Warmer for Recorder Drawer?

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  • #1557
    Mark Lane
    Participant

    Hi Folks,

    I recently joined the forum, this is my first post (although I think I belonged to this or another forum years ago). I live in NY, play (with) a few different instruments. Recently took up recorder again, I have a couple of Moeck Rottenburghs etc.

    My question is this: my home office, where I keep (and play) my recorders, gets pretty cold at night (I turn the heat down), into the 50’sF. So warming up the recorders in the morning to play takes awhile. I was toying with the idea of getting one of those terrarium heaters, like a plastic sheet that you stick on the bottom, and putting it on the bottom of the cabinet drawer where the recorders live. These have a thermostat, so I could gradually adjust it to keep the drawer at, say, 68-70F (or whatever). Then at least the recorders might be a little warmer in the morning.

    Thoughts on this? Of course I do know not to put the instrument (or case) on a radiator or apply any direct heat. This would just barely warm up the storage drawer.

    Thanks for any replies or thoughts.

    Mark

    #1558
    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    I looked all over the internet and cannot find anything on this topic. Sarah Jeffery (YouTube) talks about warm-up before practice (for you), how to warm the instrument under your arm, etc. , but not a peep about using artificial heat to warm the instrument.

    I have heard of people using hot water bottles to keep their recorders warm during a concert (like unused recorders sitting on a bench or something), wrapped in a blanket or similar.

    But somehow I don’t think I’d advise using dry heat as you are describing. I mean drying out a wooden instrument is kind of a bad thing to do. I suppose you could add a humidifier (like for a guitar case) in with the recorders to help with that problem, but it seems like it would be very hard to control. I guess you could put a humidity gauge in with everything and check it.

    Maybe a compromise would work. In other words, about an hour before you want to play, put the recorder in a blanket with a water bottle. Then take it out when you are close to ready, warm it the normal way (like under your arm, etc). I think this would be safer than letting it cook in the drawer for hours on end. Just my semi-informed (semi-uninformed!) opinion. 🙂

    #1562
    Mark Lane
    Participant

    [not sure why but my post seems to have disappeared, trying again – ]

    Thanks for the reply, Richard, I appreciate it. Very familiar with Sarah Jeffery, btw, I love her channel.

    I have many years (alas) experience with wooden acoustic instruments (full grand piano in living room, custom acoustic guitars, mandolins, etc.), so I do have some familiarity with humidification and heat issues. Not that I’m an expert, certainly not. So yeah, as temperature rises, the air is capable of holding more water, so the RH goes down. Which means, heat up the area where a wooden instrument is kept, and it can start to dry out. Definitely.

    The room where I keep my “stuff” is humidified (I use a Levoit humidifier with digital settings). I try to keep it around 40-45rh, although it can be a challenge in mid-winter (now) (New York). The temp in the room is usually around 70F during the day, down to maybe 60 overnight. Humidifier comes on and off “as needed”, but none of this is perfect.

    As fars as I can figure, using a hot water bottle (and maybe a towel) does not apply any different kind of heat than heating the ambient air? It is still “dry heat”; the water in the bottle doesn’t leach out. 🙂 So if it’s hot enough to cause drying, it’s the same. Am I wrong? Maybe the real difference is, it’s localized and very short-term?

    Anyway, I went ahead and tried this – I attached a 12″x8″ adjustable terrarium heater to the underside of the drawer. I put in three digital thermometer/hygrometers, and three digital Govee sensor units, all calibrated (salt method), spread around inside. Two of the sensors I put in (empty) recorder rolls. The Govees are great (I have a bunch of them), they read temp and RH on a standard phone via the Govee app. I’ve now monitored it for a couple of days.

    Initially the temps ran way up, too high in my view (upper 70’s). I had to dial the heater all the way down to its lowest point to get the temps into the low- to mid-70’s. At this point, the drawer stays around 72F, even overnight (the Govee setup shows historical data, so I can see the highs and lows, both temp and RH). The RH stays about the same as in the room generally. I may add a couple of Boveda packs to the drawer, although I’m not sure it’s necessary.

    So far, I think this is a pretty good setup. The recorders are not “cold” when I take them out. They still need some warming (under arm), but not as much. The whole recorder is kept at the same temp (and RH), slightly above room temp. Not “hot”, and not (imho) warm enough to cause problematic drying.

    I was gonna post a pic, but I don’t see how I can get it down to the size limit. Anyway, any further thoughts on all this would sure be welcome!

    Mark

    #1563
    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    “As fars as I can figure, using a hot water bottle (and maybe a towel) does not apply any different kind of heat than heating the ambient air? It is still “dry heat”; the water in the bottle doesn’t leach out. 🙂 So if it’s hot enough to cause drying, it’s the same. Am I wrong? Maybe the real difference is, it’s localized and very short-term?”
    Yes, I suppose that’s correct. I thought of this myself, but decided to suggest it anyway. I guess the difference is as you say – localized and short-term. Anyway, it sounds like you have done some experimenting and it sounds good, so go for it! 🙂 Meanwjile, just FYI, I got an email notice containing each of your posts, so they didn’t disappear. But this forum’s software is a bit strange).

    #1564
    Mark Lane
    Participant

    ..just FYI, I got an email notice containing each of your posts, so they didn’t disappear. But this forum’s software is a bit strange).

    Thanks for letting me know. I couldn’t see my post, so didn’t know what was happening. Oddly, I’m signed up to receive email notices, and I didn’t get any for either of your responses. Oh well.

    #1565
    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    I think you have to request an email for EVERY individual thread you reply to. So, for example, on this thread in my first reply, I checked the box below the text entry area that says: “Notify me of follow-up replies via email.” You only have to do that once for any given thread, but you have to do it on every thread with at least one reply you make. If you do a reply and haven’t yet checked that box, I haven’t found any method to check the box after the fact. It seems that you have to make an additional entry just to get the box to check and then Submit the reply. Grrr! Pretty weird, but once you do it for a thread, it seems to work OK.

    #1566
    Mark Lane
    Participant

    Thanks, Richard. As it turned out, the emails were in my spam box. I’ve added the forum to the safe list. That said, it sure doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of activity here, unfortunately.

    #1567
    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    No, there isn’t much activity. This is the second recorder forum I’ve been on. The earlier one was discontinued for lack of activity.

    I kind of think that there isn’t enough to discuss about recorders to drive a lot of activity. I mean, it’s not like say camera equipment where there are tons of items and equipment to purchase, at all different price points. I know that there are different reccorder sizes and some equipment like metronomes, and of course sheet music, etc, but not enough to drive a lot of activity, IMHO.

    It’s a shame too, because if you look on Facebook, there are a bunch of recorder groups, but unlike a forum, which is organized and arranged by topic, so a topic will stay in the same place for even years and is relatively easy to find, FB’s arrangement is by the stream of entries, all mashed together into your feed, and even that order gets mixed up and it is essentially impossible after a while to find something you saw earlier. It’s kind of like a conversation, no doubt deliberately and by design.

    But the consequence is that the same questions get asked over and over again – “my recorder is clogging after I play it for 10 minutes!! What can I do about it?!?” Etc, etc. After answering this question about 15 times, it gets kind of wearying. So I hate it and wish there were someplace like this that had more activity. Oh well, this is OK and I hope it stays online!

    #1568
    Richard Hureau
    Participant

    I hope it didn’t sound like I was criticizing people on this forum for asking the same question over and over. I wasn’t. This forum hasn’t been going long enough to build up a good collection of topics, IMHO. But once the questions have been asked and thoroughly hashed over by a bunch of people, the results sit there ready to be read by someone later with the same question. This is what is best, I think. 🙂

    #1572
    Mark Lane
    Participant

    Well, my post disappeared again. I give up. 🙁

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