Klarinet Archive - Posting 000381.txt from 1996/04
From: "Gregory T. Wright" <103147.1471@-----.COM>
Subj: Re: Oiling the outisde of the clarinet
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 1996 02:35:09 -0400
Nate, & Klarinet crew,
First, a disclaimer -> I'm a sax player. I saw your question about
oiling the outside vs. oiling the bore. Here's my "outsider's" understanding.
Wood fibers soak up water when there's water around; when things are dry
the fibers give water off as vapor to the surrounding air. The problem with
this is simple: WET fibers are bigger than DRY fibers. Going back & forth
between "wet, big, all shoved together" , and "dry, small, pulled from all
directions" causes cracks. How to solve?
OIL DOESN'T EVAPORATE. OIL & H2O DON'T MIX.
If wood fibers are already saturated (well, not quite SOAKED, but you ge
my idea) with oil, there's no place for water to go but to drip out the bell.
Wood so treated doesn't shift back & forth between "soaked" and "parched"; it
stays nearly the same size & density from day to day, month to month, ... ...
... SO, weaknesses in the wood either A) don't form, or B) aren't made
The wood stays intact. (With luck, always ;- )
What wood is exposed to the most moisture? THE BORE. Every time you
play, the cool bore "sweats" the warm moisture in your breath, the same way a
cold can of Coke (Registered Trademark) sweats on humid days in the summer.
If you play every day (yeah, right), that means your instrument gets to soak up
water & have it evaporate away _every day_. Use oil to take the place of that
water, and things will be more stable.
An aside - This same principle is what I'm told causes hangovers.
Alcohol replaces some of the water normally in your cells. When the alcohol
quickly leaves your system, that leaves some cells too dry. Oww!
In any case, good luck. I'm just glad that brass doesn't do this. My
saxes will crack only upon abuse. (Now, if only the blasted PADS would seal!!!
Gregory T. Wright