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View Full Version : Signs of Over-Humidification?



Lalz
09-28-2012, 02:25 AM
A previous thread written by someone whose ukuleles fell victim for mould totally gave me the chills. Not sure what caused it in the first place in his case, but in general I can imagine that over-humidifying a uke could result in this and other problems.

We are generally advised to humidify our ukes but a lot of us actually live in very humid climates. How do we recognise the first signs of over-humidification so that we don't overdo it and/or realise we actually need to keep the humidity level a tad lower? I use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels where I store my ukes, but as several people have pointed out before, the ideal humidity level might not be the same for each uke. If one was built in a humid climate it might be more comfortable in a similarly humid environment than one that was built somewhere dryier. So it might be good to know what signs to look for when giving them their routine health inspections.

I know, I'm probably getting a bit over-paranoid over this, but if there's one thing I really hate it's mould. I hate it more than mayo on pizza. Yup, that much.

Pukulele Pete
09-28-2012, 02:32 AM
I have one of these in each of my ukulele cases. I hope they work like they say, everything is fine so far .http://www.zorb-it.com/overview/

I don't have any info on over humidifing , sorry.

Lalz
09-28-2012, 02:50 AM
I have one of these in each of my ukulele cases. I hope they work like they say, everything is fine so far .http://www.zorb-it.com/overview/

I don't have any info on over humidifing , sorry.

Oh wow, this looks like a great product. Thanks! I'm not sure I understand their promo though, is it a powder or a pocket or what is it? Where do you place it?

Pukulele Pete
09-28-2012, 02:58 AM
It is a little packet about 2 inches by 2 inches and is just placed in the case, I have it near the headstock. I have one for my guitar that is 4 inches by 4 inches. They have different sizes for different size cases. It sounds like the perfect product , doesnt it?

coolkayaker1
09-28-2012, 03:19 AM
This is a good question, Lalou. I think the only signs of overhumidification would be...well...mold.

Let's see if anyone has any advice other than to use a hygrometer ( which are notoriously inaccurate, judging from Amazon reviews and even personal experience).

I, too, hate mayo on pizza.

lennymac
09-28-2012, 03:36 AM
Off topic - but Mayo on a pizza?? Thankfully we don't have that in the UK!!

Think I may also invest in Zorb it - seems to be the product that addresses all my storage issues (paranoias)!!

Lalz
09-28-2012, 04:54 AM
It is a little packet about 2 inches by 2 inches and is just placed in the case, I have it near the headstock. I have one for my guitar that is 4 inches by 4 inches. They have different sizes for different size cases. It sounds like the perfect product , doesnt it?

It does! It seems totally amazing. I'll have to order one for each of my ukes, cameras, books, boxes of cereals... Is 2x2 big enough for a ukulele case though? They recommend 4x4 for music instruments, but then maybe they mean *big* music instruments, not soprano ukes ;)


Off topic - but Mayo on a pizza?? Thankfully we don't have that in the UK!!

I've only ever had it in Sweden. It was the worst food experience of my LIFE.

coolkayaker1
09-28-2012, 06:25 AM
Other than on the road, I cannot fathom why anyone would humidify a ukulele in a velour lined hard case.
Just making a point, since this thread is about mold.

The case will smell like David Beckham's jock strap in a year or so.

Plastic storage containers with car wash sponges in ziplock bags for this hombre.

pootsie
09-28-2012, 06:39 AM
mayo on pizza

EEEEEEeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwww!

Does anyone actually do that?

Lalz
09-28-2012, 06:42 AM
Other than on the road, I cannot fathom why anyone would humidify a ukulele in a velour lined hard case.
Just making a point, since this thread is about mold.

The case will smell like David Beckham's jock strap in a year or so.

Plastic storage containers with car wash sponges in ziplock bags for this hombre.

I remember reading your thread about this. Clever solution!
Hm, you're making a good point. I've wondered a few times how humid these cases can get without starting to smell glue. I tend to have humidifiers inside my ukulele cabinet instead and only use them in the winter (Arion humidifiers meant for violins, they're very effective but quite big and don't fit in cases anyway) but then I keep wondering if I'm doing too much or too little, in spite of checking the hygrometer everyday. Lately we've been having lots storms and floodings over here so my house is currently at around 65-70% of RH (bit high no?) and I have to use mechanical dehumidifiers in each room (the ones with those crystal cylinder that absorb water from the air and drain it into a storage unit thingy). During the winter, RH usually drops to 30-35%.

Defo ordering a few zorbits though! They seem mint and low maintenance. Anti-corrosion properties even!

Newportlocal
09-28-2012, 07:10 AM
EEEEEEeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwww!

Does anyone actually do that?

I have eaten what at the time was considered the world's best pizza at Geno's east in the water tower district in Chicago. Garlic Jo's shrimp and mayonnaise pizza is right up there. It is unbelievably good.
http://www.garlic-jos.us/menu_dinner1.html

Interested to hear about overhumidification of ukuleles. I am not planning to humidify much if at all. I live near the ocean. I think I should be alright.

pootsie
09-28-2012, 07:20 AM
Hmmmm .....
Pizza with shrimp is not really pizza in my book. But I'm willing to give it a try.

I live in Ohio and right now our basement where the ukes live is at about 45-55% humidity with the dehumidifier running 24-7. So I have no use for Mr. Beckham's underthings or whatever it is you guys are talking about here.

pootsie
09-28-2012, 07:21 AM
http://www.usairnet.com/weather/maps/current/ohio/relative-humidity/

Lalz
09-28-2012, 07:37 AM
http://www.usairnet.com/weather/maps/current/ohio/relative-humidity/

I think at this point, with all the rain we've been getting since the summer, Newcastle should be considered an underwater city. Which it is at times. Sigh.

OldePhart
09-28-2012, 08:06 AM
Remember that with central heat and air the outdoor humidity means little. It's the humidity in your house that counts over the long term (unless you're storing you uke in the garage or garden shed).

As for humidifiers making cases stink - I've never seen that. Horn and woodwind cases tend to stink after a while because people put their instruments up full of saliva - which is moisture with tons of bacteria. You would have to be seriously over-humidifying to get mold or smell using clear water (though a touch of citrus oil or eucalyptus oil is probably not a bad idea though I've never bothered). Also, hard cases don't seal all that tightly.

This is the reason I don't trust the zorb-it things - I know how much water I have put in my humidifiers over the course of the past year - if the cases were airtight they would have an inch of water in the bottom by now. The only way I see the zorb-its working is if you keep the uke in an airtight container - and even then over the course of several months or a few years you are exchanging the volume of air in that container many times by removing and replacing the uke

As to the original question - on larger instruments tops tend to bulge upward as the top swells with water. I've not seen this happen to a soprano and I think it would have to get pretty wet because there just isn't that much to swell. Also, soft wood (cedar, spruce) is going to swell more than hard wood mahogany, koa, etc.). I have seen a case of a rather ridiculously over-humidified cedar tenor right here on the forum a while back - the top had swolen so far the new owner filed the saddle down until it was barely poking above the bridge and still the action was high. He thought it needed a neck reset but the pictures clearly showed the badly swolen top.

Generally, though, I would rather over-humidify than under-humidify. A swolen top will usually return to near normal simply by letting the uke dry for a few weeks or months, while a dry uke tends to crack...

John

Lalz
09-28-2012, 09:17 AM
Remember that with central heat and air the outdoor humidity means little. It's the humidity in your house that counts over the long term (unless you're storing you uke in the garage or garden shed).

As for humidifiers making cases stink - I've never seen that. Horn and woodwind cases tend to stink after a while because people put their instruments up full of saliva - which is moisture with tons of bacteria. You would have to be seriously over-humidifying to get mold or smell using clear water (though a touch of citrus oil or eucalyptus oil is probably not a bad idea though I've never bothered). Also, hard cases don't seal all that tightly.

This is the reason I don't trust the zorb-it things - I know how much water I have put in my humidifiers over the course of the past year - if the cases were airtight they would have an inch of water in the bottom by now. The only way I see the zorb-its working is if you keep the uke in an airtight container - and even then over the course of several months or a few years you are exchanging the volume of air in that container many times by removing and replacing the uke

As to the original question - on larger instruments tops tend to bulge upward as the top swells with water. I've not seen this happen to a soprano and I think it would have to get pretty wet because there just isn't that much to swell. Also, soft wood (cedar, spruce) is going to swell more than hard wood mahogany, koa, etc.). I have seen a case of a rather ridiculously over-humidified cedar tenor right here on the forum a while back - the top had swolen so far the new owner filed the saddle down until it was barely poking above the bridge and still the action was high. He thought it needed a neck reset but the pictures clearly showed the badly swolen top.

Generally, though, I would rather over-humidify than under-humidify. A swolen top will usually return to near normal simply by letting the uke dry for a few weeks or months, while a dry uke tends to crack...

John

Thanks for your excellent advices! I'll keep looking out for those signs. So far so good, none of my ukes seem to have any of these problems. Last week my Kiwaya seemed to me to be a bit dry from having been close to my heater for a while (probably just me having an episode of paranoia, I was convinced the top was slightly bellying at the bridge). But after having put it away for a few days, I can't even see what it was that made me think that in the first place. Overconcerned uke-mum, that's what I am, haha :rolleyes:

Yeah, I'm afraid the high humidity level I was referring to was indeed indoors in spite of having the heating on. Ah, those damp British houses... I'm not impressed.

I've ordered a few zorb-its and will test them for a few months to see if they work the way I hope they do. I'll also keep my Arion in the uke cabinet, just in case.

Lori
09-28-2012, 10:36 AM
Humidifying your uke is an important concern. I saw a uke the other day that had been carried around without a case for a month or two, and it is already showing signs of damage (cracking). This is when the average humidity in my area lately has been at 50%. Now, we can also get single digit humidity at a drop of a hat. Anyway, keep an eye on your ukes, and take care of them. I found the gig bags don't hold the humidified air as well as the solid cases, so I have added a plastic bag around those during storage. It is a sad thing to find a cracked uke from humidity changes.

–Lori

DaveY
09-28-2012, 10:46 AM
The case will smell like David Beckham's jock strap . . .


Apparently I'm the only one with the courage to ask this: How would you know what that smells like?!

Uke Whisperer
09-28-2012, 11:07 AM
Apparently I'm the only one with the courage to ask this: How would you know what that smells like?!


____:biglaugh:____

mm stan
09-28-2012, 11:47 AM
Yes I had it in one of my brand new kamaka tenors,...shoots...better be safe than sorry...I could not get rid of the mold ...kept coming back after 6 brushings of bleach...it's a big time money looser

lennymac
09-28-2012, 11:59 AM
Yes I had it in one of my brand new kamaka tenors,...shoots...better be safe than sorry...I could not get rid of the mold ...kept coming back after 6 brushings of bleach...it's a big time money looser
That sounds gutting.

OldePhart
09-28-2012, 02:22 PM
Apparently I'm the only one with the courage to ask this: How would you know what that smells like?!
:rotfl: :smileybounce: :rotfl: