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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000272.txt from 2001/04

From: "Gordon Palmer" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Cork Pads, etc.
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 21:48:41 -0400

Perhaps the failed soggy cork was just poor cork. They were not pads I had
installed. There are holes scattered through cork in one diretion and they
do go right through. Their existence cannot be ignored for those oboe pads
with vent holes through the centre.
I have nothing against cork. I was just outlining that they are not the
complete answer in all situations, especially with grainy timber, slapping
noises, and UMS quality manufcture. I was not so much writing about bent
keys - on many new instruments I bend keys to better alignment - but keys
where the key cup arms are too long or short. this is especially common
with the large keys. Perhaps that is why cork is less favoured for the low
I agree that it is something of a mystery that cork pads can still seal when
a pivot is sloppy enough for the pad to wander over the tone hole. Perhaps
this motion abraids or laps the tone hole edge and fills in grain holes with
the dust. As you say, who knows?
I do use cork pads and (Norbek pads) when they are requested, but they
don't seem the appropriate for a first choice when price for time and
materials is a major factor.

----- Original Message -----
From: "joe redr" <>
Subject: Re: [kl] Cork Pads, etc.

> --- Gordon Palmer <> wrote:
> > In reply to kjf:
> 5. I have known cork to unexpectedly absorb water
> > and swell up every bit as
> > badly as a punctured bladder pad.
> I have never heard of this before! Cork by nature
> does not absorb water to my knowledge. Also as others
> have stated, some cork pads have lasted up to (or
> more)twenty years on clarinets without leaking or
> "absorbing" water. After that amount of time, the
> keywork and tone holes can get excessively worn out.
> Then why are those hard to seat, easily misaligned
> cork pads still functioning? Who knows! :) If any
> clarinet has its keywork bent out of adjustment, no
> pad - whether it be skin or cork - will seat properly.
> The idea is to not bend the keys, but accidents can
> and will happen. I find cork pads easy to install,
> and I'm by no means a professional repairman. I've
> repadded the entire upper joint of my R-13 with cork
> and it seals like a drum. Three years later, no leaks
> or waterlogged cork. It does take more skill than
> seating a skin pad though. The hard part is not
> burning the cork with the flame used to heat the cup.
> I hate the looks of burnt cork!
> I also hand make my own skin pads for the four large
> tone holes on the lower joint. I triple skin 'em. I
> get my skin from Ferees. I find that the thicker skin
> is more durable than the thin, but is louder when the
> pad closes. I don't use cardboard either for the back
> of the pad. I make plastic washers and glue the
> pressed felt to the washer before I cover it with
> skin. This type of pad is super stable and does not
> shift like tradidional skin pads. Since the back is
> plastic and absolutely flat, the pad stays flat and
> seated where you put it. Again, after three years,
> not a single leak and not one adjustment has been made
> to the pesky long E/B seating. Skin seems to work the
> best, both in sound and seating on the large holes.
> I've tried Valentino and didn't care for them (Eb cup
> ok though) because they were too spongy and sloppy
> looking/feeling. I experimented with many materials
> and always ended up back with felt and skin. Leather
> is too porous and doesn't seal well enough for my
> taste. I didn't care for the feel and sound of the
> leather either. Who knows, maybe I am a professional
> quality repair guy! :) I haven't seen Brannen's or
> the Straubinger pad yet. Are they similar to the
> description above?
> Sincerely,
> Joe
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