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Thread: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

  1. #1

    Default Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    Anyone have experience using an electric cigar humidifier like the one pictured below for use in their 'instrument humidor'? (I'm thinking a cabinet or closet) They range from 100-200 US$, and you can find more info online. Cigar folks like 70%RH, but it adjusts down to 40%RH. And there's a fan for circulation and hygrometer.

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    I've been using open jars with sponges as wicks in an old Ikea cabinet, but I think this might be a more reliable method.

    Any builders or repair folks use a method like this for humidifying instruments to a higher level than the ambient shop humidity?
    BradKlein
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  2. #2
    Registered User O. Apitius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    I'm not familiar with this machine in particular but it seems to me to be a better solution than jars of water with sponges, in that it should provide a more consistent level of humidity. It also would require less maintenance aside from re-filling the reservoir as needed.

    If I were in NY or states with a similar climate, I'd set the humidity level at 45% and if possible, leave a case in the cabinet as well. This way, when you take the instrument out to jam or play, There won't be too big of a difference in the humidity of the destination to what the instrument is acclimated to if it were stored at higher humidity. Rapid, extreme changes in humidity can put uneven stresses in the instrument. Of course, too dry is the biggest danger and that is why it would be good to have your case humidified to 45% as well. That way, the instrument will be kept closer to its proper moisture content until you open the case at your destination, giving you more safe playing time before getting the mandolin back to the controlled environment of your cabinet. In my testing, I have found that stringed instruments, with their thin woods, can reach equilibrium moisture content in as little as24 hours (or even less). So if you expect to be in a very dry environment for more than an evening, you should take other precautions as well.
    https://www.instagram.com/apitiusmandolins/
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    I try to keep my house humidified. Winter dry conditions are also bad for you, your furniture, floors, cabinets, any thing that is wood. It is easy and inexpensive to humidify. If you have humid conditions in the summer and don't have air conditioning, as I don't, then I watch the humidity and temp and close the windows on hot humid days and run a dehumidifier when necessary. I pick my mandolin up many time over the day and evening and like it accessible. Gigging here in the summer exposes an instrument to extremes of humidity and mine have all been fine as it is constant and not quick changes. Due to necessity I keep it more humid in the summer than the winter. It is also harder to keep the humidity down when it is humid out than it is to keep it from drying out in the winter.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  6. #4
    Registered User O. Apitius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    I'm with you pops1. I go with whole house humidification with a humidifier installed on my furnace. It's pretty much set it and forget it except for a couple of cleanings a year due to hard water. I keep the whole house at 40%RH. Luckily, I have a sling psychrometer to accurately calibrate my hygrometers.
    https://www.instagram.com/apitiusmandolins/
    What is good Phaedrus? and what is not good? need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    Thanks for the replies. This thread is more for a particular question, rather than how to humidify a room or a single family house. I'm in a NYC apartment, steam heated. I know the advantages and disadvantages of various room humidifiers - but like most people in this situation, keeping an apartment at 50% RH is impractical - and not necessary.

    Anyway, back to the topic! I've posted these pics before, and it's a pretty good solution to storing instruments when you cant humidify the whole living space. But I think that a 'cigar' humidifier, perhaps built in to the space below the instruments, along with its digital hygromerter controler, might a decent upgrade to a (very economical - almost free) system that's worked well for 10 years or so.

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    Last edited by BradKlein; Dec-06-2018 at 10:02am.
    BradKlein
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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    A small stand alone humidifier, not a room humidifier, will easily humidify your apartment. I have wood heat and have no problem. I have been in houses with the large cast radiators like you have and had no problem keeping the house properly humidified. They are not expensive to purchase and run, but you will need to fill it with water (5 gal) often.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  11. #7
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    I know you're probably not looking for more input like this, but I agree with others that it would make far more sense to humidify the room. The $185 cost of that cigar humidifier would be more than enough for a good apartment humidifier. And then you wouldn't be constantly swapping your instruments back and forth into different humidity conditions, which might stress the wood.

    That's always been my argument against case humidifiers (except when traveling), and why I keep my instruments out on stands in a humidity-controlled room. Wooden musical instruments like to settle down in a steady state environment. They don't like changes.

  12. #8

    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    No worries. My room humidifier needs are taken care of. If anyone cares, the bedroom has one that I keep at 40% and the everything-else room has one that I keep at 25-30%. Both get refilled every morning... all winter. And that's as much water hauling as I'm willing to do. Note that I've worked for a vintage shop that kept three floor-standing humidifiers filled - by bucket - all winter, so I'm not uninformed on this subject. But sometimes, I go out of town, or feel like leaving an instrument in the living room in that nice handy cabinet where kids don't knock things over, etc. And I can gaze at my ukulele while eating breakfast. ;-)

    It's really a nice thing, the instrument humidor. Got it from my neighbor, who got if from Ikea. Threw away the shelves. Lined it with a velvet remnant from the fabric store down the way. Fill the jars and wash the sponges every week or two.
    BradKlein
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  14. #9
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    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    I like the cabinet idea. I recently purchased an old wardrobe that I plan to convert to an instrument cabinet. That way there easily accessible when I just want to grab one for a few minutes. I like the humidor idea and will be interested to here how it turns out for you.
    Are you able to maintain the humidity you want with the sponge? How often do you have to refill?

    Adam

  15. #10

    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    Sponge in a jar keeps things at around 40%, and I have compared that hygrometer to digital ones. My cabinet could be sealed much tighter with a little effort. As it is, I refill the jars and wash the sponges so they don't get funky, every week or two.
    BradKlein
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  17. #11
    Registered User mandotool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    Green sponge version...
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ID:	173194green sponge = better tone

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  19. #12

    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by mandotool View Post
    Green sponge version = better tone
    I'm thinking of trying the new Blue Chip Humidi-sponge®, but $35 seems kinda pricey...
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  20. #13
    Registered User mandotool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    StewMac Blackfriday 30% off ..MandoSponge TM
    or perhaps these delightful green felt mandolin pick shaped sponges on Amazon..
    https://www.amazon.com/Yibuy-Mandoli.../dp/B078GP1V4Z
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    I'm not even making this up...

  21. #14

    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    I have two guitar cabinets. One had the cigar type humidifier. It lasted about a year and the display went out; goodbye humidifier. I would never buy another humidifier of this type. I have a room humidifier that works for the whole room including the cabinet. My other cabinet was made by AccessNSight and uses the passive humidifing process (trays loaded into a compartment in which water can be added). The cabinet is sealed better and this system works for in the cabinet which is in my living room.

  22. #15

    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Frances50 View Post
    I have two guitar cabinets. One had the cigar type humidifier. It lasted about a year and the display went out; goodbye humidifier. I would never buy another humidifier of this type.
    Thanks, Frances! Was it the Cigar Oasis brand? And was it the large one pictured in post #1 or one of the smaller?
    BradKlein
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  23. #16

    Default Re: Humidified Mandolin/Guitar Cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    Thanks, Frances! Was it the Cigar Oasis brand? And was it the large one pictured in post #1 or one of the smaller?
    I think it was the Cigar Oasis brand. My builder installs it in his cabinet builds. It cost a couple hundred bucks as I recall. After a year, the display went out and that was that. I use a whole room humidifier now. It keeps me and the guitars happy.

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