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How crucial is case humidity (or lack thereof) with wood smallpipes?

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  • How crucial is case humidity (or lack thereof) with wood smallpipes?

    Obviously the drones are way smaller than Highland pipes, and therefore, I would think, a bit more susceptible to warping based on ambient temperature and humidity. Currently I live in Ohio, where there are humid summers and brutal winters.

    How concerned are the more experienced players with maintaining a certain level of humidity or a certain temperature for their pipes (bellows or otherwise) when not being played?

  • #2
    For me, it's as critical to keep my SSPs properly humidified as any other wooden instrument. Mine are kept in sealed cases with hygrometers.
    "What we play is life." - Louis Armstrong

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    • #3
      I pay no attention whatsoever to it. Lubbock is not humid 99% of the year so once the pipes get here and acclimate, then I adjust the chanter reed as necessary, rehemp all the joints as the wood shrinks a tad, and never give it a second thought. I have had zero problems with treating Kinnear, Garvie, and Hamon smallpipes like this, and my Rogge uilleann chanter and reed the same. Had them all for years.
      My Piping Blog (recordings, articles, reviews, etc.) - Homepage - Pekaar's Tune Encyclopedia - Convert BMW to ABC

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Patrick McLaurin View Post
        I pay no attention whatsoever to it. Lubbock is not humid 99% of the year so once the pipes get here and acclimate, then I adjust the chanter reed as necessary, rehemp all the joints as the wood shrinks a tad, and never give it a second thought. I have had zero problems with treating Kinnear, Garvie, and Hamon smallpipes like this, and my Rogge uilleann chanter and reed the same. Had them all for years.
        Well, for Northern winters, in the presence of dry heat, I can't imagine not insuring adequate humidity. Reeds and wood can be damaged significantly. I've seen it.

        Cheers,

        Matt

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        • #5
          The key thing that matters is the rate of change of humidity. If you sit at 10% or 80% all your round, that's fine. If you smoothly go between 10% in winter and 80% in summer, that's almost certainly fine (though your reeds may not enjoy it very much). If you live in a place where you go to bed at 10% and wake up at 80%, that's very not fine.
          http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
          -- Formerly known as CalumII

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          • #6
            Where I live in Canada, lack of humidity in winter is a major issue. It hasn't damaged any of my smallpipes, but the cane reeds hate it. I box them up over winter in a sealed plastic container with a home made humidifier. I switch to my mouthblown Walsh set with plastic reeds, it doesn't seem to care at all...

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