than 50-70%, it'll be fine. But like the Grumpy Coyote said, "wet is bad, humid is fine!"
So as long as your uke isn't sweatin' you can play it until you do.

Grumpy coyote is awesome :)

GrumpyCoyote
07-07-2009, 08:05 AM
I think you're pretty close to the high side of humidity. One thing to look out for is rapid humidity *change* The rapid dehydration can cause cracks and warpage. If I recall, wood takes on moisture slowly but can release it rather quickly. I wouldn't add any more, other than to stabilize it in case you move your Uke to a dry area for a few days. In other words, use the humidifier if you plan any drastic changes, otherwise I wouldn't worry about it.


Exactly... rapid change is the key. I'll add to that "extreme rapid change". For the most part, I ignore humidity. We live in the Pacific North West - on average it swings from 85% to 50% in just a few hours every day. That seems extreme – it’s not. No problems - ever.

The exception is when my electric heat comes on in the winter… that can really dry things out quickly. I keep an eye on sensitive parts (mostly bridges) then, but that’s it. Usually for a week or less and then the wood adjusts.

One note – as I said in another thread, keep your instruments OUT of the case (unless you have sealed cases with humidity control). Cases tend to amplify problems (I’ve cracked two bridges by leaving guitars in cases over the years) rather than compensate for them. They can also hide problems out of site that would easily be spotted on a stand. They are for protecting instruments from dents – not atmosphere. Again, there are a few climates, and a few case styles that are the exception to this – but for the most part, get it out of the case and on a stand.

Boozelele
07-07-2009, 08:51 AM
Grumpy coyote is awesome :)

Isn't he dreamy!?! :o

ukerazy
07-17-2009, 09:09 AM
Do we need to worry about Humidity here in the UK, I never even gave it a thought.

I too am worried about this, do we need a humidifier here in the u.k?

DaveVisi
07-17-2009, 09:21 AM
Not really. A dehumidifier might be in order though.

ukerazy
07-17-2009, 01:17 PM
Not really. A dehumidifier might be in order though.

Thanks for the reply Sir, Could you tell me more on why i would need that. I don't really understand it too much. I have a solid body guitar which ive had for some years now and not had a problem with it, is there a huge difference in keeping a Ukulele?

DaveVisi
07-17-2009, 02:43 PM
Solid body guitars by their very design are resistant to warping. You're really only concerned with hollow body instruments with really thin flexible wood for tops. Guitars are very susceptible to humidity changes, Ukes less so. That's because guitars have more strings, more tension, larger pieces of wood. It's relatively easy to bow up the top of a steel string acoustic guitar. Although the tension is less, classical guitars are susceptible too due to their much lighter bracing and construction. To me, Ukes are more immune to rapid humidity changes than the guitar family simply because they're smaller and with only four strings, have lower stress on the face of the instrument. This may not be true of high end ukes that have been designed very lightly to get the most sound out of it. I'd pretty much say that if your uke is $200 or less, not to worry about stringent humidity control. I'd rather have my Uke by my side than stashed away in a case for fear of it self destructing. One day I might just open the case and find broken, corroded strings from not allowing it to "breathe" naturally.

Some people damage fine instruments by being too obsessive over humidity. Once they learn that it *can* have an effect, they go to extremes with wet sponges or expensive machinery and such and end up making a mess of the wood. One thing worse than dry wood is soggy, moldy wood. The builders typically keep their instruments in the 40 50% humidity range so it's right in the middle of the typical household readings. The wood has been stabilized for long periods of time to acclimate it before cutting. Making drastic changes after they're built just makes things worse. Unless you store your uke in a dry sauna and then take it into a steam room to play it, I really wouldn't worry that much about it.

I'm sure Luthiers will disagree (I'd really be surprised if they didn't) but we're lucky to be playing one of the least costly to own and maintain instruments out there. Don't go to any extremes and you'll be fine.

StevieC
07-17-2009, 03:24 PM
I too am worried about this, do we need a humidifier here in the u.k?

You need to be a bit careful in the winter if you have central heating. An in-case humidifier or wet tea towel on the radiator can be a good idea. Or better still, turn off the radiator in the room where you keep your instruments.

Rick
07-17-2009, 03:52 PM
do i need to have a hardshell case to put a humidifier in it? because i plan on going to california in a few weeks, and ive never brought my ukulele on a plain or to a much hotter place than washington.

can i put the home made humidifier from uke minutes in my gig bag? the gig bag is a
Gator case economy bag more info here http://www.gatorcases.com/productsmodeldetail.aspx?LID=2&PID=33&MID=341

its much more sturdier than some gig bags ive seen, but is it right to put a humidifier in it? whut would be the problems of putting on in there?

itsme
07-17-2009, 04:45 PM
One note as I said in another thread, keep your instruments OUT of the case (unless you have sealed cases with humidity control)... Again, there are a few climates, and a few case styles that are the exception to this but for the most part, get it out of the case and on a stand.
I have to disagree with this advice. The humidity factor aside, an instrument is much more likely to suffer damage from being left out on a stand. Do you have kids or pets or are you a klutz (like me)? There's always a risk when things are left out where they can be easily knocked over. Even if you have a closed room dedicated solely to practicing, excessive sunlight can damage the finish and dust can find its way into tight spots, like tuning gears.

DaveVisi
07-17-2009, 09:31 PM
I'm of the opinion that instruments are meant to be played. Very few of mine are in cases. The rest are either on a dedicated table (hammered dulcimer), or shelf (mountain dulcimer) or on a "String Swing" wall hanger (guitars and Uke)

ukerazy
07-17-2009, 10:14 PM
My uke was considerably more than $200, my guitar has been out on its stand since i bought it and its fine. The uke is in its case at the moment but i am still babying it as its quite new lol i will just keep it in the same room when i store it and try to not have extreme differences in temperature.

And it itsme... i am not a klutz i am obsessively careful with my instruments i have quite a few. I do have a cat though but she knows the deal with them and tends to stay away lol!

Thankyou all for your advice!

buddhuu
07-17-2009, 11:56 PM
I'm with GC and Dave. My instruments all mostly live out on stands or propped against book cases or in armchairs - even my fiddle.

In the UK I have never yet encountered what I'd call a dangerous humidity level. I keep a meter in my living room where the instruments live. Today it reads 64%. That's fine.

I really recommend you get a meter for whatever room your axes live in. Mine's one of these from Maplins.

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=36148

ukerazy
07-18-2009, 06:31 AM
I'm with GC and Dave. My instruments all mostly live out on stands or propped against book cases or in armchairs - even my fiddle.

In the UK I have never yet encountered what I'd call a dangerous humidity level. I keep a meter in my living room where the instruments live. Today it reads 64%. That's fine.

I really recommend you get a meter for whatever room your axes live in. Mine's one of these from Maplins.

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=36148

Very helpful thankyou buddhu i will get one of them and keep an eye on it.

buddhuu
07-18-2009, 07:54 AM
Yep. A meter does give a little extra peace of mind.

If relative humidity drops much below 40% I'd either humidify the room where your instruments live, or pop them into their cases with humidifiers. For a DIY humidifier, a 35mm film cannister with a load of small holes drilled in it and a damp sponge inside does a pretty good job.

I lay my cases flat and hang the humidifier suspended in the uke or mandolin soundhole. Don't make holes in the bottom of the humidifier... You don't want water to drip inside the instrument.

If humidity goes way high (my own rule of thumb is 70%) you can use those little silica-gel packets you find in packaging. That stuff is a desiccant which absorbs moisture, so pop a sachet or two in your case, but take it out as soon as the humidity drops again or things might get a bit too dry.

I've got friends who are guitar makers, and I've always been told that instruments should be kept as close as possible to the humidity level at the place of manufacture. If that's not practical, then avoid sudden changes in conditions and give them time to acclimatise to environment changes.

In the range 40% - 70% RH, I've never had issues with any guitar, mandolin, fiddle or uke I've owned. Outside that range I'd certainly take steps to regulate the environment.

NB: I'm no expert. My opinions are based on what has worked for my instruments where I live, and on advice I've been given by luthiers and builders I've spoken to. Works for me, but YMMV.