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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000152.txt from 1998/03

From: "Edwin V. Lacy" <>
Subj: Re: Corkgrease
Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 12:21:26 -0500

(I sent this last night, but it seems that it never appeared on the list,
so I'll try again.)

On Mon, 2 Mar 1998, Jack Kissinger wrote:

> Speaking of cork grease, I never have any trouble greasing my clarinet
> except for the corks under the two keys that I play with my left-hand
> index finger. They always give me a devil of a time. How do the rest
> of you keep grease on these corks? Is there a special tool I need to
> get?

No special tool, but there is a special process for accomplishing the
thorough greasing of these corks. I have been told that all the great
repair technicians utilize this method.

1. Remove the A and Ab keys from the clarinet.

2. Cut the corks off of the underside of the keys, so that you won't get
excess cork grease on the keys.

3. Take about 15 tubes of cork grease, dig out all the grease and discard
the tubes. Put the cork grease in a microwave oven and melt it.

4. Using a 4" paint brush, thoroughly impregnate the corks in question
with liquified cork grease.

5. Reattach the corks to the keys. The fact that they are now saturated
with grease may make it difficult to glue them back on, even using the
standard home handyman's favorite product, Super Glue. If this happens,
just wrap some scotch tape around the key and the cork. The scotch tape
is nearly transparent, so people probably will hardly be able to see it
unless they get really close to you.

6. Put the keys back on the clarinet, if you can remember where they go.
At this point, if you have any parts left over, be sure to discard them
immediately, so that they won't clutter up your workshop.

7. In the event something has gone wrong and the holes for A and Ab are
not being covered, I have found that you can put carrot sticks in a
pencil sharpener, and achieve a round, tapered shape which will serve very
well to stop up those holes. Then, when you want to play an A or Ab, just
quickly reach up and pull out the appropriate carrot stick. After all,
when these notes are needed, you won't be using the left hand fingers on
any other holes or keys, so this motion can easily be mastered. The
carrot sticks also can come in handy in case you get hungry during a long,
boring rehearsal. (Another helpful hint: by using one carrot and one
rutabaga, you can color-code the stoppers - for example, orange for Ab and
yellow for A.)

8. Now, if you have eaten part of the carrot sticks, they may be too
short to allow you to grasp and remove them for A's and Ab's. Still, all
is not lost. As I have recommended previously, if you encounter one of
those notes and cannot remove the proper stopper in time, just stop
playing, look at your reed, and frown. This has been working for woodwind
players for centuries!

Hope this helps!

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

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