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Make-Your-Own Wick Humidifier


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#1 Go0bur

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 07:05 PM

I just want to put my idea out there...

I didnt want to spend a fortune getting a musafia case or $70+ for the humidifier from Weber, so I set about making a humidifier from the string tube of my case (I dont know about you, but I tend to keep my strings in their bags).

After drilling a bunch of holes in the tube, the main problem has been finding an convenient water absorbing material. I tried tons of stuff, sponges, lots of cotton shoelace, yarn, but its always the same few problem:

1. The string tube is very long and much longer than the musafia and weber's wick humidifier. You would hbe hardpressed to find a sink big enough to sumberge it in (which would be a waste of water anyway- just to fill up a sink for that). Very wasteful and not convenient. it does let you hold more water though...

2. Since it is so hard to submerge such a large tube, this makes many materials unsuitable for use as a sponge inside tht tube.
you COULD pour water down the tube, but you would miss the narrow tube a lot and water would go out the side holes too much and be very messy. It would also take forever to wet the entire material inside tube, especially at the far end.

I tried a bunch of materials:

YARN/STRING/SHOELACES- insertion into the tube is hard because the material gets caught and begins to compress as you push it in further. compression decreases capacity to hold water. Also, since you cant submerge the tube or pour water into it, you probably have to remove the possibly many, messy, folded up strands wet them and reinsert them. I tried it, and it just doesnt work. It catches to the side of the tube even more when wet and then begins to squeeze the water out as you push it further into the tube. ALso, working with many/very long strands of wet material is messy. If you tried to thread it through and layer it carefully, it can take a few hours, longer when wet. It just doesnt work.

SPONGES- they tend to come in small fat bricks which you have to slice into thing discrete strips and insert into the tube. like the rope, very messy and time consuming to remove for moistening, especially for the strips near the middle of the tube. also compresses along the way down (even more so since you are essentially squishing the sponges against each other as you instert them)

The only thing left that comes to mind is a nice big thick (~1/2") piece of cotton rope untreated against water absorption. Its a nice big thick single piece so it should be stiff enough to go into the tube with minimal effort, even when wet, with minimal compression. It is also one piece, so it is convenient to remove, wet, and reinsert. it also goes in very neatly since it cant stack up on itself in the tube (like strands of shoelace or yarn).

I really dont know why I didnt think of the cotton rope earlier. But I havent tried it yet because I need to find some around where I live. You can order it pretty easy off the internet but the shipping far exceeds the minimal cost of a few feet of cotton rope. I am looking at the petstores around where I am right now (since I doubt hardware stores carry cotton rope...its all nylon or some other synthetic now) because bird toys (especially large birds like parrots) tend to use large thick cotton ropes...and they are also animal safe (untreated against water absorbtion).

It is kind of difficult to find a rope that absorbs moisture well because thats exactly what you dont want a rope to do if its holding you up on a building or during rock climbing. But...if anyone decides to also try, tell me how you do!

NOTE: you should of course squeeze some water out of the rope before inserting it into the tube since you dont want it absolutely drenched due to leakage.

#2 GMM22

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 08:54 PM

It sounds pretty complicated against buying an off the shelf humidifier, but having said that, I have been known to go through similar lengths (often with a measure of regret) in order to save some money.

For what it's worth, I think cellulose sponge is the best material for holding water in a humidifier. It does not have a propensity to settling and dripping the way other materials do. In addition, I think cotton and other certain fibers may be prone to mold or bacterial growth when saturated. I think sponge is the better choice in this regard too.

Hypodermic needles are ideal for saturating humidifiers rapidly. You can insert them in the individual holes at different locations along the length of the humidifier to get the job done quickly without messy immersion or disassembling the humidifier (which sounds awfully tedious). It also allows a measure of precision to the quantity of water added. Just watch you don't stick yourself by accident.
If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. AE

#3 Marie Brown

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 10:34 PM

Plastic film cans make great case humidifiers. In the USA, you can get them at Walgreen's for free. Also get some bacteria-retardant sponges. OCello makes sponges that are exactly 50% wider than the length of the cans, so two carefully-cut sponges will make three humidifiers. Cut the sponge, roll it, slide it in, pop the lid onto the can.

Take an ice pick and punch many holes in the can. The full diameter of an ice pick is a good size for the holes, as the plastic is soft and tends to close up a bit after being punched. Remove the lid and soak the sponge in the can, with care to get rid of any excess water. Replace the lid, wipe the can dry, and there's your humidifier.

It's good to set the can down on something while punching it, so you don't accidentally stab yourself with the ice pick.

#4 violinmark

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 10:42 PM

I just use a regular sponge in a ziplock bag.
I punched a hundred holes in the bag with a pin.
Remove the sponge from the bag rinse it under the faucet and squeeze it out.
Put in bag, put in case, fits beside scroll.
Adequate for 1 week in New Hampshire winter.
Not impressive or sophisticated to look at but it does the job.
I do not even bother with the "dampit'™ style perforated surgical tube insert humidifier any more.

You might try affixing the cord to a brass rod that would make it easier to insert the cord into the tube.
Thread the end of the rod so it can be attched to the endcap permanently.
That way the absorber can be pulled out of the tube and run under a faucet.

#5 Andrew Victor

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 11:14 PM

In the "bad" old days of pipe and cigar smokers and HUMIDORS, there were several diesigns of humidifying tubes for use in the humidors. Some of the very kinds used for humidors are also used in some Bobelock cases.

So if you live in a town that still has a "smoke shop" you can probably find the right kind of device for a low price.

Andy

#6 obsessed

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 02:50 AM

I keep my violin on a stand so it is easily accessible for practise. Should I be keeping it in the violin case with a humidifier? I live in a very wet climate (80 inches of rain per year!)

#7 Andrew Victor

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 11:40 AM

THere are dangers with those metal (wire) stands. The instrument can easily be knocked off; the instrument is subject to rapid changes in humidity and temperature that a case would protect it from.

A violin is safer kept in a case. If you can place the case on a table, disk or bureau surface the instrument will be nearly as accessible as it is on the stand. That is how I keep my violin handy for playing.

That said, I do keep my cello in a wooden box "stand" - but it cannot be knocked over. But in summer, when the temperature differences from day to night are large, I put it back in its case. It goes into the case at least three times weekly to travel to other venues, anyway.

Andy

#8 oldgeezer

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 01:50 PM

The violin is usually suspended from the top of a curio cabinet by
a loop of ribbon around the scroll. There's a glass votive candle
holder filled with water and a sponge just behind the fiddle. You
just have to keep an eye on the water level. The picture is with
the cabinet door open and the light turned on. You can see the
water holder in the mirror.

#9 Go0bur

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 07:33 PM

Hehe, I tend to have an affinity for over elaborate things especially if I can get it to look nice.

THat needle idea was one that never ever occured to me. THat rod idea is something Ive been thinking about but the end cap on my particular sting tube is a thing of cork right now. I suppose that would work though since its pretty thick. THanks! Ill look into it some ore.

#10 Jeffrey Holmes

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 09:06 PM

Looks like you're having a blast making something useful.

Watch the tendency for mold growth. Nasty stuff.

BTW; There are at least a few in case humidity systems that cost $30 or less that are superior to the bottle types. Stretto is by far my favorite ($30 at Shar). If you want to save some money, the bag refills are ony $5. Wouldn't take much to fashion a box to hold them in.

#11 Ron1

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 09:15 PM

quote:

Originally posted by: Jeffrey Holmes
Watch the tendency for mold growth. Nasty stuff.

#12 Ron1

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 09:19 PM

Whoops. Anyway, about that mold, Jeffrey- what can be done as a precaution so as not to let it get started; what can be done to get rid of it if it does get started?

#13 Jeffrey Holmes

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 09:32 PM

Hi Ron;

Honestly, I don't know much that will kill it besides a dose of Lysol (or similar) and putting the case out for an afternoon in the sun.

What's used as a carrier, or wick, probably contributes to mold growth. Saturation of the case material seems to contribute as well.

Hate those moldy fiddles... They really stink.

#14 DaveHamlin

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 10:26 PM

quote:


Originally posted by: Ron1
Whoops. Anyway, about that mold, Jeffrey- what can be done as a precaution so as not to let it get started; what can be done to get rid of it if it does get started?

-----------------------------------

I use a few drops of colloidal silver, available at natural foods stores or online. Add the drops when you re-soak the wick.

I've also tried a little chlorine bleach in the water, but I didn't like the idea of chlorine gas free in my case.

#15 Go0bur

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 01:57 AM

I have a bunch of pure isopropyl alcohol that I use for cleaning in my electronics-lab. I used to soak my dampits (and other sponge-type) humidifiers in it occasionaly and let it dry out to try and stop mold growth.

#16 troutabout

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 03:00 AM

I use the cheap fold-over plastic sandwich bags. Wad a couple of sheets of toilet tissue and soak with tap water - squeeze out excess, place in bag and fold over the flap. No holes poked in the bag but since the bag is nowhere air tight it humidifies for about a month. Sometimes I've soaked with water and spritz with aerosol Lysol spray. With A/C in summer and heat in winter in my area they're needed year 'round indoors. If I don't get back to one of the violins for a couple months it can smell a little gamey without the Lysol.




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