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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000287.txt from 2004/12

From: "Lelia Loban" <>
Subj: [kl] Funny smells
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 08:17:03 -0500

Matthew Lloyd asked about how to get rid of a musty smell in a used
clarinet's case. I agree with Sue Raycraft about using Lysol, followed by
plenty of fresh air, to get rid of the mold and mildew that cause the
smell. Sunlight, btw, is one of the most effective killers of mold and
mildew, so one thing I do is put the open, empty case on the picnic table
and turn it to follow the sun for half a day or so. If the case is just a
little musty, that routine usually works for me.

Don H. wrote,
>The only thing I've ever used that actually worked except
>in the occasional worst-case scenario (sorry for that pun)
>is a product called 'Odo-Ban'. I don't know if it's available
>overseas, Matthew, but it comes in a concentrate and can
>be diluted as you prefer. It kills mold, mildew, and bacteria.
>It has a very fresh and pleasant odor.

I'll have to look for that product! Never tried it. Thanks! After the
Lysol and sun treatment, if the case still smells, I've used a grocery
store spray-on fabric deoderizer called Febreze that works pretty well,
although I dislike the smell it leaves behind. Leaving a fabric softener
sheet (intended for the clothes dryer) in the dry case for a few days can
help, too--Bounce and some grocery store house brands are available
unscented. Peter Ferrante, who restored my bass sax, taught me that trick.
That case is big enough for a dead body, and it smelled like one, after
years in a damp Virginia garage.

Karl Krelove wrote,
>>Someone may have a way to deodorize the case, but I'd
>>suggest just replacing it. If there's mildew on the pads
>>themselves, the only real cure will be to repad the clarinet,
>>but airing it out for a couple of days and then putting
>>it in a new case might do the job well enough.

Or you could tear out the fabric and padding, and re-line the case. It's
not as difficult a job as it might seem, and it's a good solution for
vintage instruments that don't fit into modern cases. For instance,
saxophones from the 1920s often have keys on both sides of the bell, with
big wire guard cages over the keys. They require deeper cases than modern
saxophones. Old clarinets often are proportioned differently from modern
ones, too. Lots of luck finding a modern case that will suit an Albert
system clarinet from the 1920s. Also, many old cases have no doodad
compartment, even though there's room for one.

Since I've bought several instruments that came without cases or with
inadequate cases, or cases too ruined to restore (rotted wood, bad termite
damage, etc.), I buy empty cases at flea markets when possible, and save
them to re-fit them as needed. The going rate for an empty soprano
clarinet case around here is US$2 to $5. I get heavy bookbinder's
cardboard out of my husband's trash basket (as proprietor of Aldus Book
Repair and Restoration, he generates a lot of scrap, but heavy cardboard in
managable sizes is also available at art supply stores), buy 1"x1" wood
from the hardware store to support the case innards, buy padding and
washable cotton velours at the fabric shop, and use Sobo glue, brads and
screws to put things together. Starting with an old clarinet case or
something like a briefcase, it takes me about five hours to remove old
linings and construct a new case lining.

Re. inadequate cases, if I've got what seems to be the original case for an
old instrument, but it doesn't protect the instrument adequately, I replace
the case but clean up and keep the old one, too, with a note inside both
the new and the old case to remind me of what case originally belonged to
what instrument. That way, if I sell a vintage or antique instrument, I
can give the new owner the original case. Some collectors care about that
and some don't. Some of the old cases are interesting and attractive, even
if I don't want to use them.

Lelia Loban
Fire Don Rumsfeld.

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