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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001530.txt from 1999/01

From: Keith <>
Subj: [kl] klarinet Digest 30 Jan 1999 21:06:09 -0000 Issue 1005
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 07:24:44 -0500

Re: bores and cracking
I agree that it's the swelling of water that does the damage, and any mea=
of preventing its ingress must reduce the risk of cracking. The problem o=
course is that the inside swells and the outside stays drier and doesn't.=
have always thought that the point of oiling was the gradual absorption o=
oil into the wood cells, filling them and preventing water being absorbed=
Same reason as oiling, say, a teak dining table. Thus, I think the aging
process is just this oil absorption. Extremely old instruments in museums=

have continued to shrink as they dehydrate, and usually go elliptical as
the shrink differently along the radial and tranverse directions of the
grain in the wood. My friend Maurice Byrne of the Galpin Society in Engla=
has done quite a lot of work on this.

I only had one clarinet crack on me - my Selmer bass, whilst in the theat=
pit with a solo rapidly approaching and the lower chalumeau register wipe=
out. (The crack ran through three holes up at the top). Spittle applied t=
the crack five seconds before the solo did the trick. I had it pinned by
Brian Ackermann - he did an unbelievably good job which was probably quit=
routine for him, and I played steadily on the instrument for another ten

In the discussion about bore diameters, one thing puzzles me a lot - that=

is, the precision claimed of the measurements and their effects. Bores ar=
being quoted to 0.01 mm. This is a very good manufacturing tolerance even=

in a metal, and whilst it *could* be achieved in wood, I don't see much
chance of it staying the same as climate changes. I haven't noticed
significant change in tone in moving from wet England to dry Denver, and
while I haven't measured my clarinets, I'd bet they have changed by more
than 0.01 mm! Anyone done any statistical work on bore stability over tim=
and climate?

Finally - I am (very minimally) restoring a boxwood Goulding of around
1820. Any recommendations as to the best oil for boxwood?

Keith Bowen
Denver CO
(I'm a former professor of materials and precision engineering besides an=

amateur clarinettist and woodworker)

>First, oiling the bore is not done primarily to prevent cracking per se,=

to facilitate the removal of moisture from the bore before it soaks into
wood. Continually moistening then drying of wood causes many problems
besides cracking, warping being the more common. Wood needs to be aged an=
broken in slowly to withstand the rapid changes in moisture to prevent th=
physical pressures from deforming it....

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