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 Cocus wood
Author: Elifix 
Date:   2010-12-06 19:07

Hi all,

I was just surfing the internet and randomly clicking and I chanced upon interesting post somewhere. (Sorry I cant give the link as its all random...)

'One piece clarinet made from Cocus wood'

Has anyone got encounter one piece clarinet? I do know that they are available today but they are relatively uncommon. Anyone got anything to say about it; from tuning - sound - cases etc cetera...

And anyone knows the acoustic qualities and wood properties of Cocus woods?

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 Re: Cocus wood
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-12-06 21:02

Cocus was used in the 19th and early 20th Centuries along with boxwood, rosewood and grenadilla for orchestral woodwinds. Hardly ever used nowadays as grenadilla is the main timber for orchestral woodwind bodies, along with kingwood and cocobolo.

I read that cocus flute headjoints caused allergic reactions with some people - probably in a similar way cocobolo can cause an allergic reaction.


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 Re: Cocus wood
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2010-12-06 21:20

Rossi makes 1-piece clarinets, which makes it possible to place the C#/G# key in the acoustically proper position. The instruments of course have separate barrels and bells.

I've seen a few older Buffets and other clarinets (circa 1900) with the upper joint extended upward and no barrel. At that time, Buffet also offered single-piece bodies, though they're not common, probably because it's not easy to find long, flawless pieces of wood. Also, a crack would ruin the entire instrument.

Friedrich von Huene told me that cocus wood was used extensively in the 19th Century for flutes. However, grenadilla is harder, warps less and machines better, and it doesn't produce the severe lung irritation of cocus. Kal Opperman made me a cocus barrel, which plays beautifully, but he swore off using it because of the irritation.

Ken Shaw

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 Re: Cocus wood
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2010-12-07 15:24

I believe Cocus is just another type of Rosewood. I have a Cocus mouthpiece and can say that the wood is very stable as far as its durability. It is, however, a very brittle sounding mouthpiece. I have had many African Blackwood mouthpieces and a number of Cocobolo mouthpieces, but this one is the only wood mouthpiece that I have which has this particulary brightness to it. I would not purchase another Cocus mouthpiece.

.................Paul Aviles

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 Re: Cocus wood
Author: Elifix 
Date:   2010-12-07 16:16

Wow, interesting that Cocus and cocobolo wood will cause allergic reactions like lung irritation. Have you heard if Blackwood cause allergic as well? Just curious on this...

Yeah, I do know Rossi still makes one piece clarinets and that C#/G# key is placed properly from the descriptions but, it kinda look the same too me since its difficult to tell just from pictures. Anyway, that means on the 2-piece clarinet the C#/G# is in the wrong position? I dont really understand this personally since I am supposing where the metal rings are now would just be sub with the wood and everything remains the same...

Buffet Elites were one piece clarinet as well right?

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 Re: Cocus wood
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-12-07 20:04

On 2-piece body clarinets the C#/G# tonehole is positioned higher up the joint and made smaller in diameter to compensate, so the tone can suffer on some instruments due to these factors.

Buffet Elites were 2-piece, though they had carbon fibre socket rings which made them look like they had a one piece body.


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 Re: Cocus wood
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-12-09 13:06

Ken Shaw wrote,
>>However, grenadilla is harder, warps less and machines better, and it doesn't produce the severe lung irritation of cocus. Kal Opperman made me a cocus barrel, which plays beautifully, but he swore off using it because of the irritation.

My husband made some fountain pens and walking sticks from cocobolo and got that allergy from it. Just to be clear about it: the allergy develops from exposure to the sawdust during manufacturing. I've never heard of someone developing the allergy from using a cocus or colobolo clarinet or mouthpiece. I've played a cocobolo recorder for years with no problem. I've got some antique cocus clarinets. The wood seems excellent: the heaviest wood of any of my clarinets, deep, pure black, with straight grain that's so tight it's hard to see. As I uncerstand it, Jamaican cocus is now too endangered to be used for clarinets.

To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Cocus wood
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2010-12-09 13:24

I once heard a horn made from cocus
that played with such tone and such focus!
I asked the horn maker
was he real, or a faker?
He replied "aw, it's all hocus-pocus".

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 Re: Cocus wood
Author: Alseg 
Date:   2010-12-09 15:03

I once made a barrel from cocus
Into my lungs it did choke-us**
Wheezing and itching
Around my neck, a noose on the gallows
teardrops and scratching. Onto my throat
Like cocus made into bolas*



**not true....I always wear a filter mask when using the lathe, and gloves when working with cocobolo or cocus. After sealing the wood, I notice no further irritation

-Where the Sound Matters Most(tm)-

Post Edited (2010-12-09 15:05)

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 Re: Cocus wood
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2010-12-10 08:30

I once had a B & H Imperial in E flat with a one-piece body. According to the marking on it and on the case, it had originally been used by the band of the Royal Engineers, British Army. It was a very good instrument, the best Eefer I've ever played, although that doesn't mean a lot, I've only played about 4. I sold it and bought a bike with the proceeds. I then broke my leg falling off the bike. There's a message in there somewhere

Tony F.

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 Re: Cocus wood
Author: graham 
Date:   2022-11-20 19:46

Am 12 years late to this discussion, but I possess a single joint cocus wood b flat clarinet. It’s a full Boehm, though lacking the bottom e flat, and stamped Hawkes & Sons, and LP. Probably circa 1929. Very little (if any) undercutting. Nice covered clean tone, but somewhat uneven with a few resistant notes.


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