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 Servicing an old buffet
Author: KaiLiau 
Date:   2019-01-04 00:21

Hello Guys,

I apologize if any of these question was asked previously.....

I just brought back my wife's 1st (and probably last, as she doesn't play anymore) clarinet from her family.

Haven't been played for almost two decades, the wood is dry. It looks brownish and the grains are very visible. There is a crack developed on the lower part of the upper joint. Since this is away from any tone holes, I suspect it is only a surface crack and can be filled easily if needed. From the appearance, it seems all it needs is re-oiling the wood. I am afraid to play it due to its "dry" condition so I am not sure at this point if there are any further issues.

According to its 6-digit SN 241xxx and cutout under the right pinky key cluster, it appears to be an R13. Can any one confirm this?

Secondly, since I will need to remove all the keys to re-oil the whole clarinet and polish the keys anyway, I am thinking about re-padding the whole clarinet. Can anyone recommend a good set of pad (less than $50 shipped) and where to buy?

I am in the US.


Post Edited (2019-01-04 18:14)

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 Re: Servicing an old buffet
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-01-04 01:20

JL Smith, the green pads.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

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 Re: Servicing an old buffet
Author: KaiLiau 
Date:   2019-01-04 17:18

Thanks Bob.

There are two kinds of assortment pad sets with greenbacks for Buffet in JL Smith's webiste. According to the SN, mine was made in 1983. Will either of them fit? One set is black, is it just color that's different? If yes, I like the idea of black pads as they probably don't turn yellow when they age.

I removed all keys and oiled the entire clarinet body last night. From the looks of the pads, they are not terrible. I will be able to tell once I put the keys back and then I will decide whether or not to proceed pad replacement.

I saw some keys with corks missing. Where do you get cork replacement? Can I use hide glue to attach corks?


Post Edited (2019-01-04 17:19)

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 Re: Servicing an old buffet
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-01-05 03:26

I get all of my supplies from JL Smith. The green back pads are very nice and plastic, V/S the old fish skin pads. Also get some shellac sticks to glue the pads on. You can use a cigarette lighter. Get some cigarette paper and cut it into a long thin piece so you can check and see if the pads are sealed. email me if needed.

You can also look up Valentino pads as the green backs are actually made by them. So go to and look for the Valentino green pads.

You can get cork from there as well. Comes in assorted sizes, so use a caliper or micrometer to measure the cork thickness. Call them and they are really nice people to get you set up with the correct sizes. They may have the needed Contact Cement.

Also go to a place like Home Depot or a local hardware store and get a bottle of Contact Cement, NOT rubber cement. Then put the cement on the post where the cork came off AND also on the cork. Wait about 10 minutes and then stick the cork on the post or wherever you are replacing the cork. Again Contact Cement works best, but after a few months replace it as it gets too thick and it becomes hard to use. The Bottles come with a brush. But use rubber gloves because it's a pain to get off of your fingers. It's not a good idea to eat something with this glue on your hands and fingers. Lot's of nasty chemicals.

It's wise to also have razor blades to make clean cuts with the cork.

Last words, JL Smith repairs flutes so these guys know what they are doing. Ask to be transferred to a repairman and they can help with the sizes of the pads and the cork. I can't give out the number as the Bboard might delete the number so just go to the website. I've been repairing horns since the 1970's and I hate it so I don't advertise. What I hate are all of the germs.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

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 Re: Servicing an old buffet
Author: KaiLiau 
Date:   2019-01-07 08:22

Thanks Bob.

I put the keys back to the oiled R13 and played it. It makes a lot of pad/key noises and the long tube notes are much more resistant compared to my yamaha bought. Despite it's supposedly not the golden era R13, being made 1983, I still think it has a very sweet and warm sound, hence is worth re-padding.

I bought a set of Valentino greenback pads, the padding adhesive (low temp wax, sorry forgot the name), pad stick, a sheet of cork, cement for that and the butane burner. Watched a few video tutorials on YouTube. Can't wait for the parts to arrive.

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 Re: Servicing an old buffet
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-01-07 14:38

Here's a tip- first take off the old pads... find the ones that are still more or less ok and then get a bit of practise installing them first, before you start messing with the new ones. As they will have the shape of the tone hole on the pad surface they probably won't seal etc - this doesn't matter, just use them to practise using the shellac (low temp wax stuff) and floating them etc without burning the pad etc
Even though you can't seat them properly (the old ones) it'll still be a useful exercise and will give you more skill and confidence when you work with the new pads.

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 Re: Servicing an old buffet
Author: KaiLiau 
Date:   2019-01-07 20:35

Thanks Donald for the good idea of using the removed old pads for practice before using the new ones.

I was worried about that I couldn't even afford to make any significant mistakes as the assortment came with exact number of pads for R13.

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