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View Full Version : all this talk about weather and ukes... newb perspective



pixiepurls
03-18-2014, 03:26 AM
Random questions from an ukulele newb!

What is the best time to order an uke from Hawaii and have it shipped to the mainland?

Is there "bad" time of year to have any uke shipped to you?

I ordered a pono solid mahagony from HMS, it comes with a humidifier. I've never used one before, any tips or advice? I have a solid mahogany tenor and it didn't come with a humidifier and it is almost never in its cheap gig bag... its always next to my bed and chair in my room. Is this something I really need to worry about with my solid mahogany instruments? I live easy coast.. I know nothing about humidity.

Are these instruments that delicate? Or am I getting worked up over reading forum threads?

My previous guitars where all laminate tops and lived in my house, closets and even storage in GA (where it is pretty damp but man does it ever get hot). I never saw a crack or even thought to worry about a crack.

At what price point or wood type do you really need to start to worry?

I know not to leave a wood instrument in my car, thats a big no no with the violin in particular.

My daughters violin never had any humidity warnings and it cost $500. It sits in its case in her room we have had it a year I've never even known to worry about cracks. The only time I've ever worried about cracks was when looking at instruments at flea markets or antique stores because most likely those instruments were stored in non-climent controlled situations.

RichM
03-18-2014, 04:45 AM
In terms of shipping an instrument, I have never had a problem, but the risk of damage does go up if the instrument will go through extreme changes in temperature. When an instrument goes through a rapid change between very cold temperatures and warmer temperatures, finish cracking can occur. This can usually be avoided by allowing a cold instrument gradually come up to room temperature over several hours while still packed away.

Regarding humidity: solid wood will expand and contract in different humidity environments. Low humidity is generally a great risk than high humidity. In low humidity, solid wood may crack (and then again, it may not). You may also experience a shrinking fretboard which can cause fret ends to protrude, or changes in action or intonation as the bridge position shifts. This is less common in laminates because the layers in the laminate are usually glued cross-grain which tends to counteract the shrinkage caused by low humidity.

I've seen people here freak out because they removed their instrument from their humidity controlled room and are afraid it will crack on contact with normal air. That's pretty unlikely. And low humidity is not a guarantee of cracking. But with that being said, when you see an instrument with a crack, 9 times out of 10, low humidity was the culprit.

The biggest culprit in modern times for humidity issues is forced-air central heating, which removes moisture from the air. In cold months, even if the relative humidity outdoors is fine, it may be much, much lower in your home.

Kanaka916
03-18-2014, 04:46 AM
Here's a good read regarding humidity and ukuleles . . . http://ukuleletonya.com/files/Humidity_and_your_ukulele.pdf

pixiepurls
03-18-2014, 05:07 AM
In terms of shipping an instrument, I have never had a problem, but the risk of damage does go up if the instrument will go through extreme changes in temperature. When an instrument goes through a rapid change between very cold temperatures and warmer temperatures, finish cracking can occur. This can usually be avoided by allowing a cold instrument gradually come up to room temperature over several hours while still packed away.

Regarding humidity: solid wood will expand and contract in different humidity environments. Low humidity is generally a great risk than high humidity. In low humidity, solid wood may crack (and then again, it may not). You may also experience a shrinking fretboard which can cause fret ends to protrude, or changes in action or intonation as the bridge position shifts. This is less common in laminates because the layers in the laminate are usually glued cross-grain which tends to counteract the shrinkage caused by low humidity.

I've seen people here freak out because they removed their instrument from their humidity controlled room and are afraid it will crack on contact with normal air. That's pretty unlikely. And low humidity is not a guarantee of cracking. But with that being said, when you see an instrument with a crack, 9 times out of 10, low humidity was the culprit.

The biggest culprit in modern times for humidity issues is forced-air central heating, which removes moisture from the air. In cold months, even if the relative humidity outdoors is fine, it may be much, much lower in your home.

Yeah sometimes in our house we actually fill up the master bathtub with water and leave it all night because the air is so dry... we have a very "tight" house as they say and it looses heat very slowly.