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jacklinks

Boveda - humidity

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Does anyone here use Boveda packs for humidity control inside the case? If so, are you satisfied? Pros? Cons?  I just read about them but don’t have any experience with them. Thanks.

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While I have zero experience with them, I can see a few issues that the user should be aware of.

There are two different "formulas"... one if you expect the environment to be drier than optimum, or one where you expect to be in a damp environment.  I suspect that they are actually the same pack, but one is supplied charged with moisture, and the other supplied dry.

There is a limit to how much moisture the pack can supply or absorb.  I don't think it would last very long in a Houston summer or Montana winter, especially if you open the case and play every day.  I haven't seen anything about re-conditioning the pack (with dry heat or steam, depending on what you need it to do), but it seems that should work... although the salt crystals may meld together in a block and lose effectiveness.

The recommended life is 2 - 6 months of use.

I suppose if you don't mind the cost and constant replacement, and are extremely  picky about humidity, this would be the thing for you.

It seems like this could be packaged in a re-usable way, where you could remove the salt itself and crush it up for re-use and re-conditioning... but then there wouldn't be a steady sales stream.  I don't see why the salt itself would go bad.

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Stretto and similar products are out there. The cost is relative but i am not sure the product itself is more helpful than careful routines. Consider making a risk matrix and call the manufacturers if you have an expensive instrument or truly worried. If you live in the southwest, call Southwest strings for advice or a fine dealer in Northern Texas.

I have not used Boveda product, but have used Stretto and Planet Wave products and similar guitar related products. I did not like the Stretto as the moisture pouch kept falling out of the plastic container which i eventually wrapped in rubber bands. The thought of a major crack in a guitar is more difficult to repair, and for a culture that likes "like new" and "mint" products, is something to avoid. So the use of a device is likely more desired.

When i was much younger, we had Damp-its and moist towels in foil in extreme dry and small fruit when very humid. I always thought in terms of keeping the instrument healthy. My oboe friends were super disciplined as they were the most likely to develop cracks and it helped to learn from them. They often sold their instruments within 5 years or first crack and pinning, which ever came first, so different thinking all together. Double reed culture is rather interesting, not musty like bowed string culture. 

As i grew older i was less disciplined - careless, without a doubt - and on a trip to the southwest from Santa Monica, developed nearly a full length crack on a very expensive french instrument which required a $5k repair ( invisible and the instrument sounded better after - also reducing wolf. ) Since then I minimize drastic weather changes or acclimate instruments in the hall ( there is usually a damp and cool area of the building ) or pre-first rehearsal. Prepping pre-travel is more difficult... in the end i sold/ returned the expensive instrument before i did more damage to something that was more deserving and belonging to others, and purchased newer instruments by choice. 

I have not traveled extensively in Europe, but regional changes in the US can be extreme. I am not sure if case material matters as much as a device, but a wood case might be better than a composite material case. I have several beater BAM shell violin/ viola cases with the new latches that feel great but am afraid they will pop open during travel and Gewa cello cases ( better latches but lousy contour over the bridge, maybe the newer BAM latches and seals are better now for cello ). I use Musafia cases for travel. Storage in older cases worry me more than in newer plastic or composite cases.

Did you assess your risk? If you have an expensive older instrument, it might be worth it. I trust my handmade devices and i use distilled water when necessary. Generally, makers ( and impoverished students tend to be DIY-ers. ) These devices do not make you play better but some people i know swear that their instruments feel more consistent... which is important for many of us. I have given up on expecting anything from most pets and instruments as they deserve more love from us then the other way around. 

My older friends who own older fine instrument leave their dampits inside - mostly cellos - but they use an eyedropped or syringe to add a set quantity related to their daily travels and do not soak them, only compensating for air conditioning. Their personal luthiers suggest against using anything as they are likely to do more damage to these old Italians inserting the device in the f- holes. I see that they are left out all day in darker practice rooms ( i want a practice room when i grow up ) and must be fine because i check their dampits every visit and they are always mostly dry. I suggest they trade-in for a Michael Fischer ( which sound and almost feel very close to these older instruments ) or similar newer instrument but they enjoy the daily routines in retirement.

 

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On 10/23/2019 at 10:39 PM, jacklinks said:

Does anyone here use Boveda packs for humidity control inside the case? If so, are you satisfied? Pros? Cons?  I just read about them but don’t have any experience with them. Thanks.

I've had interaction with some people who like them. However, be sure to get the ones which are designed to keep humidity in the 40-50% range, because there are many ranges available, and the range designed for cigar humidors will not be right for violins.

In the area where I live, I don't think they would last very  long in the winter when the indoor humidity can be as low as 5%, without drying out and needing to be replaced. Same in the summer, when humidity can be as high as 100%, and they would quickly lose the ability to absorb any more moisture. So replacement would be a running cost, and different people will have different thresholds for that.

Another caution would be that D'addario once marketed these for violins, and then stopped. This may have had to do with the potential risk of damaging very expensive violins, should the harsh chemicals inside leak for some reason.

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Boveda in the cigar world changed the entire industry, for humidity control. Their product is rock solid, and pretty incredible. I've used a single pack that kept a humidor at the rated humidity for roughly a year. I have to imagine, with how many in the cigar world have used this brand, that it's not leaking chemicals. 

You can recharge, just soak in water. They don't tell you that, because they want to sell you another, but just soak it in a glass of water for 2 days, then let it dry, then back in. 

It's definitely the least hassle humidity control, though if you only have to check every 6 months, that can be its own issue, as you might forget to check... That is why I don't use one for my case, I just use dampits. I can remember that I either wet the dampit yesterday or not, but I don't trust myself to remember about 6 months ago. I should probably use Boveda as a secondary humidity control, as it is a true 2 way system, as in if I put in a dampit that flooded the case to 80% humidity, the boveda would absorb the humidity in excess of its rating.

edit: btw the way you check, is it becomes pretty stiff when dry. If it feels like a small water bed, it's still ok.

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Works amazingly to keep bass rosin soft. I've been using the same cake of original oak rosin for about three years now. Have to replace the packets about every 6 months, but they're cheap compared to the rosin.

Thanks for the tip on soaking. I'll try it.

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5 hours ago, Porteroso said:

Boveda in the cigar world changed the entire industry, for humidity control. Their product is rock solid, and pretty incredible. I've used a single pack that kept a humidor at the rated humidity for roughly a year. I have to imagine, with how many in the cigar world have used this brand, that it's not leaking chemicals. 

You can recharge, just soak in water. They don't tell you that, because they want to sell you another, but just soak it in a glass of water for 2 days, then let it dry, then back in. 

 

A few thoughts:

First, a Boveda pack in a cigar humidor probably won't get banged around like it would in a mobile instrument case, perhaps in a case pocket with some other things like a tuning fork and rosin.

Second, I don't see how soaking in a glass of water would refresh a 40-50% Boveda pack in a high humidity area, one which has already absorbed too much water. Perhaps it could be dried in an oven? I haven't tried, so I don't know. Do you?

Third, whatever happens in a homel-sized cigar humidor probably doesn't put up to ten million dollars of product at risk.

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18 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

...I don't see how soaking in a glass of water would refresh a 40-50% Boveda pack in a high humidity area, one which has already absorbed too much water. Perhaps it could be dried in an oven? I haven't tried, so I don't know. Do you?.

I don't know from experience, but my understanding is that these packs are based on specific salt crystals that tend to retain moisture at certain levels.  I am fairly sure that baking would dry out an over-saturated pack, but the problem is that the crystals like to glom together, reducing surface area and effectiveness.  Likewise, dried-out packs should be able to be re-moisturized with high-humidity air.  Soaking in water doesn't sound like a great idea for salt crystals.

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