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View Full Version : Humidifier Experience by Region and Storage Condition



angrygnome
03-22-2011, 11:10 AM
Hello all! First of all let me say that I'm new here and also new to the Ukulele (my first one hasn't even arrived in the mail yet :D). I really want to be prepared when it gets here so I've been looking at humidifiers and reading many topics in this forum about them. It seems that humidity can be a confusing topic (especially for new-comers like myself). For example, even though I live in Florida (a very humid state), I know that air conditioning and heating can suck moisture from the air and cause the humidity to still be below what is optimal. At the same time, I know that too much humidity can also be a problem, albeit not as much of one. So I am left with a question: Is a humidifier necessary in FL? I know that the easy answer to this would be to purchase a hygrometer and find out. I will probably do just that but I also have a proposal.

I think it would be useful (to both long-time musicians and new users) if we had a thread dedicated to saying what our experiences have been with humidity in our respective areas with different methods of storage (case, wall, etc.) For example, you could do something like this:

Where I live: Florida
Ukes I Own: Solid/Laminate/Whatever
How I store them: All in cases.
My Experience:
Humidity levels usually stay within ___ and ___ without the use of a humidifier, except when I run the heater in winter. In winter I find that ________ is the best humdifier. etc.

I think giving people a central location of examples would really help new users, and possibly give the senior members new insights that they hadn't thought about before.

(I apologize ahead of time if others think this is unnecessary, if it has already been done and I just missed it, or if this is the wrong place to post something like this.)

Plainsong
03-22-2011, 01:43 PM
Yeah to find out you'll have to get a hygrometer, sadly. But this is a cool idea to get going!

To kick off:

Where I live: Helsinki, Finland
Ukes I Own: Mostly Solid, solidbody, Flea
How I store them: During winter the all-solids go in cases. Even the Mainland I said I wouldn't baby. During Summer they can all be out of their cases.
My Experience: Humidity levels stay within 45% and 65% without the use of a humidifier, except when I run the heater in winter, when it can swing from 10% to 30% if I'm lucky. It increases slowly as the season turns. I find that Oasis is the best in case humidifier. I have a room humidifier but it sucks and I'm going to get a better one.

velofille
03-22-2011, 01:52 PM
Ahh I have wondered about all this.

I'm still new so have yet to go through a winter with mine. My daughter is into weather so we have the right tools to measure humidity :)

Where I live: Cambridge (Waikato), New Zealand
Ukes I Own: i have a Solid Koa (cheaper chinese one), and a couple Makala dolphins
How I store them: So far, all out of their cases most of the time. Humidity seems to be sitting around 50-80% this summer (usually more around 60-70s though)
My Experience: What? Experience? In winter ill keep an eye on the humidity, i expect it will dry out more

soulpowerbreaks
03-22-2011, 02:41 PM
I live in Alabama so humidity isn't an issue ever XD

Ronnie Aloha
03-22-2011, 03:14 PM
Where I live: Manhattan Beach, CA (Los Angeles area within 1/2 mile of the ocean)
Ukes I Own: All solid wood with one laminate
How I store them: Generally in cases but I leave the laminate out at all times and rotate the solid woods during the month.
My Experience: Humidity levels in my area are fairly uke friendly with inside humidity levels at 50% during winter. It may drop to the low 40s a few days a year and Hercos seem to bring the levels up to 50%.

cletus
03-22-2011, 03:19 PM
Where I live: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Ukes I Own: KoAloha solid koa, Fluke w/ solid pine top
How I store them:KoAloha stays in the case with an Oasis humidifier inside the uke. Fluke leans against the wall in the living room, generally.
My Experience: All good, so far. The Oasis humidifer definitely goes through some water. I top it off it once a week. I bought both ukes with their guarantees in mind.

JamieFromOntario
03-22-2011, 11:57 PM
I think that an important factor in choosing to humidify your uke is:

What was the humidity like in the place where the uke was made???

I recently purchased a uke from Mike Pereira who builds them in a dry area of California. He cautioned me not to use a humidifier as that would raise the humidity much higher than what the wood had been 'used' to. He said there was an instance where the neck of one of the ukes he built warped - he attributes it to over humidifying.

Where I live: Ontario
Ukes I Own: Solid
How I store them: All in cases. Only the Bluegrassuke has a case humidifyer.
My Experience: No problems.
Humidity levels usually stay within 20 and 30 with the use of a room humidifier, even when I run the heater in winter. In Summer, humidity will get to 40-50 though there is an ac running.

Ambrosius
03-23-2011, 01:16 AM
I think that an important factor in choosing to humidify your uke is:

What was the humidity like in the place where the uke was made???

I recently purchased a uke from Mike Pereira who builds them in a dry area of California. He cautioned me not to use a humidifier as that would raise the humidity much higher than what the wood had been 'used' to. He said there was an instance where the neck of one of the ukes he built warped - he attributes it to over humidifying.

Where I live: Ontario
Ukes I Own: Solid
How I store them: All in cases. Only the Bluegrassuke has a case humidifyer.
My Experience: No problems.
Humidity levels usually stay within 20 and 30 with the use of a room humidifier, even when I run the heater in winter. In Summer, humidity will get to 40-50 though there is an ac running.

A very good point, Jamie. Today it's "all about" humidifiers. The reason is probably because many (most) of the soid wood, hand made instruments are buildt in south east asia where the labour are cheap, - although the climatic conditions there can be extreme at times.

It's where it's build that counts.

angrygnome
03-23-2011, 03:30 AM
I think that an important factor in choosing to humidify your uke is:

What was the humidity like in the place where the uke was made???

That is a good point. The uke I have on the way was made in Portugal... I'll have to look up the conditions in the region it was made. Also, I did go out and buy a cheap hygrometer from Wal-Mart last night. I know they aren't always 100% accurate, but it seems to be sitting around 50% humidity. :)

mds725
03-23-2011, 08:32 AM
Where I live: San Francisco
Ukes I own: Mostly lower end solid wood ukuleles
How I store them: In cases with humidifiers.
My Experience: In my living space, humidity levels are usually within 25-35 percent, even when the outdoor humidity levels are very high. (I don't run heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer. In the humidified ukulele cases, the humidity is generally between 40 and 50 percent. I use the Oasis humidifiers that clip onto the inside of the case (not the ones that sit in the soundhole). I refill the humidifiers about once a week.

Bradford
03-23-2011, 02:28 PM
Let me say that in regards to where a uke is built, most luthiers and factories spend a great deal of time and effort to insure that the wood they use for instruments is both dry and well seasoned; and that their instruments are assembled in a climate controlled (rH and temperature) environment. Most of the wood I use has been dried at some point to a moisture content of 6-8% and it has been in my shop for a number of years. Before any assembly occurs, all wood is conditioned at a rH of 45% at 70 degrees F, for several weeks. A savvy consumer should know the conditions under which their uke was built. Ask individual luthiers whether they have and use moisture content meters and dehumidifiers. For factories, the dealers should be able to supply this information.

Brad

Ambrosius
03-24-2011, 01:22 AM
Let me say that in regards to where a uke is built, most luthiers and factories spend a great deal of time and effort to insure that the wood they use for instruments is both dry and well seasoned; and that their instruments are assembled in a climate controlled (rH and temperature) environment. Most of the wood I use has been dried at some point to a moisture content of 6-8% and it has been in my shop for a number of years. Before any assembly occurs, all wood is conditioned at a rH of 45% at 70 degrees F, for several weeks. A savvy consumer should know the conditions under which their uke was built. Ask individual luthiers whether they have and use moisture content meters and dehumidifiers. For factories, the dealers should be able to supply this information.

Brad

This is how it should be, Brad. You clearly understand that you are building delicate musical instruments, and I assume there is not much aftersales problems with what you send out eighter. As well, "factories" tends to have resources to control rH and temp in their production environment, but then there is the growing "outsourcing" of all or parts of the production, again meaning less control.

It's how the world is developing, - more and more spent in marketing and general "overhead", - less and less in actual production. If you are a professional Brad, it would be interesting to have a link to you page, if you have one.

Plainsong
03-24-2011, 03:04 AM
Yeah, my ukes were generally made at 70F and 45% RH and that's where I keep them. I don't get the over-humidifying trend really.

Bradford
03-24-2011, 01:12 PM
I've had a domain name for over a year now, but I have not had the time to set up a web page yet. I've been collecting pics of my instruments and hopefully I'll get something up this summer.

Brad