Humidity and Ebony

Brynmr

I'm looking into humidifiers for my studio (under 200 sq ft) home to my one and only boxwood/ebony set. At present the humidity is about 35% which is too dry from what I've read and too dry for my nose. My concern is if I get the room up to say 50% for an extended period of time then go visit the relatives for a week what will the sudden change of humidity back to 35% do to the ebony or the boxwood? 

baddogno

Store them in a reasonably air tight box with a damp (not soaking wet) sponge while you're gone and they'll be fine.   Oh and 46% is the ideal according to guitar maker Bob Taylor who knows a thing or two about wood.  Probably want to invest in a hygrometer as well as the humidifier.

Brynmr

Good tip. I've got the hygrometer and looking into humidifiers.

MCH818

There is a good thread by @MGT88. I will go "fish" for it.

[edit] Here it is: https://www.chess.com/forum/view/chess-equipment/heating-season-humidifier-hygrometer-recommendation

magictwanger

Brynmar...there is no way going from 50% to 35% humidity is going to crack your ebony!

If you are worried,you can simply add a boveda packet into your storage boxes.....No problem!

"You crack me up".-happy.png

magictwanger

Also,understand the the relative humidity is based on in room temperature as well,so if the room gets really cold 50% humidity may be a bit on the high-ish side....

The ideal temperature for woods(taken from most acoustic guitar manufacturers sites) is between 45 and 55% at an ideal 72 degrees.....Dropping to 35% would only be "maybe" a slight problem if you were away for a long time....Like an entire season and the danger is more from the wood being dry and under pressure,from improper fitting of the weights.

You can just go and not worry,imo.

Good luck

Brynmr

I wrote to CB (Mayank Gupta) and asked him if 35% humidity was too dry for the Ebony pieces. His response:

"Thomas, we carve the chess pieces from the natural wooden logs and it is very difficult to specify the exact nomenclature of the natural wood and how the specific wooden log will respond with the change in climatic conditions.

We suggest keeping the chess pieces at room temperature. The cracking occurs when the chess pieces experience a sudden change in temperature." 

Brynmr
MCH818 wrote:

There is a good thread by @MGT88. I will go "fish" for it.

[edit] Here it is: https://www.chess.com/forum/view/chess-equipment/heating-season-humidifier-hygrometer-recommendation

A humidifier that boils the water is out of the question. I'd rather put up with cracking chess pieces. But I am considering a humidifier for health reasons as well as care for my set. I don't know where I got the idea that dry air was better for one's breathing. 

Brynmr

The Mayo Clinic states that humidity in the home should be between 30 and 50%. High humidity levels can cause asthma and other allergy-related issues especially if the humidifier isn't meticulously maintained. So too if you're trying to humidify a small room it's best to keep the door closed otherwise much of the moisture will simply drift out of the room. Sounds like humidifiers are more trouble than they're worth.

MGT88

> You should be able to simply block the air registers that supply your chess room and the humidity should remain fairly constant at whatever you leave it at.

> Ideally you want to maintain 46-48% RH at all times, with a +/- 4% variance (e.g., if you select 48% as your set-point, your range would be 44-52%); RH is king, temperature does not matter (temperature only matters insofar as it affects RH). If you maintain 48%, suddenly drop to 35%, and maintain 35% for a week or more, there is certainly some risk with this (cracking/warping/etc.).

> In regards to humidifiers, the water-boil design is the easiest to use/least maintenance required/etc., which is why I recommend it.

> In regards to the damp cloth suggestion, I would not recommend this because you don't know how much humidity it will actually supply inside the box (could be alot could be a little); it's basically a gamble.

> If you're going to leave your chess equipment "unattended" for a week, the only options I can see would be air tight container + humidity packs (e.g., boveda) or dialing in the environment and closing off sources of variability (e.g., air register supplying hot dry air).

magictwanger

It's super easy to use an in room portable humidifier and you are correct,in that it is good for your health......I've been doing this for years and actually just refilled mine,before logging on here...Ha.

I have a small room,as a hobby room,where I keep my sets....After a while it's really easy to adjust the humidity to a safe level...Sometimes(based on outside conditions) I will leave the door closed and sometimes I keep it open a tiny bit,based on outside temperature,as well as if it's really windy.

Sounds like a pain,but it's easy to adjust one's self to getting it accurate...If you care enough.Obviously,it's a personal decision.....Btw,Brynmar...

If you're going away for a week,you can place the chess sets in a box and seal the box with a plastic bag.Do this when you have a good/satisfactory humidity level....That should keep quite nicely for a good while......Good luck

Brynmr

@magictwanger Which humidifier do you use and what's the danger of leaving the room at 35% humidity consistently?

magictwanger

Right now we're having a cold snap in N.J.

My room humidity is 38% but will go up to about 45% overnight,since i just turned it up a bit.

The thing is,you get a "feel" for how the room reacts to different outside temps. and overall weather conditions as you gain experience.It's really easy for me to keep a solid  45-50% now,because I know the room and have been doing this a long time.

I own a Vornado portable humidifier and i supplement it with a Pure Guardian portable evaporative unit to....Both not very big.

One must be careful that they buy a unit that holds enough water,so that you only refill once a day,in cold weather.Say,a 1-1/2 to 2 gallon holding capacity is OK....You do have to refill once daily ....No biggie.

You can get a bigger unit if you'd like too.It's up to you and your budget....I have a large unit in my family/living room area,because it's better for one's health.Funny thing is....I do bicep curls with the bigger units water containers,every time I refill,because my gym had closed due to covid and i don't want to wimp out....Ha!

Also,do NOT get a warm mist unit!!!

They put out white dust,which gets all over the place...get a cool mist unit!

I'd do an online search and I'd be happy to take a look a anything you're considering and give you my opinion....You can message me...No problem.

Regarding leaving the room at a consistent 35%(which will change if it gets warm outside,or it rains) ..... I doubt you're going to have issues there....No guarantees,but my 3 in house digital hygrometers(accurate ones) read "safe" at a 35% in room humidity....Under that they are not too happy.....They are Accurite units and are carried by Walmart.

Also,I remember many acoustic guitar forum members(I used to play,but sold everything,due to hand irritation and got sick of icing) claiming they had a 35% humidity and no issues.

Didn't someone recently.post that House Of Staunton claimed a good room humidity was between 35 and 45%?....I think I remember that.

If it's me....I'm going for the portable in room cool mist units.Mainly because I'm a bit OCD.

At least that what the wife thinks.