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 Using Mineral Bore Oil
Author: aread 
Date:   2018-02-21 00:44

Let me preface this post by saying that I'm new to the forum and to the world of clarinets. I recently purchased an old Selmer 'Brevete' Clarinet off eBay and dated it to approximately 1929.

Since the Clarinet looked rather dry, (and, since it's winter time here in the Northeast) I decided to go to my local music shop and purchase some bore oil and cork grease. I applied a generous amount to my clarinet (per this tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBWmyBPf9cE) and really didn't think much of it, until I did some further research on the bore oil that I purchased ("C.G. Conn").

After perusing various forum posts, I've read that mineral-based (petroleum) bore oil is everything from harmless and ineffective to potentially damaging to one's instrument. I've also read that it can compromise the acoustics of one's instrument. Apparently, organic, plant-based oils are the way to go.

So, with that being said, I was wondering what the consensus is on this forum, as to the exact nature of mineral bore oil? If it's so harmful, why do so many leading manufacturers put it out on the market, and, why do so many music shops knowingly sell a sub-standard product?

Post Edited (2018-02-21 05:48)

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 Re: Using Mineral Bore Oil
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-02-21 10:08

Per chemist, Dr. L. Omar Henderson, otherwise known as "The Doctor" here on the BB: "Mineral oil is not a wood preservative, does not penetrate wood deeply, and in the end will destroy the wood by changing the oil content in the wood surface from natural to petroleum based oil which breaks down wood structure over time."

The quote above comes from the following thread: http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=405574&t=405550 Look for his response.

Here's some more info from "The Doctor": http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=89811&t=89777 Look for his 2 responses.

I believe he is still the recognized expert when it comes to taking care of wooden clarinets.

Please read both threads all the way through.

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 Re: Using Mineral Bore Oil
Author: aread 
Date:   2018-02-21 10:42

Yikes, that was very informative, thank you. I guess my only question now, then, is how much mineral oil would it take to start destroying the wood of your clarinet?

And, would it be possible to remediate any damage done through the use of plant-based oils?

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 Re: Using Mineral Bore Oil
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-02-21 11:44

Per "The Doctor", mineral oil doesn't penetrate too deep.

This appears to be a case of time over amount. The mineral oil needs to be removed as quickly as possible.

From my readings on the Internet:

1) Use a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess inside the bore.
2) Sprinkle baking soda into the bore and use another clean, dry cloth to move the baking soda back and forth to absorb the oil the first cloth missed.
3) Use white vinegar and dishwasher detergent per the following article:

Personally, I would skip the mineral spirits part, but, read that section and decide for yourself if it's necessary.

Best of luck!

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 Re: Using Mineral Bore Oil
Author: Dibbs 
Date:   2018-02-21 16:03

Please don't put baking soda, vinegar or dishwasher detergent on your clarinet.

They are respectively an alkali, an acid and an unholy mixture of surfactant, bleach, alkaline salts and enzymes. They are all far more likely to damage the instrument than a bit of mineral oil.

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 Re: Using Mineral Bore Oil
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-02-21 22:53

Dibbs, per the O.P.: "I applied a generous amount to my clarinet ..." That sounds more than "a bit" to me.

I respect "The Doctor's" expertise as to what mineral oil can do to a wooden clarinet bore.

The baking soda (a mild alkali), white vinegar (a mild acid) and dishwasher detergent wherein only "the bubbles" were to be applied per the linked article, were all to be applied very sparingly, again, per the article.

"They are all far more likely to damage the instrument..." I would appreciate it if you would provide some sort of reference material as this is a statement of fact rather than an opinion.

Right now, from my perspective, it's up to "aread" (Alex) to decide what he wants to do.

I'm not a chemist nor am I a wood specialist, so before I write any technical response, I do my homework, type my opinions or statements, then provide reference material when I deem it necessary.

I don't mind posters disagreeing with me, after all, I'm human and I do make mistakes from time to time.

It would be wonderful if "The Doctor" or even Dr. Alseg would join this discussion. I always like hearing from people whom I consider to be "true experts".

More comments from anybody are also always welcome.

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 Re: Using Mineral Bore Oil
Author: aread 
Date:   2018-02-21 23:38

Interestingly enough, most of the oil that I applied seems to have evaporated or been absorbed by the instrument (I'm really hoping it's the former case). Maybe it helped that I blew like hell into my clarinet and then put my pad savers through a few times, as the tone doesn't seem to be as dampered as it was before.

In any event, my clarinet had a crack on its bell and seemed to have been leaking, so it is now in the hands of a local repair technician (who I really hope won't use mineral oil).

Nevertheless, I'd like to thank you all for your help. And, I would still be interested in hearing what the resident experts have to say about all this, as well.

Post Edited (2018-02-22 01:30)

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 Re: Using Mineral Bore Oil
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-22 00:42

Whatever bore oil you use buy it new. All oil usually spoils in a few months to 6 months. Companies often use perfumes to cover up the bad sells of spoiled oils.

Use gloves when applying.

Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist 2015

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