A friend of mine
Yes, I use a Harp Dampit in my harp in the cold winter months when it is just too dry in the house — even though we have a humidifier going for the house and one near the harp. I keep a humidity sensor nearby to gauge the humidity. You need to re-dampen the dampit every day though.
Liam- The wood on a harp doesn’t dry out immediately. It takes time. In fact, several months for damage to show up. So it’s usually around the end of the winter that a harp that has not been humidified shows signs of checks in the finish, cracks in the wood, and joints opening up. If your harp is traveling between two good environments and spending the bulk of its time in one place or the other, then the few hours that it is out of that humidified environment is not going to do any damage. Your soap dish dampits won’t do any harm, but they are not the main reason your harp has not had any problems. Even harps that are moved constantly for gigs, if they then spend time in a controlled environment between moves, will be protected from the damage caused by low humidity.
Your information concurs with what my research showed. I definitely appears to be the drying which is the issue. As my lips and my wife’s hair will tell you, the “humidified environment” here is anything but. Some of the rattan furniture we brought here has really given me fits. My home in Phoenix now has humidifiers.
I actually found a luthier here in the desert who told me to aim for 50% humidity and keep it there. He repairs everything from harps to hurdy gurdys and he told me one of the biggest problems is instruments coming into this area and then not having their humidification augmented. I ran the soap dish idea past him and after hearing my “In harp” readings of 50% he approved.
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