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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001500.txt from 1999/01

From: Mark Gustavson <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Bore Oil
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 07:24:14 -0500

STOP THE MYTHS. NEVER use bore oil is the recommendation of Laubin Oboe, Guy
Chadash and Buffet (courtesy of Francois Kloc). These people have done serious
research on this topic and not following folk lore. The wood is already oiled
at the factory (unfortunately). The best approach to protecting fine wood is
to apply hard wax to the outside of the instrument and the bore. Oil is
absorbed by the wood, making it swell and possibly cracking, distorting the
bore and moving the wood around the posts. Hard wax seals the wood and
protects it from moisture and there is no absorption. It's already a sad thing
that Buffet oils the wood. But it's cheaper for them to do that than applying
hard wax to the instrument. Many of the better repair techs will wax bores.
It lasts for approximately 4 years.

If your home is dry, protect your instrument by using a humidifier and keep
oranges or small pieces of sponge that are soaked with distilled water in your

Mark Gustavson

"Steven J. Goldman M.D." wrote:

> Not a dumb question at all. Keeping woodwinds (any woodwind) well oiled is
> an important but often ignored part of instrument upkeep.
> Bore oil is an oil, either natural or man made which you use to protect the
> bore from absorbing too much moisture and ruining the wood. Which oil to use
> has been debated for centuries. The main schools are those that advocate
> oils which polymerize, leaving a thin skin after they dry (such as pure,
> unboiled linseed oil), and the non-polymerizing oils such as almond or
> canola which simply evaporate after a time and need more frequent
> applications. Selmer bore oil is a man made product more like the latter
> oils. The more porice the wood, the more damage that can be done to the
> instrument if it is not oiled regularly. Black woods, being the most dense,
> are better able to withstand moisture than say rosewood. Use a SMALL amount
> of oil, and thoroughly coat the bore. Leave the coating on for several hours
> to overnight, than swab out the excess. NEVER let the oil come into contact
> with the pads, which to be safe means removing the keys (a real pain), but
> if your really careful and don't use too much oil you may be able to keep
> the pads on after you know what your doing.
> Regular oiling will help preserve your instruments for years to come,
> especially areas prone to cracking such as the barrel. New instruments
> should be oiled every few weeks for a few months, then every month or so (if
> you use the non-polymerizing type). Older, well acclimatized instruments
> need much less oiling. To be honest, most woodwind players I know don't do
> it as much as this, but probably should.
> Steve Goldman
> Glenview, IL
> -----Original Message-----
> From:]
> Sent: Friday, January 29, 1999 2012
> To:
> Subject: [kl] Bore Oil
> Hi all,
> I feel like such an idiot asking this because i think every clarinet playing
> person already knows this except for me. What is bore oil? What does it do?
> Where and when do i apply it?? I have no idea what it is!! I feel so stupid
> so
> ppl, don't rub it in!
> Doug

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