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 humidify clarinet case?
Author: johnwesley 
Date:   2021-08-11 21:40

Just wondering if any of you put a humidifier in your case? I am in Scottsdale AZ where it's not just hot, but the humidity is around 5% most days. Because of the heat I run my air conditioning 24/7 half the year and that dries out the indoor air even more. Thinking of a small wet sponge in an open plastic bag for the inside of my Leblanc case to keep some moisture available for the wood. Any of you do this, or am I overthinking and overly concerned?

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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2021-08-11 21:43

It’s a good idea to prevent loose rings and cracks. You could also consider getting a swamp cooler for your house if Humidity is that low.

-Jdbassplayer

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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-08-11 22:07

My thought on this would be: how much condensation builds up in the horn when you play? When I play outside gigs in the sun there is virtually no moisture to swab out at all. If you don't build any moisture playing, I'd think moisture in the case may not be a good thing (just keep up with bore oil twice a year or so).




...............Paul Aviles



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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: johnwesley 
Date:   2021-08-11 22:33

Thanks for the reply. Not a lot of moisture, so I guess I'm good to go.

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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2021-08-12 09:51

You can get humidity cigar “packs” in your preferred percentage. They also have other gadgets that might keep it more steady and less likely to mold. https://www.amazon.com/humidor-humidity-packs/s?k=humidor+humidity+packs

I wonder if the attempt to keep it humidified creates more instability than letting it dry, with the inside of the case being much more humid than the environment. Every time you get it out it’s a change. It’s not super dry in the case anyhow. Even with a good swab you are still introducing some humidity every time you close the case.

I know you were talking about the clarinet body, but similarly: I tried keeping my reeds in a plastic box to maintain humidity in Colorado and it didn’t work too well (IMO). They were always unhappy because they were always changing. I’ve had more success with minimal water because they’re more stable. Double reed players sometimes keep theirs immersed, i.e. waterlogged, but it seems to work. They’re so wet that they never get very dry. Maybe it’s best as one or the other, rather than trying to fight the conditions.

My rings got loose in Colorado. Wood is designed to self regulate. I made sure to wrap the case up in the cold though.

- Matthew Simington


Post Edited (2021-08-12 09:52)

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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2021-08-12 10:45

Where I live it's very dry in summer and can be wet in winter. We notice that the solid wood doors stick in wet weather because they expand to be too wide to fit the door frames.

Our piano tuner told us we needed to maintain the level of humidity in the house to stop the piano going out of tune, so we have a humidifier set at 55%. It makes the house a lot more comfortable for people too.

The only time I've ever noticed a problem with a clarinet in our house was when I practiced my old E. J. Albert clarinet 3+ times a day before an exam without swabbing out. It then developed a crack that was just one layer thick in the surface of the wood. I've never actually noticed any effects on my clarinet due to become too dry.

I have heard about people using humidifiers in cases, by my clarinet has never seemed to need it. I may just not be looking for the differences that matter though.

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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: Jimis4klar 
Date:   2021-08-13 00:05

Speaking of, I want to ask If you find the reed case with humidity necessary.. Not just for dry places in the world, but in general.. I mean, once you play the reed, after a little It becomes humidified anyways..

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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2021-08-13 01:36

When I said "didn't work too well" about the sealed plastic reed case I meant "made things worse". Every time you took a reed out it went from a moist environment to a very dry one. It warped.

Being a little dry doesn't make wood crack. It's the change from one to the other. Logs can sit at the bottom of a lake for centuries and be well preserved. It's when they start drying out that they crack. The inside is completely waterlogged, and the outside is only damp. Crack. Different parts of the wood change humidity at different rates. That's why it warps and cracks. It will also crack if it's very dry all the way through, and you suddenly add humidity to the outside (or bore).

A dry clarinet will change it's shape though. As wood dries it contracts parallel to the grain. The clarinet gets slightly oval. See image below....

- Matthew Simington


Post Edited (2021-08-13 02:00)

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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2021-08-13 02:03
Attachment:  wood_movement.jpeg (21k)

How wood changes shape as it dries.

Note that it will go back to the original shape, more or less, as moisture is added - but it will crack if the change is too fast, or there is too much variance within the wood. It's self regulating, but it can only do so slowly.

- Matthew Simington


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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: Clarineat 
Date:   2021-08-13 23:50

Boveda packs. Best thing ever. Take away too much humidity, bring up to proper levels if too low. Love these things.

Sean Perrin

Host of the Clarineat Podcast
Listen FREE at www.clarineat.com
hello@clarineat.com

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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-08-14 01:23

I'm old school enough to use a very simple criterion for needing humidity control:
If the rings are tight, leave things alone. If they get loose, humidify until they tighten up again.

One of the old remedies was to put pieces of orange (or lemon) peel in the case. Another was to use Dampits. I always preferred to have the added fragrance of the orange peels. Now, when there's (very rarely) a problem with my rings, I use Boveda Packs - 49%.

I once got my rarely used "rosewood" C clarinet out of its case to play on it and found that not only were the rings loose, but the throat A key was binding. The wood had moved enough to move the key's pivot posts. Dampits (the thin violin/clarinet size) tightened the rings and freed the A key in a couple of days.

Full disclosure - I live in suburban Philadelphia, PA. The monthly average relative humidity here, according to one chart I've found online, rarely goes lower than 70% and the real culprit when the instrument wood dries out is the indoor heat or AC, which both dry things out even with a humidifier attached to our HVAC ducts. Your need for extra humidity in Scottsdale may very well be more consistent.

Karl

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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: dns 
Date:   2021-08-26 23:05

Hello,
I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where humidity is typically 10%. My clarinets cracked when I moved here.
Now I keep my clarinets and reeds in a closet with a humidifying machine which I keep "on" all the time and automatically regulates the humidity. I also have a hygrometer in there to measure the humidity. It stays at around 50% (or whatever I set the humidifier to). The practice room is dryer, but that seems to be OK, because for most hours of the day, the instrument is in a humid environment. If you humidify the whole room, it being a larger space, you end up having the machine pumping all day long.

Daniel

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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: Robert N. 
Date:   2021-08-27 00:01

I keep my clarinet case in a air tight plastic storage container (like a large tupperware) with a humidity pack inside as well. I do the same thing for my reeds.

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 Re: humidify clarinet case?
Author: Djudy 
Date:   2021-08-27 16:05

SunnyDaze, what kind of humidifier are you using for the room with the piano (or the house) ? I need to find a beter system : I've been using a 5 L room humidifier in my office mostly for the guitars (they but not the clarinets have had problems with low humidity) but the results are insufficient and the ionizing mister resulted in white deposits on all the electrical cords in use. I track the humidity closely and try not to fall below 50% but it's a chore. My clarinets live in their cases with mini hygrometers (from earspasm, no commercial connection) that report a stable humidity of about that.





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