Klarinet Archive - Posting 000051.txt from 1994/09
From: Timothy Tikker <tjt@-----.ORG>
Subj: Re: Bore Oil (fwd)
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 1994 12:33:15 -0400
This posting appeared on the Bagpipe Network which my wife subscribes
to. Since we've just discussed this topic on our own network, I thought
you'd like to see what other woodwind players have to say about it!
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: 7 Sep 1994 17:47:58 U
From: John Wash <jw@-----.org>
To: Gary Mino <mino@-----.com>
Cc: Wayne Cripps <bagpipes@-----.edu>
Subject: Re: Bore Oil
Reply to: RE>Bore Oil
>Is there any definitive answer regarding the use of bore oil?
>I have a seven-month-old set of Sinclairs, and have been quite diligent
>(and careful) about their proper maintenance.
Well, I don't know what everyone else thinks, but I think bore oil is icky.
Use top-grade almond oil. It's what I've been using since I've been
maintaining pipes, and I've had several authorities tell me recently that
bore oil is "icky" because it contains some products that make it all goopy
after a while. Almond oil is good stuff, and it seasons wood without
accumulating the "ick."
>How is it properly applied?
With my highland pipes I have a poofy brush with a wire handle (it's probably
called a "woodwind bore brush" or somesuch, but I think I discovered it in
some dark recess of my wife's sewing room so I don't know its origins) that I
dip ever so slightly into the almond oil and then pull it through the
drones/chanter. I follow that with a smaller poofy brush that's dry to pick
up any excess. Then I let the piece sit for half and hour or so and repeat.
For my small pipes I do basically the same thing, except the poofy brush is
replaced with a bamboo meat skewer with a wrap of hemp around one end. The
skewer is narrower than the bore, and the hemp is wrapped until it makes a
snug fit inside the bore. Then I dip the hemped end into almond oil, make
sure there's not too much, and pull it through the drones. For the chanter I
don't dip; I put one drop of oil in the low A hole, one in the high A hole
and one in the E hole and then pull a dry hemped skewer through it a couple
Every time I "pull through" I spin the piece I'm oiling to make sure it gets
>How frequently is it applied?
Dunno, but I oil my small pipes about once every two months and my highland
pipes three or four times a year. I don't know whether that's good or bad,
but it's my schedule.
I also take care to make sure that I don't use too much oil; I have a feeling
that doing so could lead to future problems as well as just plain screwing up
the tone of the instrument.
I know for a fact that two pipemakers I've spoken with NEVER oil their pipes
and don't advise others to do it, either. Then again, I can think of at
least two other pipemakers who DO oil their pipes and suggest that their
clients do it, too. I have a feeling that the "to oil or not to oil" thing
is one of those religious issues like the proper way to play a D throw or
whether "Popeye the Sailor Man" is appropriate music for the Great Highland
"Warning: No Pipe Major on Duty. Swim at Your Own Risk."