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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000326.txt from 1996/04

From: Steve Fowler <sfowler@-----.COM>
Subj: Re: hairline cracks: anyone had experience?
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 1996 17:23:39 -0400

Hi... I am in high school, and I have a Buffet S1. I have a
> small crack that goes from the top of the middle section almost
> straight down right to the middle register A hole. It does not go
> through the clarinet, and I haven't noticed any problems with the A
> leaking. My teacher and the repair man both said just to watch it
> and to take good care of it (keep inside dry, humidify outide). I
> am usually very careful with it, but when I do leave it out
> overnight or something, I do notice that the crack expands. When I
> take care of it properly, it closes completely. Unless you know its
> there, you can't see it. No one has ever told be about oiling it,
> so if you could give me some information about that, I would be very
> thankful.
> Thanks,
> Scott

Dear Scott,

The first thing that you should understand is that while you can
probably put off the crack opening up, you have to realize that there
is a weakness there and more likely than not, you're not going to be
able to prevent its' cracking at some point.

Oiling the wood is one way in which you might be able to stabilize the
fibers in the wood. The wood is somewhat "alive" in that it absorbs
moisture and releases moisture regularly. Our goal is to try to
prevent the changes in absorbtion and evaporation from being so
severe, both in terms of how quickly the changes take place and the
amount of change involved, as to damage the structure of the
instrument. A good vegetable-based bore oil has been found to slow
down the process of shrinking and expanding due to moisture changes.

A repair tech by the name of Larry Naylor has done extensive
research in this area and suggests the following bore oil formula as
having a positive effect on the sound as well as the wood:

3 parts olive oil
1 part pharmacutical grade almond oil
At least 1/10 of 1% Vitamin E extract (for stability)

How frequently you oil the bore depends on where you are located, the
amount of playing, age of the wood, etc.

Oiling the outside of the instrument is important also. The best way
that I have found is to put a drop of oil on your finger and just rub
it into the wood. You can use a Q-Tip to work in close to the posts.
Let the oil soak in a while, and then wipe off the excess. I oil the
outside more regularly than the bore, probably because I see the wood
drying out easier. Again, it depends upon the humidity, temperature,

Good luck, and let me know if I may be of any more help.


Steve Fowler (

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