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Humidity?


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What is the consensus on humidity, humidifier or desiccant in the case?

 

after having sat for a while. And it being really humid here for a while. My Wheatstone seems a bit sluggish and muffled.

 

is that a humidity thing? Should I have desiccant in the case?

 

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Concertinas were made before central heating, never mind air conditioning. Homes were heated by open fires, and condensation ran down the single glazed windows to form pools on the window ledges. This current humidity is not likely to cause condensation in the instrument, maybe some wood might swell very slightly however I don't see this as being any different than normal usage in the late 1800's early 1900's.

 

If you were taking your instrument abroad to places of extreme cold or extreme heat I might be more concerned.

 

Dave

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High humidity causes less problem than low, but your description is a common one.  The reed pans can absorb a few grams of moisture, which will change the interaction with the reeds in a noticeable way.  The valves also take up moisture and can lift slightly as the lower layer of the leather expands more than the upper. This can lower response as the valves take longer to close.  Nothing to worry about,  

   Dessicants get used up quite quickly and need to be restored by heating in an oven, though most packs I’ve seen aren’t packed to be reused.  Unless your case is airtight, the “partial pressure of gasses” will always seek to equalize the humidity between the case and free air.  Dehumidifiers are more constant, but use a lot of electricity and still need to be in a closed room.  The good thing is that wood loses moisture at a much higher rate than it takes it up.  Days vs hours.  So it does little damage.  The best thing to do is play the thing, which can free up sluggish bits and help them find a stable position.

Dana

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4 hours ago, Dana Johnson said:

High humidity causes less problem than low, but your description is a common one.  The reed pans can absorb a few grams of moisture, which will change the interaction with the reeds in a noticeable way.  The valves also take up moisture and can lift slightly as the lower layer of the leather expands more than the upper. This can lower response as the valves take longer to close.  Nothing to worry about,  

   Dessicants get used up quite quickly and need to be restored by heating in an oven, though most packs I’ve seen aren’t packed to be reused.  Unless your case is airtight, the “partial pressure of gasses” will always seek to equalize the humidity between the case and free air.  Dehumidifiers are more constant, but use a lot of electricity and still need to be in a closed room.  The good thing is that wood loses moisture at a much higher rate than it takes it up.  Days vs hours.  So it does little damage.  The best thing to do is play the thing, which can free up sluggish bits and help them find a stable position.

Dana


 

 

Dana,

 

funny thing..

getting the 21 out of the case, my butt in gear, and my fingers and arms practicing seems to have cured it.

 

practice really does solve the issue..

 

i thought that was a myth!

 

 

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I bought my first (English) concertina new from Harry Crabb back around '74.

He instructed me two things for a lifelong problem free use, and he was right:

 

1) if you come in from the cold, first use the air button to load the interior up with the warmer air a few times, thereby avoiding condensation settling on the reeds.

 

2) use a soft brush to keep the bellows folds clean from dust and other debris.

 

In over 30 years of use it never needed tuning or bellows maintenance. Only the thumbstraps needed a small fix ...

 

Edited by fiddler2007
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18 hours ago, fiddler2007 said:

1) if you come in from the cold, first use the air button to load the interior up with the warmer air a few times, thereby avoiding condensation settling on the reeds.

That doesn't make sense to me. If the reeds are cold, filling the instrument with the warm and humid indoor air would surely cause more condensation than leaving the dry air inside while the instrument slowly warms up.

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19 hours ago, fiddler2007 said:

1) if you come in from the cold, first use the air button to load the interior up with the warmer air a few times, thereby avoiding condensation settling on the reeds.

 

1 hour ago, Richard Mellish said:

That doesn't make sense to me. If the reeds are cold, filling the instrument with the warm and humid indoor air would surely cause more condensation than leaving the dry air inside while the instrument slowly warms up.

 

It only makes sense if you do it repeatedly over enough time for the warm moist air that you’re filling the bellows with to warm the instrument, and by extension, the reeds. The moist air won’t come in contact with the reeds until you start playing, and doing it repeatedly keeps the air in the bellows from getting cold. I’ve been doing this for decades. It simply decreases the time it takes for the reeds to warm up without exposing them to warm moist air.

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1 hour ago, David Barnert said:

It only makes sense if you do it repeatedly over enough time for the warm moist air that you’re filling the bellows with to warm the instrument, and by extension, the reeds. The moist air won’t come in contact with the reeds until you start playing, and doing it repeatedly keeps the air in the bellows from getting cold. I’ve been doing this for decades. It simply decreases the time it takes for the reeds to warm up without exposing them to warm moist air.

 

The warm moist air introduced to the bellows will come into contact with the top surface of the push reeds, even if you are only using the air button.

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1 hour ago, alex_holden said:

The warm moist air introduced to the bellows will come into contact with the top surface of the push reeds, even if you are only using the air button.

 

True enough, but it won’t pass through the reeds, which is where I would guess most of the damage might be done.

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