Walk in humidor

January 13, 2006 at 09:34 PM · I am a former violin player from Iowa and am now a practicing interior architect. I have a client that owns many violas, violins and classical guitars. She lives in a very dry climate and uses a hygrometer in her cases. Because of the number of instruments she owns, keeping them all at proper humidity is very time consuming. She travels frequently to play in different orchestras and would like to have a more 'automated' system of keeping her instruments at their proper humidity when she is not at home.

My question to all of you: Has anyone ever used a walk-in style humidor (the type used for cigars) to keep instruments at proper humidity? Does an instrument specific humidor exist? I am considering installing one in her instument room. This solution is appealing to my client. Money is not a barrier for this client and she will install any system that will protect her collection.

Replies (10)

January 13, 2006 at 09:51 PM · They make humidifiers for violins, cellos, and violas. They are/were green tubes with holes in them that allowed water to pass into the body of the instrument. They were fed into the bottom of the f hole final. The larger of the openings. In any event technology may have changed. But to answer your question I can't say no for sure. But cigars are much different than violins. So I simply wouldn't recommend it. Not when there are proper alternatives on the market. Try Shar, it's a good online resource. Yeah I just checked, you can pick one up for arond ten bucks.

January 13, 2006 at 09:50 PM · The Taylor guitar company works with its dealers on the issue of showroom humidity, I've heard. You might try their website. Lots of guitar dealers do have a smaller room with more or less controlled humidity where they keep their more expensive acoustic guitars. I don't see why humidor hardware wouldn't be ideal if it can provide an rh of around 50%. I myself don't know of any hardware specifically for instruments. You might contact a well-known collector of violins for suggestions, David Fulton in Seattle, for example.

January 13, 2006 at 09:53 PM · Shar has a humidifier/air cleaner listed in their catalog, capable of doing a whole room

January 13, 2006 at 09:57 PM · I think this person would be willing to pay for something built-in and maintenance-free. That's the right architectural approach.

January 13, 2006 at 09:56 PM · David Burgess,luthier, has again been discussing this topic on another site. Here are some links for you:

http://www.burgessviolins.com/humidity.html

http://www.burgessviolins.com/

http://www.burgessviolins.com/calibration.html

January 13, 2006 at 11:38 PM · A "walk-in" style humidor would work well, but I think would be overkill for most. The most practical solution that I've found (and that I recommend to all my customers) is to keep your house well humidified irregardless of how many instruments you own. A simple room humidifier and digital hygrometer should be sufficient. It's much more practical to control the humidity in the room your intstrument(s) are stored in rather than to try and humidify each instrument individually inside the case. Forty to fifty percent rh at room temperature is sufficient. For when you humidify your room you should keep the instrument exposed to open air rather than locked away in it's case. Dampits and case humidifiers are more practical for when you take your violin out of the house.

January 14, 2006 at 12:50 AM · A walk in humidor would probably be a good idea if the instruments are very valuable and if money is of little concern.

January 14, 2006 at 02:56 AM · If money is of no concern, take a look into systems designed for the electronics industry to keep rooms temperature and humidity controlled. There are alot of options out there designed for small operations that may be of interest. An HVAC contractor would have ideas and be able to consult on modifying an existing room.

Having worked in the electronics industry for awhile, I see Honeywell products and systems used alot for controlling enviroments: http://www.honeywell.com/sites/acs/

March 28, 2008 at 06:42 PM · Here's an option for guitars (www.guitarcollectorshowcase.com). It sits on the floor as a unit, and it's beautiful." The people who make the humidifiers for piano also make a case unit but it's not as attractive.

March 28, 2008 at 08:46 PM · I guess I can say I've been a part of building one, sort of. While working at a large firm (multifaceted), we elected to build a "humidity room" in the warehouse (insulated, humidity & temperature controlled, and air circulated) to allow imported instruments to acclimate to our Michigan environment. It was rather large... probably larger than your client's music room... and used for instruments received from auction as well as new, less expensive instruments imported from Europe, Korea and China. We set the humidity as close as we could to the average humidity of the place of origin, and slowly (over a few weeks) adjusted the humidity to the level maintained in the shop (40 to 45%).

Seems to me, though, for an active musician, it might be better to invest in controls that allow a music room or studio to be maintained at an appropriate humidity level... otherwise you run the risk of "cycling" (bad news) whenever the instrument is removed from the "humidor".

Jeffrey

J. S. Holmes Fine Violins

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