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Harpsichord humidity control

  • 1.  Harpsichord humidity control

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-24-2021 11:27
    Yes, I know people in the Midwest shouldn't have harpsichords and expect them to work...but here we are at a church where the harpsichord I worked on 10 years ago is in kind of sorry shape.

    I'm trying to come up with some sort of humidity control -mostly for the dry winter months, to cut out at least one of the extremes Yesterday when I was at the church tuning their piano in the sanctuary the RH was already at 22%.  Yikes.

    1. First I suggested a (small) room that a humidifier could be placed in.  Guess that's not going to happen.

    2. I suggested a floor length cover and placing some buckets of water underneath. Might it help?  Would anyone drill small holes in the bottom of the instrument to let there be some air exchange into the instrument?  There are a couple cracks in the soundboard, so that's already taken care of on that end...

    3. Has anyone ever used Dampits in a harpsichord?  You know, those tube things that string players put in their instruments when storing. Seems like there's a similar thing for pianos.

    4. I need to take a look at the lower register in this instrument.  I have an endoscope, maybe with that I can see how it is supposed to be attached. Even when I was working on it 10 years ago in my walk-out basement shop, where the humidity level was quite good, I was having trouble with jacks getting stuck or changing.  I guess it got so bad at the church, the all of the 4' jacks got removed.  So....I was thinking about some instances in the Midwest when, because of huge swings in humidity, techs have used CA glue to seal wood.  I was advised to do this when I was having trouble with some old Steinway keys that changed radically in the summer--when the owner insisted on having her windows open.  I did it before bushing and it worked.  Anyway, I was thinking of maybe soaking the registers in thin CA glue.  Any thoughts--besides not gluing anything in place?  :-)

    have a nice Thanksgiving and thanks for your thoughts.

    Barb Richmond

    Barbara Richmond, RPT
    Bloomington, Illinois