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 Key Cork Thickness
Author: Cbq 
Date:   2010-08-11 16:00

Hi, I was wondering the different thickness needed for keycork on a clarinet. I am planning to buy a few sheets. What are the ideal sizes?

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 Re: Key Cork Thickness
Author: SteveG_CT 
Date:   2010-08-11 17:03

You're best off buying an assortment of all the available common sizes. I've found that the thickness used can vary a bit from maker to maker especially when looking at vintage instruments.

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 Re: Key Cork Thickness
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-08-11 17:06

2mm, 1mm and 0.5mm should be a good start - though natural cork isn't always the best material to use depending on the application, but it will give you an idea of what thickness silencing material to use.

Don't stick a really thick key cork on and then sand it down to a funny shape as it looks untidy - best to use a uniform thickness on the underside of a key as it looks better.

For open standing keys use ultrasuede or a similar soft material. For linkages use a tough material such as gasket cork (rubberised cork).

The only place I tend to use cork on clarinets is on the throat A key stopper, otherwise it's gasket cork and ultrasuede.

Use a good adhesive to stick it on with too, but you should still be able to remove all the adhesive from the surface of the keys when you have to.

And always use a sharp blade to trim with (ie. scalpel or razor blades) - as soon as the blade begins to dull, replace it with a fresh one so you get crisp, clean edges to all your key corks.


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 Re: Key Cork Thickness
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2010-08-11 17:34

Or buy just one size (on the thick side) and sand down as needed.

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 Re: Key Cork Thickness
Author: pewd 
Date:   2010-08-11 21:32

1 sheet each: 1/64 ; 1/32 ; 3/64 ; 1/16 ; 3/32 should cover most requirements.

Every once in a while i need a bit of 1/8, but its infrequent.

- Paul
private teacher - Dallas, Texas

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 Re: Key Cork Thickness
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2010-08-11 22:47

3/64" is usually the right size for tenon corks.

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 Re: Key Cork Thickness
Author: Cbq 
Date:   2010-08-12 03:47

I'm ordering from music medic. So i should get ultrasuede, and natural cork for tennon. Im not sure what's gasket cork. Is that like tech cork? I need one more point of clarification. Linkages refer to the area where 2 key touch and open standing keys are the keys that will touch the body when one press the key mechanism?

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 Re: Key Cork Thickness
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2010-08-12 06:12

>> Linkages refer to the area where 2 key touch and
>> open standing keys are the keys that will touch the
>> body when one press the key mechanism?

Yes. Linkage means a link between two keys e.g. lower joint ring key and D/A ring key linked by the bridge, or a lever and a key like left pinky F/C key is a lever linked to the F/C key.

Thickness depends not only on model but on specific location. I use between 0.3mm and probably around 1.2mm thick materials on a clarinet. For linkages usually thinner material, from 0,3mm to no more than 0.8mm, with an occasional exception. For bumpers (key stoppers) whatever thickness works best.

I almost never use natural cork on a clarinet. I also don't like ultrasuade that some mentioned. I just haven't found a location where I don't prefer another material instead. I use rubber cork (aka tech cork) in all thicknesses up to 1.2mm (0.1mm differences) because it's annoying to sand. For a softer material I prefer synthetic felt (only rarely use wool felt now).

Post Edited (2010-08-12 11:54)

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 Re: Key Cork Thickness
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2010-08-13 02:45

Much the same as Clarnibass.

I also use an extremely tough, synthetic leather (used for an upmarket Music Center sax pad), about 0.3 mm thick, on certain linkages where there is a rubbing action, eg between F/C lever and F/C key, and in throat key linkage.

The main consideration is whether the thickness AND material do whatever job that is supposed to be done, with as little compromise of anything else as possible. For me, that cuts out natural cork for most applications now except for tenon corks.

And for most linkages, I do not make adjustments by altering cork thickness. I use the most suitable thickness of the most suitable material, to do the job well, and then make adjustments to the geometry of the keys in order that they function at their best. And that often involves improving on what the manufacturer did.

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 Re: Key Cork Thickness
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-08-13 10:19

Cbg - what make of clarinet are you working on?


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 Re: Key Cork Thickness
Author: Cbq 
Date:   2010-08-16 04:52

i have a few buffets students and 2 e11 and like 4-5 vitos.

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 Re: Key Cork Thickness
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-08-16 07:15

Vitos/Normandys/Noblets/Leblancs use thin key corks on all keys - mostly 0.5mm, and up to 1mm maximum on a few keys.

Buffets (incl. B12/E11 which are made by Schreiber) use a variety of thicknesses, the thickest corks (2mm) are on the top joint trill keys and lower joint B/F# 'sliver' key. Elswhere you're best using 0.5-1mm thicknesses.


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