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Thread: Is humidity a problem in the UK?

  1. #11
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    I live in North East England, on the drier side of the country. Our house is centrally heated and we aim to keep the temperature at around 20ÂșC. I have a barometer with a hygrometer in the hallway and the humidity remains fairly constant between 50 & 60% year round. I have rarely, if ever, seen it drop below 50% so humidity is not a problem in the UK. I have no problem with my ukuleles, nor have I ever had problems with recorders which I have had for far more years than I've had ukuleles. So I would say humidity is not a problem in the UK so don't waste your money on humidifiers if you're in the UK. Don't store anything like that in a conservatory, though. That's a different matter unless you have it properly insulated and good blinds as conditions in them do vary widely.
    Geoff Walker

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  2. #12
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    Anything below 40% is bad. But here in the winter, 25% would be something to cheer for.

    Speaking of snakes, when my husband was little, there was a snake he fed milk to every morning. He named it Svensson Snake. Svensson would enjoy the milk, then hang out a bit, around and on Anders, showing no fear and being as friendly as a snake can. There's only one type of venomous snake here, so his parents just made sure he wasn't one. Although talking about it with his mom not-too-long ago, she didn't realize he was so close with Svensson.

    Quote Originally Posted by Youkalaylee View Post
    You're right there, dogs and cats don't even exist in nature they only exist as pets (of course they have cousins such as wolves and lions) and were bred specifically for that purpose. However snakes, like hamsters/mice spend their entire lives within one small area in the wild. Snakes tend to find one enclosed space which has access to water, somewhere to hide and somewhere to bask then are reluctant to move far from there and only move when they need to hunt. They'll spend all the daylight hours fairly immobile and as hidden away as they can, then so long as they're not already digesting a meal they'll seek out prey. Some snake owners have had a snake escape only to find the snake hiding in their house/garden/neighbours house over a year later - proving that snakes don't really feel the need to move about much (and the snake is more often than not bigger than last year!). Essentially then snakes don't need a lot of space. A adult cornsnake that measures 6ft long is happy in a viv only 4ft by 2ft.

    I think she's as happy as a corn snake can get most corns like to hide in tubes like toilet roll, so she has some in her viv, but she doesn't. She has never hidden in a tube of toilet roll, instead she lies on top of it! Mine also seem to think she's a mole and burrows like there's no tomorrow, there's a whole network of tunnels in the aspen substrate. It's not unheard for corns to burrow (in fact all snakes are descended from a burrowing reptile) but its not common either.



    So anything below 25% is uncool? Alright then ill buy a gauge. Thanks!

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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Youkalaylee View Post
    So anything below 25% is uncool?
    For solid wood instruments in any case. Keep humidity somewhere in the 40-60% range approximately. Better for your own health anyway....

    And if you drop towards or below 30, get out the good ol' laundry rack and stop using the tumbler for a while.
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis0815 View Post
    For solid wood instruments in any case. Keep humidity somewhere in the 40-60% range approximately. Better for your own health anyway....

    And if you drop towards or below 30, get out the good ol' laundry rack and stop using the tumbler for a while.
    Yeah, we do this, not that our old apartment even has a dryer attachment. But with laundry, you'd still get lucky to get to 35%. The big ole humidifier we had finally crapped out, but even that would struggle to keep the room at 30%. It's just kinda dry here in the winter. Or rather, dry inside. But OTOH, even the Steady Gigbag is holding its humidity. The skin on my face needs to crawl into my uke cases as well though.

    Kanile'a dlx super concert / Koaloha concert / Ohana sk-38 / Risa Uke Solid Tenor

    @Apollostowel @RockingDodars The Rocking Dodar Blog Proud to be TIGER. A REAL Tiger. All-in all the freakin' time.

    If you need me I'll be on twitter, google+ or r/ukulele

  5. #15
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    I also experienced the same thing with water quality so when traveling I always bring a tumbler that I custom so as not to be confused with someone else's.

  6. #16
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    Hmmmm - an eight year old thread. I can answer the original query very simply.

    "Is humidity a problem in the UK?"

    No.

    John Colter

  7. #17
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    Sorry - talking from direct experience. Humidity or lack thereof can absolutely be a problem in the U.K. I have had many ukes come in for repair and set-up where the frets have sprouted out of the neck because it has dried due to humidity issues. Me and my friend who is a great luthier were talking about it the other day. He’s seen it heaps of times over the decades - also cracks and warping. The biggest culprit is central heating during the winter and log burners drying the air. In fact the shop the Uke Room is based at has a natural humidity of around 35 - 40 in mid-winter so we use large humidifiers to keep it between 45-55.
    I don’t say this to be contrary but my direct experience is based on selling and repairing thousands of ukuleles in the U.K. To say simply humidity isn’t as issue isn’t right.
    Matt
    forestukuleles.com
    theukeroom.com

  8. #18
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    My comment was based on my own experience. Playing for more than twenty-five years. Owning around fifty ukuleles (not all at the same time!). I have never used, or needed, a humidifier and have never had a problem with dry shrinking. A friend of mine is a collector of guitars and also has a few ukuleles (a dozen or so). He also never has to use a humidifier. I can't think of any of my uking pals who does.

    I can see that central heating and log burners could produce unfavourable conditions but that applies to any geographical location. The worst example of damaging shrinkage I have encountered was in a lovely custom soprano that went to Norway. It is substantial changes of humidity that cause warping and shrinking. Instruments can tolerate the range of humidity within the average British household.

    If a ukulele is built in a country that has much higher humidity, then comes to the UK, then there could well be problems.

    I don't want inexperienced people to think they have to create special conditions to store their instruments. Normal care and common sense should suffice.

    John Colter

  9. #19
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    Well we ought to respect Matt’s perspective because it is informed by many years of business experience although I wonder how (typically) it is now informed. Matt sells finely crafted high end instruments to folk who (if they can afford such instruments) doubtless live in very cosy centrally heated houses, maybe they aren’t the typical punter and aren’t the typical Uke. So I suggest that it’s a case of experiences varying, as they say: YMMV.

    Do wooden things crack and warp? IIRC Ken Timms has had a neck blank or two warp on him in his workshop whilst others in the same batch have remained perfect, cracks and warps can be down to faults in the material and naturally occurring changes within it. Personally I cannot recall ever having or meeting anyone who’s had major fret sprout from a dried-up fretboard or either a cracked top or back. Having said that I kick myself for not bidding on an old Martin that had a cracked top, I should have bought it and asked (plus paid) John (Ukantor) to repair it for me.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 06-11-2021 at 01:04 PM.

  10. #20
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    UK has a fairly oceanic climate modified by gulf stream. That should be as good for Uke as it gets and even in winter the differential between outdoor and indoor humidity is likely not big enough to cause concern. So no need to humidify. I'd first get a hygrometer to monitor indoor humidity in the winter as low humidity is also a health concern.
    Last edited by merlin666; 06-11-2021 at 10:41 AM.

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