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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:09 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
Right it's simply not possible to keep our house humidified in the winter, and I don't have a hard case for the bass, so there's no way to keep it humidified. Even a guitar in a case is hard to keep humidified.

But you can humidify individual rooms, can't you?

PB+J wrote:
I'm assuming I can manage a disassembled flute

It's one of the easier ones.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:29 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
busterbill wrote:
Not to mention being careless with an investment. And I've been there myself in my own way, so I'm not pointing fingers here. Your case was particularly catastrophic, and a caution to all. If the flute won't be played for a couple of hours or more, disassembly and swabbing shouldn't be seen as a pain in the ass. It's an act of respect.

-friendly level of humidity, anything else is just relying on dumb luck.


No offense taken. I was young and unaware.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 9:45 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
Right it's simply not possible to keep our house humidified in the winter, and I don't have a hard case for the bass, so there's no way to keep it humidified. Even a guitar in a case is hard to keep humidified. I'm assuming I can manage a disassembled flute

Is it not possible to keep your musical instruments in one room that you can humidify with a room humidifier? I understand the expense of whole-house humidifiers, but room humidifiers aren't that expensive, you just have to refill them every few days when the heat is running in Winter.

I admit that I live in a climate here in the Pacific Northwest USA that's not as severe in Winter as some other areas like the upper Midwest USA, but we do get cold snaps where the relative humidity could drop below 30% if I didn't run room humidifiers.

If you *can* manage the environmental control, I think the risk to wooden flutes isn't as severe as some might think. I play a wooden flute that was made maybe 15-20 years ago in Switzerland, then played until a couple of years ago by the original owner in Italy, then I bought it and shipped it out here to the Pacific Northwest USA. It has the dreaded fully lined metal headjoint, but I take care of it with humidity control and it's still in perfect condition. These things just aren't that delicate in my experience, unless you can't control the surrounding environment.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:37 pm 
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Conical bore wrote:
If you *can* manage the environmental control, I think the risk to wooden flutes isn't as severe as some might think.

Right. I'm not here to be an alarmist, but to state the necessity for proper conditions, whether in climate or in storage. So long as either of those are met, a flute should last indefinitely, and in good condition. But in some environments - like mine in winter - a little neglect can have rude consequences, and in short order. You have to pick your battles.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:57 am 
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I choose delrin (or aluminium) flutes, (also brass for piccolo), because I don't want the hassle of wood, & I don't think that I'm missing out very much sound wise, especially at my level of playing. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:28 am 
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A few years ago I tried to humidify a single room. I put all the instruments in a single room, my office, which left little space for much else, and got a room humidifier. I used a Selmer style guitar as my test. The Selmer always needs a different bridge in the winter. Despite keeping it stored in a humidified room, it ended up reverting to the ambient humidity very quickly when it left the room. We have a drafty old uninsulated house and the humidifier has to run nonstop to get close to the target 40%. That made the office very uncomfortable.

If I took the guitar or bass from a humidified room out into dry, below freezing weather and then into a gig in a hot dry room it seems to me I was likely doing more harm than good.

My conclusion about this was that I was better off just letting instruments move in response to humidity, and repair any damage that resulted. The bass, for example, cracked once a decade ago and not again. The selmer gets a winter bridge. everything else gets adjustment tweaks. Most instruments in use today were designed in a time when humidity control was not possible. I've got a lovely 45 year old archtop guitar that has stood the test of time and I don't humidify it.

I did a series of experiments using plywood to build hollow body instruments. Below is a hollow body bass I made using plywood

Image.


I picked plywood because it was going to be amplified anyway, the acoustic sound was not the point, and plywood is very resistant to damage related to cracking. I built a guitar on the same lines



Image

The goal was to make a simple to build, durable instrument that gave me the amplified sound I wanted with minimal impact from climate. They both work well and sound good and I gigged with both, especially the bass




The flute seems like a special problem because again the tuning slide. Differential expansion from the heat of playing and then the wood absorbing humidity and the slide doing nothing or the kind.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:19 am 
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The environment you live and play in does need to be considered. I live in a
part of Montana that gets 9 to 12 inches of rain annually. Temperatures range from high 90s to well into sub zero F. Low and variable humidity is a given here and not helped by the fact we do all our cooking and heating with wood.

I, like many here, love the look and feel of wood and wooden instruments but just could not bring myself inflicting so much stress onto a beautiful wooden flute. I was trepidatious at first on ordering a delrin flute but after receiving my Copley I feel that it was the right choice. It has wonderful tone and potential and like I said earlier, no worries. I can just play it to my hearts content where ever and whenever I want.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:43 am 
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one thing about humidity , it causes mold, and rust , i would never humidify a room, i even tried humdifiying a my sax reeds, , mold happened, personally if humidity is an issue with flutes , more or less oil swabbing needs to happen, controlling humidity is harder than controlling the item itself,, now temperature is easily controlled

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:54 am 
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D Mc wrote:
The environment you live and play in does need to be considered. I live in a
part of Montana that gets 9 to 12 inches of rain annually. Temperatures range from high 90s to well into sub zero F. Low and variable humidity is a given here and not helped by the fact we do all our cooking and heating with wood.

I, like many here, love the look and feel of wood and wooden instruments but just could not bring myself inflicting so much stress onto a beautiful wooden flute. I was trepidatious at first on ordering a delrin flute but after receiving my Copley I feel that it was the right choice. It has wonderful tone and potential and like I said earlier, no worries. I can just play it to my hearts content where ever and whenever I want.

Wood , if its in your house i would think its stability should be , fine, , , just oil as needed and keep the wood satisfied ,, i too love wood and everything about it , and honesly a wood flute sounds better than plastic, i dont think one can fake wood, in my humble opinion , i also play sax and used to do bagpipes, the reeds have been tested not one plastic substitute has arroused my ear, all this talk about having reeds last longer and less maintenance , thats sh*t is for lazy people, ,,,,,not to say certain makers Delrin is bad, i too have a nice delrin being made, but i think there is an art to the delrin version, , too thin the plastic comes out, some have made them out of ebonite, very warm

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Last edited by cavefish on Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:27 pm 
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cavefish wrote:
one thing about humidity , it causes mold, and rust , i would never humidify a room ...

This is only good advice if the room is hermetically sealed. So long as you have enough air flow, mold shouldn't be a problem.

cavefish wrote:
... personally if humidity is an issue with flutes , more or less oil swabbing needs to happen ...

I beg to differ, and strongly. Two reasons: First, oil cannot replace lost moisture; moisture is water. They are not interchangeable. Second, while oil might be good for the wood, it can also be useless: my blackwood flutes were already so naturally oily and resinous that they never absorbed any oil; it just sat there. So what good does oiling do in that case? All you do is waste it. But even blackwood loses moisture in arid conditions; lose enough of it, and it can crack. Mine did, and others have the same story to tell. Do you mean to say we're all lying? Suggesting we're making much ado about nothing is irresponsible advice to those who live where seasonal humidity levels vary drastically over the year.

cavefish wrote:
... controlling humidity is harder than controlling the item itself,, now temperature is easily controlled

No, controlling humidity isn't that hard, and there are many ways to do it. I live in an old building with dodgy windows, and in the winter dry I am fortunately able to humidify the whole 2-bedroom apartment to a constant 40% RH with just one little ultrasonic unit, and guess what? No mold or rust. But being made in Seattle, my flute still needed - needed - additional humidification in the case. Without it, the rings fell off. Oiling doesn't fix that. You need humidification. Period. And the proof of it is when the outdoor humidity gets up to better than 55% (I don't air condition except in the bedroom, and even that seldom), the rings are dependably nice and tight because the flute's body has swelled back to its ideal condition. In summer here, no wood instrument owner worries, because the humidity's up to 80% - 90%, easily. If only it could be like that all year...

If you think humidifying is too much work, maybe you should ask yourself if being a steward of instruments is for you.

cavefish wrote:
Wood , if its in your house your fine, , a house fits oneself , and it will fit a flute ...

And what does this even mean?

It's been evident for some time that you have and promote a no-need-to-hassle-yourself attitude about instrument care. That's fine if you have the luxury of an ideal environment, and judging by your notions, apparently you must. But like many others, I don't have that luxury, and I have the cracked instruments to prove it. If you do have this apparently ideal environment, then lucky you - but your experiences cannot apply to everyone. If I followed your advice, I'd still have cracked instruments, because your way is exactly the way I went about things until I wised up the hard way. In places like Minnesota, in winter you have to humidify your instruments somehow, or eventually you pay the price. So stop with this "don't worry, be happy" nonsense. Maybe you could learn something about our very real experiences instead.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:04 pm 
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advice taken, , yes i guess i do have an ideal climate, as far as the oil /water thing yes i was wrong when typing, oil only moderates the water absorbtion and depletion, my bad , for me i have never had too much luck with trying to create humidity-and never really needed to ,
asfas as "Wood , if its in your house your fine, , a house fits oneself , and it will fit a flute " yes i can see it was written funny (edited it ) ,I should have expanded --- what i should have expressed is i can see more issues when traveling or in and out of stable climates, so my inside thought was if it stays in the house , its stable no sudden shocks,, my thoughts anyway
sometimes written words and thoughts do not come out right :D

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:21 pm 
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cavefish wrote:
... yes i guess i do have an ideal climate ...

If that's San Pedro, Los Angeles, I agree. I just checked and the average yearly humidity is pretty darned stable, ranging from around 50% - 70%. As a resident fluteplayer, I'd definitely stay put: one shouldn't ever need to humidify there, because it doesn't get much better than that. There's not a wood-playing Minnesotan who wouldn't be green with envy, because at certain times of year, we always have to anxiously keep one eye on the hygrometer.

cavefish wrote:
asfas as "Wood , if its in your house your fine, , a house fits oneself , and it will fit a flute " yes i can see it was written funny (edited it ) ,I should have expanded --- i can see more issues when traveling or in and out of stable climates, so my inside thought was if it stays in the house , its stable no sudden shocks my thoughts anyway

Okay, I see your point now.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:36 pm 
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Another positive aspect to this thread is the realisation how much humidity conditions vary for folks.

I just looked at my humidity meter in the room where I store my flutes and it's currently reading 47%. I doubt it ever goes out of the range 42-52% here.


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2020 2:41 am 
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I think this topic is very interesting, since I have my first flute now Im ~terriefied~ of a crack!
Where I live (Berlin, Germany) the humidity seems to be somewhat stable aroud the 70% mark but of course with heating indoors much lower in winter.
So to my question: I read (here I think?) that it could help if you play the flute daily during low humidity so there is some moisture introduced to the flute.
Does someone have input for this idea/method?

Also what about temperature? Last summer we had weeks of 35 degrees C (95 F) and no aircon (sadly!).
Can that be a problem too?

Oh and sorry for the edit, but on the original topic, Im always team "disassembling", I like the feeling of 'caring' for my flute, I think its almost a fun part of practise :D

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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2020 7:36 pm 
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I've been watching this thread for quite a while now. When I started on this journey 12+ years ago I was, like some of the posters, scared about the reported problems with wood. I went through the aluminum flute and then the Delrin flute and finally took the chance and bought my first wood flute. 5 flutes later I won't look back. I learned about humidifying the things in a Tupperware box through our winter which, in southern Canada goe from cold and damp to quite cold and dry, and in summers go to 30C+ with stifling humidity. I love wood. They're works of art. They can be expensive. I use a 10$ guitar case humidifier in the box, with my three wood flutes in winter. I use the same things in my mandolin cases. Recharge it 1X a week or so. Play the flutes on a regular basis. Yes, it's probably a good idea to swab it out after playing if it has visible drops inside - it can/should become part of the ritual, not a chore. The merits of wood over Delrin as far as tone etc can be debated elsewhere, and have been. I obviously go for wood. My point is, if you discover you like wood (and I'm betting you might) don't be afraid. Follow basic rules...humidify in a cold dry winter (in a box, it's easy), don't take it outside in freezing weather, don't leave it in you car in the hot summer. Play it regularly. If you can't keep this in mind, wood is not for you. Get a Delrin flute to leave out for the spontaneous tune, if you need it. I still have an M&E Delrin for canoe trips. Otherwise, enjoy the wood, and don't be afraid.

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