Our Process

Our Process and Unique Technical Approach

Amer­i­can Music Fur­ni­ture is your pre­mier provider of sol­id wood humid­i­ty con­trolled instru­ment dis­play cas­es and fur­ni­ture for your home, music room, or stu­dio. Our mis­sion is to pro­vide the absolute best solu­tions to pre­serve, pro­tect, humid­i­fy, and dis­play your gui­tars and oth­er stringed instru­ments. Amer­i­can Music Fur­ni­ture helps keep your instru­ments safe, tuned, and ready to play.

After all, what’s an instru­ment worth if you can’t enjoy it at its best?

The Technical Challenge

Wood is like a sponge. As it absorbs water it expands. As it los­es water, it con­tracts. Wood expands much more across the grain of the wood than along the length of the grain. That is why gui­tar tops and braces tear apart. The grain of the top is going the oppo­site direc­tion from the grain of the braces glued under­neath it. A wood board may expand as much as ¼” for every 12″ of width (across the grain).

To avoid dam­age, the instru­ments need to be kept at a con­stant 40 – 60% rel­a­tive humid­i­ty. Depend­ing on the man­u­fac­tur­er, the “ide­al” humid­i­ty is usu­al­ly 45 – 50% at 70 degrees ambi­ent tem­per­a­ture. From 40 – 45% and from 50 – 60% your gui­tar tone may be notice­ably dif­fer­ent, but gen­er­al­ly won’t sus­tain struc­tur­al damage.

The Damage

When wood­en instru­ments expand and con­tract with oppos­ing wood­grains they start to come apart. Wood tops often crack, sides split, and braces come loose. On gui­tar necks the fret wire will extend beyond the neck as the neck dries and shrinks. Dam­age is of par­tic­u­lar­ly a prob­lem on vin­tage and oth­er valu­able instru­ments since even with expert repair the instru­ment val­ue is reduced.

Read more about the impor­tance of prop­er instru­ment storage.

How We Build

We face the same chal­lenge that luthiers do when they build gui­tars. Luck­i­ly, we don’t have to make our cab­i­nets sound good. If you sim­ply get a nice old wood­en cab­i­net and put a humid­i­fi­er in it, you’ll quick­ly find that the cab­i­net expan­sion and con­trac­tion will start tear­ing the cab­i­net apart. Doors will expand from the 45% inter­nal humid­i­ty lev­el and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly con­tract from the low ambi­ent humid­i­ty in the room will warp at the corners.

We pay close atten­tion to the ori­en­ta­tion of our wood grain so the entire cab­i­net can expand and con­tract togeth­er. We have also devel­oped a patent­ed “Horneff” door design to avoid warp­ing caused by the humid­i­ty dif­fer­ence between the inside and out­side of the cabinet.

Many of the tech­niques we use are direct­ly avoid­ed by cab­i­net mak­ers that don’t have to deal with a humid­i­ty dif­fer­ence between the inside and out­side of the cabinet.

All the mate­ri­als in our prod­ucts have been test­ed by the C.F. Mar­tin & Com­pa­ny Qual­i­ty Con­trol Depart­ment and deter­mined to be safe for your gui­tar fin­ish. We are the only com­pa­ny that has been test­ed and approved.

Handcrafted and American Made

Unlike some of our com­peti­tors, we build our cab­i­nets in our shop with a staff of musi­cians and wood­work­ers watch­ing every step and inspect­ing every cab­i­net before it goes out. All our stan­dard woods are local­ly sourced. Our humid­i­fi­ca­tion comes from U.S. companies.

We’re a small com­pa­ny found­ed by three musi­cians that grew tired of fight­ing the humid­i­ty bat­tle each win­ter. Our employ­ees are all paid a “liv­ing wage” and take great pride in their work.

Our Technology

We offer active humid­i­fi­ca­tion and dehu­mid­i­fi­ca­tion in all our cab­i­nets. We are proud of our track record of qual­i­ty and reli­a­bil­i­ty, and care­ful­ly test tech­nol­o­gy before we deploy it. Our humid­i­fiers are evap­o­ra­tive and only require about five min­utes of main­te­nance a year.

Our dehu­mid­i­fi­er is an ion­ic mem­brane man­u­fac­tured orig­i­nal­ly for muse­um cab­i­nets and secu­ri­ty cam­era hous­ings. We adapt­ed it to our cab­i­nets and inte­grat­ed it with our con­trollers so that it is an option for cus­tomers that live in high humid­i­ty loca­tions in the sum­mer. We have thor­ough­ly test­ed our cab­i­nets with CO2 evac­u­a­tion tests to ensure that the humid­i­ty con­trol is well suit­ed to the cab­i­net sizes we offer.