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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001580.txt from 1999/01

Subj: [kl] Bore oil
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 07:25:34 -0500

Aromatic oils such as natural lemon, olive and almond oil, do smell nice, but
they've got two drawbacks, IMHO:

1) Oils stay nice and fresh if refrigerated. I don't refrigerate my

Do I only imagine that the distinctively fetid aroma of vintage instrument
cases, while comprised mainly of well-aged eau de dragon-breath and parfum des
dead bugs, often contains a delicate whiff of rancid oil?

2) Vegetable oil, whether fresh or putrid, attracts bugs.

Herewith the unhappy experience of a friend who oiled his clarinet with orange
oil (the natural kind from the food store) one night and then left the
clarinet in the closed case in his kitchen. I'll refrain from describing his
kitchen, in case some of you just finished eating. (I'm watching the Stupor
Bowl with the sound turned off, while listening to Karl Leister and the Vienna
String Quartet play the Brahms Clarinet Quintet. This is a strange
combination.) Next day when he opened up his clarinet case, he saw a fat
cockroach waggling its feelers at him. The roach looked a good deal larger
than the thin crack between lid and bottom of the case, but my friend wasn't
shocked, because he knew that roaches can crawl into any opening, no matter
how narrow, via hyperspace. He flicked the roach out and stepped on it. Then
he picked up the barrel and top section to put them together. Out fell
another cockroach. He gave the top section a shake. More cockroaches! I
knew someone else who tried coconut oil until he started having trouble with
ants in his case.

This is one reason (the other is price) why the furniture refinishing people
sell artificially scented petroleum distillates instead of real aromatic oil.
Certain spice and herb oils, such as clove, rosemary, cedar, lavender or
eucalyptus, might repell insects, according to folklore. I don't trust this
lore, since stuffing eucalyptus leaves under and behind the cushions of the
abominably uncomfortable but authentically vintage horsehair sofa of my
starving student flat in Berserkeley repelled the roommates, but not the
fleas. Anyway, the cost of these oils might be prohibitive in quantities large
enough to do a clarinet any good (or any harm), and the person sharing the
stand might give a few funny looks. Since my wooden clarinets are all old
(1937 Buffet Bb, 1958 Conn Bb, 1979 Selmer alto), I do oil them, but I use
plain old Selmer bore oil. No eye of newt, no wool of bat.

"The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your

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