Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I know I sometimes obsess 

i will be away for almost a month. My house will be heated. What should I do to be sure my Concertina is not too dry?

i use a tool that tells me the humidity it I will not be here to adjust.

if I just put it in a plastic bag I’ll that be enough?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

This is the time of year to remind everyone to watch your house humidity in the best interest of your concertina.  I keep reminding my repair customers that 50-60% relative humidity is about right for concertinas.   I recommend buying a small room humidifier ($30-$50) to keep the humidity up where your concertina gets played (primary room) most often.  It is a small investment to keep an expensive instrument playing its best and to avoid a concertina repair bill.

 

No less of concertina personages than Colin and Rosalie  Dipper recommend the following:

 

"You should keep the instrument at at least violin shop standard of 55% humidity to avoid shrinkage problems and loose reedframes.
It is of no use using local humidifiers, as the inside of the instrument is sealed from the humidified outside.
You need to try to play the instrument in a controlled humidity as often as you can."

 

(I believe the "local humidifiers" the Dippers refer to are "in case" humidifiers.  Perhaps better than nothing but do not "actively" humidify the inside of the instrument)

 

In your case, Mathhag I think leaving your concertina stored in its case might suffice.   Its the pumping of dry air in and out (in effect "kiln" drying your concertina when playing it)  that has the most dramatic and possibly injurious effect.
 

Edited by Greg Jowaisas
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mathhag,

 

If you are worried about the effects of heat on your instruments then turn your central heating down to around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and put a bowl of water under your radiators.

 

I keep a stock of stringed instruments awaiting repair/restoration out of their cases under these conditions and have never had problems.

 

(Michael Darnton may want to comment on this?)

 

Cheers,

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I've attached a photo of how I attempt to tackle the winter humidity issue.  I have a glass cabinet that fits my concertinas and on the second shelf, you will see a round hygrometer with which I can monitor the relative humidity.  On the bottom shelf, not clearly shown, are some glass containers.  When the RH gets less than 55% or so, I will fill the vessels with water.  This jacks up the humidity.  This works!  I am also considering this winter to putting material in the cabinet that has a high MBR (Moisture Buffer Value [ 2 - 3.5 ] ).  Interestingly Hempcrete Bircks have a very high MBR, they are very light and very inexpensive to buy (in Europe), or to make in the US .

 

I have been enjoying Adrian's recent uploads.  Today I noticed on "Jenny Pluck Pear" at 1:18 to his lower left a glass case that contained three concertinas.  I actually enlarged the image to see if there were any signs of humidity control visible.  I couldn't find any, but if not, that is the perfect type of cabinet to store concertinas in and help control environmental conditions.

 

It is on my "to do list" to make a cabinet dedicated to concertina storage and controlling the RH, which is why his case caught my eye.

IMG_0347.JPG

Edited by Noel Ways

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely get an inexpensive but not too cheap humidity meter (around USD$15 electronic).  Unless you have brutal forced air heat/ac, low 50%'s are not hard to hit. 55-60 you probably will not like unless you have a separate cabinet.  Worth keeping in mind, as a counter point, that 55-60% is not good for forced air systems, you will get mold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I do have very dry heat in my house. Forced air and sometimes a wood stove. I will be turning it down when we are away and I think I will leave the concertina in the basement . In the future I may get a small room humidifier for when I am playing also. Since it is a Dipper , I always try to follow any advice from Colin and Rosalie.

Thank you all for these great suggestions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wood stove= damp heat, as water is a product of combustion. (just saying) 

 

'Tinas were designed & built in the British climate, the woods were not kiln dried as we know it today, (12% humidity). We have humidities  60%- 80% , rarely less than 60%. we do not have air-con in many homes, we don't need it. When most 'tinas were made central heating was not around, rooms were warmed by open fires, windows ran with condensation and in frosty weather overnight the windows froze over internally. If you want a rough guide to concertina climate control, look at the climate of he British Isles.  

 

You can store the instruments in a humidity and temperature controlled environment, but when you play it are you just pulling warm dry air into the instrument? how do you re-hydrate? 

Even in the UK as concertina woods have seasoned over many years, and have perhaps been  subjected to central heating, I have seen gaps between pad boards and the wood frames open up, on Bass instruments I can remember gaps of around 5mm between pad board and casing. I have seen pad boards pull themselves apart, splitting across pad holes, and framing miss matches through shrinkage of a couple or more mm. Eventually the trick is to accept what happens, and has happened, let it stabilise, then peg the movement by adding new wood into the gaps or splits, Wood is a natural medium and if it wants to shrink, or warp then it will. I fully understand the urge to fit hygrometers in cabinets, and to try to stave off the issues, but as soon as you travel with and play the concertina the drying process will continue.

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, d.elliott said:

wood stove= damp heat, as water is a product of combustion. (just saying) 

 

If combustion gasses are leaking from your wood stove into the house, call a qualified chimney sweep. We tend to think of solid fuel stoves as drying because they draw air from the room and expel it via the flue. The combusted air gets replaced with fresh air drawn in from the outside. This cycle removes the moisture that we are constantly putting into the air by breathing/bathing/cooking. Open fires are even better at this drying effect than closed stoves because a huge volume of air gets drawn up the open chimney.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what’s everybody think about my climate?!  It’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit plus for most of the year and 80 to 90 percent humidity most of the time also!  I think the sea is maybe 15 feet from my back door. Not much like the British climate!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was not going to reply here but..........  This topic has been discussed frequently on the Mandolin Cafe.  For stringed instruments it’s a bit different but humidity is an issue for all instruments. I live in the “high desert”.  Humidity in our house averages around 38%. All instruments are kept in a small room with the door closed.  Here’s what I recommend 

 

-buy a hygrometer and get a feel for the humidity where ever you keep your concertina

-if below your desired level buy a room humidifier-you can also have one attached to your furnace (forced air) which can be set for a      desired level and humidity the whole house.

-if you expect to be away for a period of time turn down the heat and put a case humidifier in the case too

 

I had not considered what Greg J said above, but that makes perfect sense to me.  And high humidity is equally a problem too so the opposite may need to be done.  Just my $.02

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/7/2018 at 12:23 PM, Marcus said:

So what’s everybody think about my climate?!  It’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit plus for most of the year and 80 to 90 percent humidity most of the time also!  I think the sea is maybe 15 feet from my back door. Not much like the British climate!

 

Perhaps you need to worry more about corrosion on the reeds and other metal parts of your concertina, from air-borne salt water droplets.

Where I used to live in south-west Wales, about 1/2 mile from the sea, mechanics at my local garage would report that car bodywork was always prone to far more rust compared with cars based several miles inland. :o

 

Edited by Steve_freereeder
Edited to correct typo, sorry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×