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 string for cork tenons
Author: Bob 
Date:   2002-06-18 15:29

Years ago,it seems,string was used rather than cork for tenons and today cork seems to be the standard. As an amateur clarinet do-it-yourselfer it would seem that string wrapping is still viable. What are the pros and cons re string vs cork?

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 RE: string for cork tenons
Author: Joe O'Kelly 
Date:   2002-06-18 15:42

Funny you mention this. I just wraped my Eb tennons in string. It went on very easily and worked fairly well. In the long run the compression of the string might ware down and need another layer of string.I used the same methoods of tying the string on as double reed players use for tying on reeds.

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 RE: string for cork tenons
Author: Eddie Ashton 
Date:   2002-06-18 17:35

I would say that string (I assume we're talking waxed thread) is not as easy to apply correctly, with more risk of air leakage on what may appear to be a perfectly good joint. On the other hand, it has a distinct mechanical advantage over cork where it can lend substantial support to a tenon which is subject to distortion caused by inadvertant knocks etc. Cork does nothing here.
All the same, I hope it doesn't come back into fashion. I hate binding tenons!

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 RE: string for cork tenons
Author: ron b 
Date:   2002-06-18 19:30

The reason some woodwind instrument tenons (still) have grooves in them today is that it's a throwback to the days when string was in common use. We're slow to change, catch up with new technology. The grooves serve no good purpose for anything but string wound tenons. Cork adhesive gives better overall contact without the grooves. See if you can figure that one out :] Whether cork, when applied correctly, is more maintenance and trouble free than thread is still open to discussion but its widespread usage today speaks loudly in its favor.
For tenon binding, I like heavy thread because you can determine better if and where you need to build up the wrapping to make a good seal. It's fine when wound evenly but I find I have a little more wiggle room for adjustment with thread than with heavier string. Some people prefer floss. However, with any kind of binding I like to add a little cork grease as I wind - it helps keep the binding in place. The object is to make a fairly air tight seal; anything that will do that and hold up during reasonable usage is fine. The greatest advantage for string or thread is that it's generally more available to the average citizen than tenon cork sheets and easier for most do-it-yourselfers to apply.
The greatest plus for string is: it's great for Emergencies :)
When you factor the time to wind string vs. gluing and sanding cork the cost/time factor (in minutes) is probably about the same.

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 RE: string for cork tenons
Author: Bob 
Date:   2002-06-18 22:27

Thanks all. I would imagine that if one were to wax the string with beeswax it would help. And,of course, there are all kinds of string. I hadn't thought about the extra advantage of support to the tenon...but it sure makes sense. My father had taught me the tying trick..I guess it's the same as used for tying flys for fly casting...and also for "hangman's noose"..Someone had recently advised someone else here that a loose middle joint might be due to the wood adjacent to the cork having been sanded down a little. One could extend the string over that area and solve that problem too...I guess.

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 RE: string for cork tenons
Author: David L Morris 
Date:   2002-06-18 22:38

as one of the do-it-yourselfers i have found string to be used over the cork on tenon joints. I allways thought it was to put off having the cork job done.

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 RE: string for cork tenons
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2002-06-19 11:28

Somebody once led me to believe that thread was used on tenons when musicians got more mobile through different climates. The thread was seen to be more adjustable - just add or remove a few turns to adjust to changes in the fit of the tenon. Whether it is true I don't know.

Thread is stoill reasonably common on bassoons. I find it detestably time consuming to make adjustments, or replace it when foul cork grease perishes it. It certainly has nowhere near the resilience of good cork. The white, teflon, plumbers, thread tape is an acceptable alternative to string, and would probably make string function a lot better with a layer of it over the string instead of cork grease. It is also good for building up a loose tenon cork.

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 RE: string for cork tenons
Author: Bob 
Date:   2002-06-19 14:33

I've tried the plumbers teflon tape,Gordon,but it seems to want to push "up". Maybe my cork was still too large. The tape certainly requires the twisting assembly motion

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 RE: string for cork tenons
Author: Eddie ashton 
Date:   2002-06-19 16:50

Thread binding on bassoon tenons is mandatory for the very reason I mentioned above. The wood at the tenon ends of a bassoon is so thin and vulnerable (and it's Maple not grenadilla) but this is not so much the case with a clarinet. I share your detestation Gordon and therefore get round the problem in the following manner.
Using plain thread, tightly bind the tenon with just a few turns and run superglue into the thread. This instantly solidifiies the thread-turns and supports the tenon in a manner more akin to it being wired. Then cork over this in the normal way, thus achieving the best of both worlds. This is obviously not obligatory on the smaller and stronger joint of a clarinet but is a usefull way to repair and support a tenon which has split due to trauma but is still in place and intact.

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 RE: string for cork tenons
Author: Mark Pinner 
Date:   2002-06-20 10:06

I string quite a lot of tenons for money of course and the love of beeswax. You get a fair sized callous on your thumb especially if you use polyester/dacron type thread. Fox use a proprietry nylon thread and I have seen a couple of old Heckels that had the original wrappings in tact and they seem to be cotton or hemp.

On bassoons wrapping tenons makes the horn feel a bit more live and certainly more flexible. Corked tenons are not as flexible but increase the volume slightly. For somebody using a long bore horn and playing 2nd bassoon where low register is used more often I prefer cork but that is just me.

I think on a blackwood clarinet you are wasting your time but on a rosewood or boxwood horn you may get some effect. A physicist would probably tell you this is all crap though.

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 RE: string for cork tenons
Author: Bob 
Date:   2002-06-20 11:21

Beeswax is one of those magical natural products that I admire

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 RE: string for cork tenons
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2002-06-20 14:08

Bob, the tenon cork prob ably needs to be well cleaned and the teflon wrapped as tight as possible without breaking. And yes, the cork was possibly still too large. Once the tape is established it seems to last well, even without a screw-on action for assembly. From customers' instruments I've seen it seems to be good for taking up slack between the timber parts of a tenon at the inner end of the tenon.

Eddie, unless there is a glue involved (as you do) I cannot see how binding saves a bassoon tenon from damage. It would only reinforce against damage from WITHIN the instrumnet, which the instrument is not really subject to. Tenons are damaged by localized knocks to the OUTSIDE of part of the tenon, or from pressure to the outside by 'bending' the instrument while it is assembled. The binding does not provide a protective force to oppose abusive forces from outside the instrument.

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 RE: string for cork tenons
Author: Bob 
Date:   2002-06-20 15:41

Thanks again. I could see where the string on the bassoon tenon might help to distribute the force from an external blow?!

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