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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000284.txt from 2005/05

From: "Lelia Loban" <lelialoban@-----.net>
Subj: [kl] Gungy green stuff on keys
Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 07:54:19 -0400

Daniel Fairhead asked about green-rot (the popular but overly-alarming
nickname for this common corrosion) on plated keys. Brad Mulholland wrote,
>I 'm a saxophonist as well a clarinetist and I have
>noticed similar damage on most older saxophones.
>On saxes It seems to fill in the engravings and
is present in the bell of most instruments. Does
>anyone know if that is the same type of damage?
>Since it seems very common, at least on saxophones,
>I have wondered if removing it (scraping or picking at
>it, etc. ) might do more harm than good. It seems most
>sax players just leave it alone.

Abrasives can definitely do more harm than good, and I'd be leery of using
a buffing wheel, even with the cloth wheel, especially on a lacquered sax.
Buffing removes more of the lacquer, exposing more bare metal that's then
vulnerable to corrosion. On clarinet keys, abrasives and buffing wheels
can quickly skin the thin plating right down to nothing, exposing bare
brass or, on inexpensive clarinets, smelter (aka pot metal or white metal)
that might be almost anything. Whatever takes off the lacquer or the
plating makes matters worse. An old sax that's originally bare brass or
that's lost lacquer or plating can develop "red rot," a more serious
corrosion that can eat through the brass eventually.

Green corrosion can be prevented by wiping down the keys with a soft cloth
occasionally. If there's already some green but it's not too severe, it
can be removed with a soft cloth and a little bit of SemiChrome polish, a
creamy paste that comes in a small tube from the hardware store. Wipe away
all of the polish residue with a damp cloth afterwards and then dry with a
clean, soft cloth. My polishing rags come from old cotton flannel shirts
that have been washed so much that they no longer give off any lint.

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