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 Bore Oiling Interval
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-03-02 21:59

Is there a length of time the bore should be oiled whether it needs it or not? Like a routine oiling interval.

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2017-03-02 22:56

Not really. Wood should be oiled when it needs it.
Oiling frequency varies with the age and frequency/amount of use of the instrument.
It is also dependant on the condition of the wood and even the grain and absorbancy of every piece of wood varies.
In general clarinets should be oiled frequently (little and often) during the first months and years of their life.
This can then be gradually tapered down over the later years, with observation of the wood condition being a key factor in later frequency.

If you search this board you will find a wide variety of opinions on the need for, and frequency of bore oiling. Some unfortunately from people who do not really understand the subject.

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-03-03 00:04

Buffet's standard recommendation was (I don't know if they've changed their minds in recent years) that oiling was not recommended. Hans Moennig did not recommend oiling unless there was a particular reason - like an old instrument badly desiccated from long disuse and poor storage.

So the informed range of opinion starts with no oil on a routine basis "whether it needs it or not." And then the opinions go from there. I don't think it depends so much on people's understanding of the subject but more on people's individual experiences, since you can't do a controlled experiment to test the same piece of wood with and without oiling over time.

But read the responses that will come - this tends to be a flash-point for very opinionated discussion going back through the BB's history. In the end, you're going to have to read everything and make your choice.

FWIW, I've never oiled my clarinets and the only two I've ever had crack were both too new when the cracks occurred to have been candidates even for a first oiling.

Karl

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: TomS 
Date:   2017-03-03 00:35

IMHO, as an average, most players I know do a good oiling after initial break-in period ... light oiling every 6 months. More often on wooden barrels.

When horn is overhauled and all keys removed, you can oil everything, including tone-holes ... Works for me ... I prefer synthetics for less fuss and muss, but wood has it's own interesting character that I'd not want to see disappear from clarinet building.

As stated by the other contributors, opinions vary all over the place. Whatever "butters your bread" ...

Tom

Post Edited (2017-03-03 00:39)

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-03-03 00:54

Makes sense, kdk. My Buffet is 2.5 years old and never been oiled and from what I read it seems to be more what one THINKS needs to be or can be done rather than an actual requirement to avoid harm. My conclusion is that maybe I will not oil without a good reason. I am about ready to work on corking the tenon now, after watching some videos and practicing with the old cork and some strips of posterboard on piece of electrical conduit..

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2017-03-03 01:04

Never.........

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2017-03-03 02:48

Adding to what Karl said, Peter Eaton recommends not oiling clarinets.

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: modernicus 
Date:   2017-03-03 05:06

I collect old clarinets for fun and many I have are 100+ years old. I think you might be able to guess what I think about the idea of not oiling.

Edit: Well, that's part of the equation....my own theory based on observation stems from several factors. I have a pro wood clarinet I got new and never oiled. I played it for years and it always looked fine, so I didn't think it needed it. Then I let it sit for many years before I started playing again. When I cracked open the case I was surprised to see the upper bore looked like crap, all rough and the top joint tenon looked all dry and reddish. It didn't look like that when I had played it last! I can only guess that while I played it continuously, some of the wood's oils were sort of washed away and replaced with moisture from condensation and saliva. It still looked fine in that state, but really I think it wasn't really great for it once it evaporated. Only then could I see what damage was being done. Oiling and playing helped, but it doesn't look new again. After a time, I have now acquired a number of old clarinets in various states of neglect. One of them looks atrocious in all the usual areas, with some checking of the wood and an almost whitish appearance. It simply will not re-absorb any oil to a reasonable degree. I can only guess that during decades of playing, something like the minerals that get built up on mouthpieces got deposited in the wood via moisture and the wood's original or oils used during manufacturing got washed away. This buildup is seems to be stuck in the wood's structure and won't let the wood absorb any oil. I have other clarinets that didn't look like they were played much and then were stored away for decades under sometimes terrible conditions. Sure, maybe they were a little dried out, but some cleaning and oil in the bore and I have been surprised how quickly everything was looking good- bore smooth, dark and glossy looking(simply sitting unused didn't do much lasting damage)! What might the previously mentioned clarinet's condition be if they had been oiling it? Much like I didn't, I bet they weren't, except the time span was obviously longer.



Post Edited (2017-03-03 20:31)

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2017-03-03 05:30

I think one point missed so far is that oiling is not, or not only, about crack prevention.
I have serviced at least a thousand clarinets in the last 25 years and owned and played my own for 60+
Many of the instruments coming to me showed quite significant bore distortion, primarily at the top of the upper joint, and almost invariably accompanied by dry, parched wood.

Oiling the top of the instrument, where the hot moist breath first impinges, is in my experience a very sure way to minimise this.
None of my personal instruments show such distortion despite all being between 30 and 50+ years old.
My 1960 Leblanc LLs still measure to within better than 0.05 mm of new at the top.

Of course, as many above state, you make your own choices.



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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-03-03 20:53

What's y'all opinion on this:
I put a couple of squirts of bore oil on my swab. My intention is to keep the inside of my horn "slickery" and help run condensation out of my horn. It helps immensely to keep the C#/G# and Bb/Eb from getting filled up with water.
So I do it, not worried about the condition of my Grenadilla (which is in fine shape), but avoid frustration during extended playing and having to swab every five minutes.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75, Horns: Uebel Superior, Ridenour Lyrique

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-03-03 20:54

I guess maybe my question should have been "how often should a clarinet bore have oil applied if nothing whatsoever is detect-ably wrong".
And I have some Sesame oil and Sweet Almond Oil I have never used but which I read about somewhere and were recommended. I was just never sure if to, when to, and what the signs would be. So I thought I would try to find out more.

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: modernicus 
Date:   2017-03-03 21:47

To condense my rambling above, my theory is that damage may be occurring that isn't immediately visible, but readily apparent later, by playing without oiling. Something had to have happened to my clarinet and these old clarinets and obviously to me, just sitting unused wasn't the reason, it just made any prior damage more apparent. Unless oiling a little bit is shown to be damaging somehow, why not oil a least a bit on a schedule?



Post Edited (2017-03-03 21:58)

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2017-03-03 22:00

Modernicus, not arguing with the logic; it just reminds me of one of the theological arguments for believing in God: if you do and turn out to be wrong, well, you're not really out anything, are you?

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Ursa 
Date:   2017-03-04 00:53

ClarinetRobt: I also use oiling to combat moisture accumulation. When moisture starts to collect on the bore walls instead of draining right out the bell, it's time to oil again. Not unlike automotive finishes, really--when the rain stops beading as it should, it's time to wax the car.

Some will surely think me daft for even mentioning this, but I've very lightly bore-oiled a plastic Bundy 1400 that tended to get all spitty, then ran a dry swab through several times until the bore was as glossy as I could get it--problem solved.

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: modernicus 
Date:   2017-03-04 01:25

Funny, I had just been thinking of some sort of experiment to test my ideas...I agree there is much conjecture and blind faith on the subject. There may be nothing that can be done-blowing through a wood clarinet over time may just wear it out, essentially. Obviously, people who are the elite of the clarinet world have weighed in on the topic, and I am a nobody. However, I may be more interested in what happens to a clarinet long after the original owner or maybe even maker is gone. I know it sounds sort of morbid, and that my interest and obsession in these sort-of- old instruments may be ultimately pointless, silly, and petty- but who else is going to have a better vantage point for such conjecture (or better yet, a far superior version of me)?

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-03-04 02:45

That is what I was thinking. Oiling SOME is probably good, but I just did not know what a reasonable frequency would be and thought someone may have figured out a schedule. I usually wash my car at least once a year whether or not it appears dirty. Why not a schedule for a clarinet, damage risk or not.
Has anyone seen where oiling once in a long while has CAUSED harm???

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2017-03-04 05:16

BGBG - In 60+ years and thousands of instruments handled I can categorically state that I have never seen bore oiling cause harm.

Yes some stupid people have flooded the instrument with too much oil and ended up with a sticky mess on the pads and everywhere etc, but that a user problem not an oiling problem.

What I have seen regularly, as stated in my earlier post, is damage caused by a failure to oil when it was needed.

if you want a vehicle analogy then talk to a vehicle fleet manager in any company.
You will soon find that whilst there are minimum levels of scheduled maintenance that overall they track the usage of the vehicles to decide exactly what is needed.
Does the vehicle do 5,000 miles a year or 50,000 miles
clearly the maintenance needs will differ.

Same with clarinets, is it played 5 hours a day or 5 hours a month ?
Kept in a hot moist climate, a cold dry one etc etc.

Sometimes that very rare commodity - common sense - is also involved.



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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2017-03-04 05:50

I'm still confused on this issue. I've never oiled my clarinets, but have been tempted to a time or two (the clarinets in question are currently in storage, but I've been thinking about taking one of them out again).

However...just as in this post, I don't see a lot of science suggesting whether oiling is better vs not oiling. To the contrary, it seems that manufacturers (which probably best know their wood, and the best way to treat it) indicate not oiling the clarinets. I guess there's always a chance that the manufacturers recommend not oiling - knowing that your instrument will go to instrument heaven more quickly, and a new clarinet will be bought sooner...but I'm somewhat doubtful of that angle.

I believe there are many variables which could cause the issues described in many of the posts above - which have nothing to do with oil (or the lack thereof). Could the acidity of the individual's saliva be causing the problems? Could the diet and oral hygiene habits of the various players be causing an impact? Does humidity of locale play a role? Do the various mold/fungi/spores in the regional areas play a role? There are almost infinite variables which might be at play in each of our own various observations. Plus, I would doubt the inner bore of our clarinets is a bastion of sterility - even with the most obsessive/compulsive cleaning of owners.

I live in a very arid climate, and don't oil my wooden furniture, clarinets, recorders, guitars, etc. In fact, I have found oiling wooden cutting boards in the kitchen to cause more problems than without oil (more splitting/warping, etc).

So - here I sit - totally undecided on which is best...oil? Or no oil? There just seems to be too many variables in which to make an informed analysis or decision (at least for me.)

I can see the benefits of both...but I just don't see many actual facts on which to base a change of my current non-oiling methods.

(Each time this topic comes up - I cross my fingers, grimace at the debate which will probably play out...yet still hope for something I can latch onto which will resolve this question of oiling vs no oiling for me.)

Fuzzy

Edit: corrected spelling



Post Edited (2017-03-04 05:57)

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-03-04 07:17

Caroline : I guess the point is I do not really know how to assess or define the need to oil. When I read about all the maintenance I may not be doing I get concerned. My clarinet gets played maybe half hour a day and is in its case when not being played, and never leaves the house.I do not want to over-maintain it. But do not want to neglect it either. If I were to oil it I would use a silk swab I got for just that purpose alone but I never decided just how often to do it. I and when I begin I would guess that once a year would be suitable. When it came to reeds I tried everything I read and now am back to about the same thing I was doing when only a beginner. All the exacting procedures did not really improve much and some actually caused trouble. And whatever I say I did, many would agree, and many more would disagree. Seems to be no one way for all.
After reading all these responses I will probably oil bore maybe once a year if don't know what to watch for or cannot recognize it. Maybe manufacturers do not recommend it for they know many may do it too much and too often. Just my opinion. But it is nice to see all the ideas and thoughts on the subject.

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2017-03-04 09:56

For a little levity (and a little bit of frustrated student showing through):

Quote:

...I would use a silk swab I got for just that purpose alone...


Two of my college instructors told me that silk swabs would eat away at the bore of my clarinets like a fine sandpaper would - and instructed me to buy cotton swabs instead.

I guess if there were actual right and wrong answers to this stuff, we wouldn't have much to talk about on the Bulletin Board, would we?  :)

Fuzzy



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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2017-03-04 19:53

There's been numerous threads on this topic and occasionally some controversy. It resembles another topic found online: oil undercoating motor vehicles. In both cases, opinions, often expert opinions, on when, what, why and how are frequently supported by both experience and theory, and yet they are all over the map.

My experience is limited. I oil my two clarinets every few weeks in the winter (Vermont) and every couple months in the summer. I think I see gradual changes to the bores, and oiling seems to minimize that. Like others posted earlier, the oiling at least hasn't hurt anything.

The upper joint of one instrument has what I've heard called a "check", which is a small visible crack inside the bore, right where it would be a problem if it got bigger and emerged through. I've been advised to keep that bore oiled so the check won't expand.

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-03-04 20:30

I suspect manufacturers expect oiling for be part of regular schedule maintenance & overhauls. Hence, they see no need to oil in between. Of course, those of us who don't play 8 hours a day anymore, probably don't regularly plan for overhauls in timely intervals. (I haven't re-padded my horn in over 5 years and still plays like a champ, but could use a spa day).
Y'all should trust your own best judgment. If oiling seem appropriate, then go for it. Doubtful a clarinet is going to spontaneously combust by giving it some TLC.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75, Horns: Uebel Superior, Ridenour Lyrique

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2017-03-04 20:48

"I don't see a lot of science suggesting whether oiling is better vs not oiling."

You'd sort of have to buy two new clarinets of the same brand and model and very close serial numbers, oil one and not the other, play them an equal amount for several years, let them sit for several years, and then saw both joints in half so you could examine the wood in detail at different depths. Everything else is more or less anecdotal. Probably none of us wants to know the answer quite that badly.

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-03-04 21:02

dorjepismo wrote:

> You'd sort of have to buy two new clarinets of the same brand
> and model and very close serial numbers, oil one and not the
> other, play them an equal amount for several years, let them
> sit for several years, and then saw both joints in half so you
> could examine the wood in detail at different depths.

Even that won't work - no two billets have the same grain characteristics and those are the most important in determining an instrument's cracking potential. Maybe if the two clarinets were cut from billets made from adjacent pieces of the same tree...

Karl

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: MichaelW 
Date:   2017-03-04 22:01

... and to make it statistically valid, better take 2 x 10 instead of only 2 clarinets.

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: faltpihl 2017
Date:   2017-03-04 23:57

I'm on the opposite of the extremes I guess.

I bought a new Uebel Superior a couple months ago, and never cared about oiling it.
After playing intensively for a couple weeks in the dry Swedish climate, I noticed that the bell and parts of the bore were turning light.


A person who's been working as a repairman for some time told me that his theory was to oil the bore until it does not absorb any more oil, with the goal to minimize the humidity the wood can absorb.

Since a few weeks back I've been oiling the bore about once per day, and I've noticed that the upper part of the clarinet is still absorbing quite much, but the bell and lower half of the clarinet is looking quite good now.

I like the process of oiling and I will continue doing this a while more :)

Regards
Peter

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-03-05 01:04

This may say something about Uebel's preparation of their wood before they make an instrument from it. I don't know what they actually do, but an instrument shouldn't be dried out in weeks or months. At one time the major manufacturers saturated their billets in oil baths for long periods of time, as I remember it may have been several weeks. I'm not sure if the wood was pressure-treated or just sat. I remember being shown a tub at the Selmer plant in Elkhart in which clarinet-to-be billets were soaking, so probably not pressure-treated. The wood, by the time they began to machine it, was supersaturated.

Is this still done?

Karl

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: JHowell 
Date:   2017-03-05 17:01

The only reason for oiling the bore, according to Hans Moennig, is to keep water out of tone holes. In my orchestra, out of four clarinetists and four oboists, none so much as owns a bottle of bore oil. Oiling simply is not a concern, and I have yet to encounter a colleague in a professional orchestra who does it.

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2017-03-06 01:05

BGBG, with your amount of use there is not much to worry about.
Oiling once or twice a year is fine.
Good practice is to make sure moisture is dried out after every use and paying attention to drying the sockets is also a good idea.

Other than that just get on and enjoy playing it.



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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: The Doctor 2017
Date:   2017-03-06 18:50

(Disclaimer - I sell a plant based bore oil and genuine Grenadilla oil)
The controversy over whether to oil or not will continue but I feel that there is substantial scientific evidence and my own experimentation that shows that using the proper oil will help maintain the moisture balance in the clarinet wood and the structural integrity and dimensions of the wood over time. Plant oils, like petroleum oils, have a partial atmospheric pressure and will evaporate over time and especially in dry environments. Plant oils also have the ability to bind to water and buffer the inflow and outflow of water from the wood. Ultimately, the dimensions of your instrument can change if too much oil and moisture is lost.

Many people use the wrong bore oil and oils that do not penetrate the wood. Even though some manufacturers do not recommend bore oil, regretfully they still sell clear mineral oil under their own name as bore oil. Petroleum products (although a distant relative of plants) are not good and will harm wood and cork over time.

Old wife's tales persist that bore oil does not penetrate the wood. It is scientifically proven that using the right kinds of plant oils that an oil mixture will deeply penetrate Grenadilla wood and act as similarly to the natural oil found in the wood.

It is also true that different parts of your instrument come from different trees and each piece of wood will have different oiling needs so my advice is to oil the pieces and not necessarily the whole instrument. A test for how much oil should be used is to put a thin layer of a good bore oil on the wood, let it sit overnight and then see if the oil has been absorbed. If it is all absorbed then repeat the process until there is still oil on the surface which can then be swabbed off. Each piece should be treated until the wood has absorbed as much as needed and let the wood tell you its oiling needs.


The need for oil depends on the environmental conditions, your amount of playing, and the properties of each piece of wood in you instrument. My test is if the inside of the top joint is dull and grey and not shiny and black that this is the time to oil. Other wooden parts - barrels, bells, and joints will absorb oil differently and this upper joint test is only for the upper joint.

Oiling is up to the individual to decide but I have over 250 woodwind technicians that have used my oil on customer's instruments over the last 20 years. There are other good plant based oils in the marketplace too.

L. Omar Henderson
www.doctorsprod.com

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: RKing 
Date:   2017-03-07 07:15

I oil my clarinets, maybe once a month. I like that "God" analogy earlier in this thread; I figured it can't hurt and maybe it will help.

I had to pay good money for my instruments, so my main goal in all of this is to help make my clarinets last at least one day longer than I do.

I now use the Doctor's oil. Put a light coat on, let it sit overnight, and swab it out. So far, so good.



Post Edited (2017-03-07 16:41)

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-03-07 07:36

RKing wrote:

> Unlike some people, I had to pay for my instruments

Which people do you have in mind?

Karl

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2017-03-07 11:30
Attachment:  Bleeding Schreiber.jpg (88k)

Concerning the procedure I would agree with Omar above, as well as with Paul Aviles, if I may quote him from a thread about a year ago:

"My oiling suggestion is pretty straight forward. Take a hanky swab lightly damp with bore oil. Run through the joints once or twice to get a wet sheen. If by the next day there is no evidence of bore oil on the surface of the bore....repeat. You do that (day to day that is) until there is still evidence of oil on the bore surface the next day....then you don't have to try again for another month or so."

For my part, I use a Recorder bore brush for oiling my clarinets as I find it convenient and it's also easy to control both the spread and the amount of oil with it.

By the way, in that thread about a year ago I posted a picture of my Wurlitzer clarinet "bleeding" oil from the inside (the bore) to the outer surface. That was then considered as something extraordinary (no cracks in the wood and no air leaks anywhere). Well, later I had a new Schreiber clarinet for trial for about a week. I didn't oil it at all, but after some playing that same kind of bleeding occurred on that clarinet. I believe this clarinet was well saturated with oil by the manufacturer, as I try to keep mine. Attached is a picture.

Perhaps such bleeding isn't that unique after all?

Micke Isotalo



Post Edited (2017-03-07 11:47)

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: RKing 
Date:   2017-03-07 16:47

Quote:

> Unlike some people, I had to pay for my instruments

Which people do you have in mind?

Karl


I'm sorry if that came out the wrong. I meant no disrespect and have edited my post.

I worked full time in the music business for about ten years. It was a struggle and I had to go into debt to afford my instruments. I still think about those days sometimes. Glad those days are over.



Post Edited (2017-03-07 16:48)

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-03-08 00:37

Dang Ron...
I was hoping you new of some secret squirrel "clarinet mafia" where we all new, free clarinets.
If it's true...put me down for the a Yamaha!

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75, Horns: Uebel Superior, Ridenour Lyrique

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2017-03-08 13:07

What came to my mind about Ron's original post was that some orchestras (at least in Germany, don't know about other countries) provide for the instruments to their players (very just and fair). As I understand, it's also common in other countries/orchestras that if you play like 2:nd and bass, then the orchestra provides for the bass.

In Germany it also seems common that the orchestra pays for an yearly complete overhaul of their instruments.

So perhaps these players don't feel the same personal commitment to the longevity of their instruments as others may do, not "wasting" time on such as regular oiling :-)

So to me Ron's statement was a valid point.

Micke Isotalo

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: JHowell 
Date:   2017-03-08 16:11

The "paying for instruments" is a red herring. I paid for all my instruments, am not a sponsored artist except for reeds and have never gotten a discount. It is not a matter of neglect. My colleagues and I pay close attention to temperature and humidity in the winter months. We have found considerable correlation between dry air and cold temperatures and cracking. I oiled clarinets when I was a student and was more susceptible to fears of cracking, but came to agree with more experienced players that oiling harmed the tone of my instruments and had zero effect on the instrument cracking or not. Again, do as you wish, it's your clarinet. But if you want to avoid cracking a better investment would be humidfying your case in the winter.

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2017-03-08 20:56

JHowell: "came to agree with more experienced players that oiling harmed the tone of my instruments"

There's a point I hadn't heard before. Anyone concur?

It's funny, I had been tempted to post that I thought the tone of my instruments actually improved slightly following oiling, but I thought it wasn't supportable enough to warrant posting. And now, hah! - better or worse? Does oiling affect the tone?

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-03-08 21:31

Those of us who don't apply bore oil wouldn't know (unless we'd been converted from the other side).

Karl

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: D Dow 
Date:   2017-03-08 22:06

if a clarinet is dried out or swollen from dirt and dryness than oil is needed. a clarinet has to have a proper moisture level in the wood for the air to go through it properly and also for the resonance to create tone can be achieved.

coffee drinking..smoking..toothpaste dental decay etc..who knows how this affects the moisture that goes into the clarinet..however, the upper joint is the area most affected and can be wrecked by not being cared for etc.. so a smart tech is best to answer this question..I say the clarinet needs to have a balance in moisture or oil content in the wood to play well. Most overhaul people will oil a clarinet with lemon or lemon oil extract to clean and bring back lost moisture..not just the bore but the other area which is just as important..the outside of the clarinet which affects tone too!

David Dow

Post Edited (2017-03-08 22:10)

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2017-03-09 10:11

Anecdotal opinions ("tone got better"... "my teacher told me"... "insert-famous-name said"... etc.) mostly cancel each other out eventually, or too much psychology...

What you would want is statistics or real evidence.

What is definite is that there are many clarinets that haven't been oiled in decades and still play fine with no problems, no cracks, nothing wrong with them (excluding mechanics).

Dry wood cracks far more than wet wood. Soak some wood in water and put some wood in the sun... which would likely crack more? Have you seen wood crack in water? It's definitely possible but how often? Have you seen wood that was left for a long time in the sun, in dry weather? These are extremes that give a good starting point.

The standard method of oiling is what Omar described. It is not necessarily possible to know how much of the oil was absorbed by thew wood and how much evaporated. The question is, would you necessarily want as much oil into the wood as it would absorb? Maybe... or not... but why...?

Oil "oozing" (or "bleeding" as someone called it) can be an issue. Not a problem with the wood, but for the player who would get oil on their hands, or keys which might get vegetable oil in the hinges, which is the worst thing possible for the mechanism.

So after a lot of tests, research and statistics I didn't come to a definite conclusion. Better to be most skeptical of anyone who gives facts without real evidence behind them. Also not reliable are the opinions of players, regardless of their level, of the effects of oil.

So with all the statistics and evidence I could find, what I do is suggest to oil when the instrument (or part of it) looks dry (dull/gray as was mentioned by others). I also explain that it is not for sure that it will help. I wouldn't recommend any specific interval, that's pretty random.

I use the Doctor's oils, both Grenadoil and the regular one. I like them because (unlike most regular vegetable oil) I haven't had them become rancid and I like their smell (especially of his regular one).



Post Edited (2017-03-09 10:18)

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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2017-03-09 13:59

Here comes some more fuel to the fire :-)

A friend of mine was convinced that a bore still wet from oil (not absorbed in the wood) improved his tone.

I noticed the same on my clarinets, BUT only in a very special setting. That was when my Wurlitzer clarinets were still quite new and when the protective lacquer coating that they apply to the bore was only partly worn off. My guess is that the oil smoothed out the roughness in the bore created by the bits of lacquer still remaining. Later, when all lacquer was polished away at an overhaul, I didn't notice any difference in the sound with a bore wet from oil compared to a dry one.

My opinion is that wood staying dry, as well as wood staying moist, is dimensionally stable. What isn't stable and what may cause cracking is rapid changes in humidity, as when a dry piece of wood is suddenly soaked in water. I have cracked a lot of pieces of wood that way, but fortunately no clarinets (I try to avoid soaking them in water ...). One of the arguments favouring oiling - right or wrong - is that an instrument well saturated with oil hinders water from penetrating and thus causing more or less sudden swelling of the wood. If I had a clarinet stored in a dry climate for a long time without playing on it, I would carefully oil it to full saturation before playing even a single note on it. I believe this is also the reason why clarinet manufacturers usually recommend a "break in" of new clarinets, by playing only up to one hour or so per day - despite of the wood being well oiled.

My opinion is also that oil simply doesn't evaporate. Put any oil on any non absorbing surface (like metal) and it will just stay there. Eventually it will get rancid, harden or perhaps deteriorate in some other way, but not evaporate.

I'm also convinced that any wood regularly exposed to moisture eventually rotten. On hardwoods as Grenadilla the process is a lot slower than on softer ones, but it's still there. On clarinets the first visible sign is usually on the upper end of the top joint, where the outer surface of the tenon gets light brown in colour and more or less porous or even mushy in appearance. After all, wooden string instruments hundreds of years old are still around, but probably not a single woodwind - at least not one kept in regular use. Regular oiling may not save a woodwind instrument for ever, but I believe it at least slows down the rotting.

I agree with clarinbass that statistics and real evidence would be most desirable, but until we get such we can't but rely on more or less informed opinions. I'm not really aiming for "fuel to the fire" but just sharing my thoughts on the matter for anyone to agree or disagree upon, as all of us here are doing :-) .

Micke Isotalo



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 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: faltpihl 2017
Date:   2017-03-09 15:59

My picture of oiling is very well described by Micke in the above post.

I've been using the Dawkes professor flowery oil, but in their own instructions they don't suggest "oiling until saturation" so it is very confusing..

As soon as I get another batch of oil I will try to saturate my top joint, which seems to be more "rough to the touch" and also sucks in all oil faster than the lower parts of the instrument.

Regards
Peter

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Bore Oiling Interval
Author: Dibbs 
Date:   2017-03-09 18:35

D Dow wrote:

>.not
> just the bore but the other area which is just as
> important..the outside of the clarinet which affects tone too!
>

Not as much as the colour of the pads.

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