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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000384.txt from 1997/09

From: "Edwin V. Lacy" <>
Subj: Re: Clarinet Specifications....
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 1997 15:51:28 -0400

On Mon, 8 Sep 1997 wrote:

> I have been doing a lot of bore measurements and it is painfully obvious that
> there are very relaxed manufacturing tolerances, if any. Clarinet bores for
> the same manufacturer vary by as much as 0.003" at the same point in the bore
> for the same model.
> You can pick up two different examples of the same clarinet and weigh them
> and see them vary by over 3 Oz. !
> There is entirely too much variability in the manufacture of these
> instruments. This is something I don't quite understand as it shouldn't be
> that hard to hold a .001" dimension with todays machine tools.

If the two clarinets being compared are wooden, then I wouldn't be
surprised to learn that there could be a considerable difference in
weight, as different pieces of wood can be of different density. If the
instruments are plastic or a composite, there should be more consistency
of weight.

It is indeed possible to achieve very close tolerances with good machine
tools. However, an organic material such as wood will always change after
the tool has been removed. There is a "rebound" effect. When a drill is
introduced into a billet to drill a bore, some of the wood fibers are
compressed. Then, after the tool is withdrawn, those fibers will try to
resume their original shape. Further, the dimensions of the bore are
likely to be affected by climatic conditions, meaning heat and humidity.
The effect is much less in grenadilla and similar heavy woods than it is
in a soft one, such as the maple of bassoons, but it is always present.

Ed Lacy
Dr. Edwin Lacy University of Evansville
Professor of Music 1800 Lincoln Avenue
Evansville, IN 47722 (812)479-2754

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