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Hygrometers
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Author:  ertwert [ Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hygrometers

I just ordered my first non delrin flute...and I am getting a bit frightened, reading this thread and realising, how important and difficult it can be to control humidity for your instrument...uhh

Author:  Nanohedron [ Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hygrometers

Important? Yes. Difficult? No. Hard to choose? I get it.

It only seems esoteric because of people having so many pet ways to go about it. Some humidify special rooms, autoclave-style. Some just humidify the case. Some pay close attention to hygrometer readings. Some just do whatever works and simply keep the moisture delivery system from drying out. Some use costly, professional-grade systems. Some just make their own; for example, many a guitarist has taken a plastic travel soap case, perforated it all over and tossed a sponge inside it. The important thing is that you do it however you do it, and above all take flutes in humidified cases out for a run every day: they'll need the airing, otherwise mildew can set in.

That's about it.

If your flute case comes with something like one of these (a humidor humidifier):

Image

...it won't be enough on its own in a very dry climate. For flutes I've used guitar and violin humidifier worms:

Image

...one for each section, and cut to size; one end has a clip and I just toss that but keep its cap for later. The violin worm is for the foot section due to its smaller diameter, but I'd use the larger guitar worms for the rest. One end cap has a flange that should be trimmed away, but along with trimming the inner sponge to accommodate re-capping, that's about as much fiddling as it takes. You just soak them, squeeze out the excess, and make sure the exterior's dried off before you insert them into the flute parts. Generally they should be replaced every year. Others will prefer different approaches, but it was quite satisfactory for me. Some foot joints have too narrow an inner diameter to accommodate even a violin worm's smaller size, though, so it's not a universal option.

I humidify my apartment, too. I'm able to keep it at around 40% - 50% rh, so that's good, but with rings still falling off anyway, it was evident that the instruments needed a little extra all the same.

Author:  Conical bore [ Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hygrometers

ertwert wrote:
I just ordered my first non delrin flute...and I am getting a bit frightened, reading this thread and realising, how important and difficult it can be to control humidity for your instrument...uhh

It's not really that difficult to control humidity. It might cost 'ya, depending on how far you want to go, but the methods aren't that difficult.

At the top end, you can get a whole-house humidifier for your HVAC unit if you need it. A major step down in expense is a room-size humidifiers, which aren't very expensive ($50-$150 USD) and just a PITA to keep refilling with water. Get a "cold mist" unit if you go that way. Or you can use a plastic tub with a tight lid, with a damp sponge or cloth inside to store your flute case. Or you may live somewhere like South Florida where it's not something you even have to think about if you're running the AC almost all year and it's holding 60% humidity.

I'm a fan of the room humidifier because I can just leave my flute out in the practice room, or in the case with the lid cracked. And in my climate, there are only a few months of the year when I even have to do that.

The first step is to invest in one of the more inexpensive (but still reasonably reliable) digital hygrometers like the ones mentioned earlier in the thread. You need to know what your current and worst conditions are, before tackling methods to humidify. It's possible to go too far and over-humidify, even to the point of encouraging the growth of nasty mold, if you aren't able to assess what needs to be done. Or if anything needs to be done at all!

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