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 Restoring old calrinet
Author: clarinet@55 
Date:   2006-08-09 17:16

I am restoring a Robert Marlerne,wooden, B falt clarinet that hasn't been played for an extremely long time, several years. Any tips on what to recondition the inside & outside with before atempting to play it?

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: clarinet@55 
Date:   2006-08-09 17:51

This post is in addition to the previous one on restoring. I also have an additional question. The silver material the keys are made of oxidizes easily. They've been this way since it was new. I was told they are made of German silver and that is it's charachteristic. I presently clean them with a silver cleaner & polish , but they oxidize quickly. Is ther anything I can coat them with to retard or stop this effect?

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2006-08-09 18:18

Tips on restoring your Malerne:

1) Get a bottle brush and scrub the bore of all the pieces with it.

2) Get some of Doc Omar's "Doctor's Products" bore oil and lightly go over the inside and outside of all the wood pieces with it.

3) Polish the nickel-silver ("German silver") keys with Brasso and a soft cotton towel, rag, or old T-shirt. Afterwards, do NOT coat the keys with anything. Just wipe them with a clean cotton cloth after every playing, and periodically (maybe once or twice a year) do the Brasso thing again.

This is a simple but effective plan -- maybe not the best plan, but it's worked for me for many years with similar vintage clarinets.

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: EuGeneSee 
Date:   2006-08-09 18:55

David:

When you scrub the bore with a bottle brush, what (if any) cleaning solution do you use with it . . . certainly you don't mean to use soapy water, do you??

EuGene

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-09 18:56

Re tarnishing: apply cork grease after playing. I noticed that the residue on the pinky (that's the one I use to rub the grease in) causes the nickel to tarnish - it'll eventually wear off again, but best play with ungreased fingers.

--
Ben

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2006-08-09 19:08

David Spiegelthal wrote:

> 3) Polish the nickel-silver ("German silver") keys with Brasso

Which, of course, contain no silver but are named as such just to confuse the innocent ...

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-09 23:06

Just make sure when you do use metal polish of any kind (Duraglit, Brasso, etc), degrease the keys thoroughly afterwards or clean out the key barrels well with a pipe cleaner (running it through several times to be sure) so there's no polish left inside which can either cause wear, slow the key action down, or at worst, bind up solid.

Chris.

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 Re: Restoring old clarinet
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2006-08-10 08:09

Hmm.

The keys may well be nickel silver - I prefer to call it cupro-nickel - but I don't think we have really ascertained that they are not silver plated.

Polishes formulated specifically fro silver don't polish cupronickel well at all, and a silver polish has been found to be successful. Therefore I suspect that the cupronickel is actually silver plated. If so, then I suggest that Brasso, designed for brass and also successful for cupronickel, is really too abrasive to use regularly on silver.

If silver is tarnishing quite readily, then I would take a look at what is in its environment that is doing this. Probably sulphur in some forum. Perhaps lots of garlic, onions or egg in the diet of the player, coming out in the perspiration as sulphur compounds. Perhaps sulphur from the atmosphere - products of combustion (vehicle exhaust, factory pollution, or smoking) geothermal activity, cooking onions, a lot of wool, rubber, an old hard rubber mouthpiece, flatus, etc. 3M Company's Anti-tarnish Strips may help, but are only preventive, and only active while the instrument is inside the case. Other possible causes of silver tarnish are salt air and chlorine fumes.

More information at http://www.silversmithing.com/care.htm


BTW, Ben, if a cork grease causes tarnish, then I suggest it is time to upgrade your standard of cork grease, to Alisyn, or either product from Doctors Products.

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-10 11:26

Some leather cases can cause tarnish, depending on the process and chemicals used in the treatment of the leather, as well as certain adhesives and case linings, so the instrument can tarnish in the case. I've seen Leblanc Concertos that have gone black when left in their case for a while.

Chris.

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 Re: Restoring old clarinet
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-10 12:04

Gordon wrote:

> BTW, Ben, if a cork grease causes tarnish, then I suggest
> it is time to upgrade your standard of cork grease, to Alisyn,
> or either product from Doctors Products.

Well, "tarnish" is not quite the right word - it is a a darkish shadow that wears of after one or two sessions again. Maybe it's grease plus sweat plus my diet that somehow oxydises on nickel (quite a complex chemical cocktail, I guess).
I am quite certain that there'd be a lot of complaints if indeed the grease caused the tarnishing.

--
Ben

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 Re: Restoring old clarinet
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2006-08-10 12:22

Some greases do indeed do strange corroding things to either nickel or copper, as can be seen on some cupronickel tenon rings, and also socket rings and A/D key's lower post where the grease has overflowed, but this corrosion is typically green.

Your cocktail must be very special! :-)

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: EuGeneSee 
Date:   2006-08-10 12:41

Hey, guys and gals, sorry if I seemed dumb when I asked what cleaning solution David used with the bottle brush to clean wooden clarinet bore, but I truly don't have a clue. My wooden clarinet is an old Artley 8S, so we are talking about maybe a $25 or $30 loss if I ruin it, but still I don't want to do the wrong thing . . . I sorta like the old toy.

I'm trying to relearn clarinet from scratch after about a 45 year hiatus and don't remember any more about proper care of the instrument than I do about playing it. With your help I can avoid mistakes now, then later on when I learn to play this thing, I will get a real clarinet and will know the best way to care for it.

So, I am more or less in the same inquiring position as clarinet@55 with regard to cleaning of an older wooden instrument -- or an instrument of any age for that matter.

EuGene Smith

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2006-08-10 12:48

Gordon, I've restored literally dozens of Robert Malerne clarinets and every one has had solid nickel-silver (a.k.a. German silver, cupro-nickel, whatever) keywork -- I've never seen one that was silver-plated. Not to say such a clarinet doesn't exist, just that it's highly probable that the keywork of the clarinet in question is solid nickel-silver and can be safely and effectively polished with Brasso.

As for the bottle brush cleaning of the bore, I would use it dry, or maybe with just a few drops of bore oil on it, but nothing else.

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2006-08-10 13:10

A good, informative discussion, fellas, I agree. Yes, re: bore cleaning, I dry brush a couple of times, if it doesn't shine well enough, Yes, a few drops of bore oil on the brush will clean/polish quite well. TKS, Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: EuGeneSee 
Date:   2006-08-10 13:15

Thanks David & Don. I was really out of touch and truly lost on just what to do with a bottle brush . . . now I'll just sit back and learn from the pros.

Eu

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 Re: Restoring old clarinets
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2006-08-10 14:01

Had another thot re: key metal [alloys], from Gordon' ref. to cupronickel, {VG]. It could also be referred to as CuNiZn [some alloys have a 4th/5th element added [?impurity?]], and could be pronounced as cuenizin. Just my AM "ponderings" [heresy?]. Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-10 16:13

...And some older cupro nickel alloys had a tiny percentage of lead in them as well, so CuNiZnPb - but what with current legislations, lead has since been dropped.

Chris.

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: Marcie 
Date:   2006-08-11 22:33

This may be somewhat off topic, but it looks like a well experienced group of technicians here to sound out my problem to. I have an older Buffet (serial 80115) that I had completely overhauled about 8 mo. ago, as it had several leaks. I've been playing regularly since and recognize that pretty regular squeaking between upper register G and A and there are still leaks (e flat key-on lower joint) and I suspect still problems with the g# key coverage. The G# hole is cut in the tendon in the middle joint. I think it's not too common and maybe my local tech has difficulty dealing with. I'd like to make the horn work for me instead of purchasing something else, is there someone who can evaluate the problems with the horn and correct or advise to get something else.

Thanks for your reply. I appreciate this forum and the talents folks who contribute.



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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-11 23:02

"The G# hole is cut in the tenon in the middle joint."

Does the G# tonehole go right through both the lower joint socket and upper joint tenon (articulated G#)?

Maybe there's a split running through the tonehole - this is likely to happen with articulated G# toneholes as the wood moves, but the metal socket liner doesn't causing the wood to crack at the weakest point - right through the G# tonehole on the bottom joint. Look closely to see if there's a split running from the socket ring into the G# tonehole.

Or the G# touch spring might be a bit on the weak side, so the G# cup doesn't close properly, the G# pad cup barrel could be worn causing the pad not to seat, the pad could be split or not seating well, the screw adjustment from the lower rings to the G# cup could be out of adjustment as well, so either the G# pad or the ring key pad doesn't close properly.

Chris.

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 Re: Restoring old clarinet
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2006-08-12 04:36

"The G# hole is cut in the tenon in the middle joint."

It sounds as if this clarinet has an articulated G#.
There are several reasons why this can be a particularly challenging part of a clarinet to get adjusted correctly. These include:

- Very little space for a key cup, so the pad is typically rather small in diameter for optimum conditions of sealing and reliability. A 'squishy' type of pad is totally unsuitable. Usually a thin, firm pad is necessary for reliability. Many technicians may not carry such pads.
- One spring opens the key, and another spring overcomes this spring in order to close the key. This means there has to be excellent balance between these springs in order to get a good 'feel' and also apply a reliable closing pressure to the pad.
- Because the closing pressure for the pad tends to be on the low side (on account of this spring interplay), the pad alignment with the tone hole must be impeccable.
- The linkage between the G# lever (the part that you press) and the G# key (which holds the pad) is a pretty precarious piece of engineering. The geometry between these needs to be accurate to within about 0.1 mm. IF it is not right, then friction here destroys most of the closing pressure that the spring is able to apply. Adding to the precariousness, the key itself is often weak and easily bends from this ideal geometric set-up.

In short, it takes a much better-than-average technician to set this mechanism up so that it functions well and reliably. It really is beyond the scope of almost every DIY person, and many technicians. I suggest that if your current technician cannot get this right, you will need to see a better one.

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2006-08-12 12:46

Well said, Gordon, If I must replace the pad, I do so as you advise, and DON'T tinker with springs and adjustments, OR I take it to my pro friends in Tulsa for their expertise. A good cl f[r]iend asked me to check out an old Buffet 18/7, which had a more complex configuration, so I returned it to him and he asked Tom Ridenour who was successful. An "experience". Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: clarinet@55 
Date:   2006-08-12 13:45

Thanks to all for your answers. I used a dry polish,Never Dull and then wiped the keys clean. It seems to work quite well. Where can I get a pad kit for my Malerne at a"reasonable" cost?

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 Re: Restoring old calrinet
Author: Marcie 
Date:   2006-08-12 16:32

Thanks to Chris and Gordon with a reply to difficulty with Articulated G# adjustment. I think I'll surf sites for a tech to address this for me.

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