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 greasing other corks
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2020-03-27 23:54

I grease my tenon corks lightly whenever I feel stiction during assembly. Is there any reason to (or not to) grease other corks, specifically the little bumper or spacer corks under keys or between things? The cork between the bridge parts does wear, and so does the one on the crows foot. Those things can either slowly change size or actually crumble a bit. Would an occasional bit of cork grease help maintain them?

I can't imagine greasing cork pads, but if anyone has any thoughts on doing that as well, then do share.

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-03-28 00:12

FWIW I wouldn't grease them. I don't know anyone who does. I think you might end up with a mess. Those small bumper and spacer corks (some techs don't use cork, they use other materials) aren't any real expense to replace if they eventually wear out.

Karl

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2020-03-28 00:47

Agree. I wouldn't do that.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers
tomheimer.ampbk.com/
austinmacauley.com/author/heimer-tom (PDF samples here)


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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-03-28 00:56

That may cause some "stickiness" that will be tactiley apparent, and or degrade the adhesive holding the cork to the key.



Crumbly bumper cork is just age and part of the updating/overhauling/fixing routine.





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



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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2020-03-28 02:02

I only use grease only when the cork is new, Then maybe use it sparingly when the cork seems tight.

Cork absorbs water fast, it's the bark on trees, also called genus Phellodendron. That question will be on the final exam for your BA/PhD. You have to spell it backwards. Sure a joke! Maybe not?

Well cork acts the same, sooner or later there is a thing about too much grease and the cork CAN sometimes start to chip and also soften the contact cement dies so the corks becomes unusable and air leaks form.

The horn should fit tight between the joints, If not get it repaired. Things will happen and even squeaks and resistance. You might even get frustrated and sell the horn or worse give up the horn. Don't you anything except cork grease. No olive oil or chicken fat. Yes someone tried both.


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


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2020-03-28 13:28

ONLY grease the tenon corks!

All key corks have to remain uncontaminated with grease or oil otherwise they can stick or fall off. And never oil cork pads.

And while I'm here, never oil or grease adjusting screws either.

Chris.

Post Edited (2020-03-28 13:28)

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: kilo 
Date:   2020-03-28 17:53

Chris, what about actuating mechanisms where there is actually some sliding as opposed to the cork simply acting as dampening for the bumper? (forgive my terminology!) For instance, the vent suppression configuration on some basses — if there is friction does the cork merit lubrication? I wouldn't use normal cork grease, I was thinking of something like Doctor's Syn-Tek.

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2020-03-28 19:06

<< what about actuating mechanisms where there is actually some sliding >>

Sometimes it's good to grease linkages like those, though there aren't any on clarinets. Real cork is a pretty lousy material for linkages anyway so use something else. On those linkages (e.g. bass, saxophones, etc) or the rare occasion that I use grease on a clarinet linkages, I use one of the greases that I use for mechanisms. Avoid sticky grease (e.g. Ultimax).

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2020-03-28 21:27

I use key oil on the places (joints) where things move--not on the adjustable screws themselves (though I'm sure some oil gets on the screws). Has worked OK for almost 50 years.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers
tomheimer.ampbk.com/
austinmacauley.com/author/heimer-tom (PDF samples here)


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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2020-03-29 21:44

On sliding linkages of any kind, I never use natural cork as that creates friction and wears out fast. I also don't grease any silencing materials as that will cause the glue to fail.

I generally use much harder wearing materials like tech cork and that can be coated with graphite powder to make it slippery. You can also stick a piece of self adhesive teflon sheet onto that, but it can migrate if the adhesive is particularly gummy. Best bet is to use graphite from a soft pencil as that can easily be reapplied as and when and won't cause things to become sticky.

For the throat G#-A adjusting screw, I fit a domed nylon tip to that (or dome the tips on nylon adjusting screws on Buffets) instead of sticking any form of silencing material in the recess on the throat A key. That gives a more precise feel and the small gap between the adjusting screw tip and the throat A key can be set much better.

Chris.

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: John G. 
Date:   2020-04-07 08:25

This is exactly why I glue a very thin piece of teflon sheet on top of any cork that makes contact with a moving/sliding key.
Chris, I agree with your use of graphite, but most people don't realize how little to put on and when over applied......talk about a mess! I use a very thin layer of contact cement to adhere the teflon to the cork. I've never had any issues on any of my personal horns or customer horns regarding the contact cement migrating.

John

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-04-07 16:56

John G. wrote:

> This is exactly why I glue a very thin piece of teflon sheet on
> top of any cork that makes contact with a moving/sliding key.
> I use a very thin layer of contact cement to
> adhere the teflon to the cork.

I'm a little surprised that, even with a thin layer of cement and given the thinness of the teflon, it doesn't throw off any adjustment that you've made to the cork's thickness. Can you give some examples of specific corks you add teflon to?

Karl

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2020-04-07 17:19

<< I'm a little surprised that, even with a thin layer of cement and given the thinness of the teflon, it doesn't throw off any adjustment that you've made to the cork's thickness. Can you give some examples of specific corks you add teflon to? >>

Hmm... you don't adjust and then add teflon. You make the adjustment with the teflon. BTW although I do use a layer of teflon sometimes, I usually prefer to not add it, but don't use natural cork anyway. Even when I do add teflon I don't use natural cork.

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-04-07 21:03

clarnibass wrote:

> Hmm... you don't adjust and then add teflon. You make the
> adjustment with the teflon.

I've seen my repairman make final adjustments sometimes by inserting a piece of fine grit abrasive between the two surfaces against the cork, pressing the pieces together and pulling the abrasive out, repeating until the needed clearance is reached. I've done the same occasionally when replacing the cork on the linkage between the thumb ring and the top LH ring. Once teflon is cemented over the cork, you couldn't sand it down any farther. Same with the cork under the upper bridge key. That's why I've asked what surfaces we're talking about so I can visualize it better.

Karl

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2020-04-07 21:35

When sanding corks, the sanding should be done gently and without compressing the cork as that will either remove too much or compress the cork and the adjustments won't last when the cork recovers.

The only instruments I use natural cork on are oboes and even then I only sand two of the main action key corks to regulate or set the venting on them (LH2 and RH2 fingerplates and the two trill keys). On all the other places where I use natural cork, I choose cork of the required thickness and don't sand them.

If you're coating tech cork with graphite, it can't be overdone or made a mess of as applying it by simply rubbing the surface with a soft pencil (2B or softer) to get even coverage is about as foolproof as it can get.

Chris.

Post Edited (2020-04-07 21:42)

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2020-04-08 09:56

>> inserting a piece of fine grit abrasive between the two surfaces against the cork, pressing the pieces together and pulling the abrasive out <<

That's one of several methods and it would work pretty poorly, too slow, or not at all, with the materials I prefer to use, regardless of adding teflon or not. I don't think I use real cork or that method anywhere on clarinets anymore, other than tenons (I used to, but prefer other materials and methods now).

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: John G. 
Date:   2020-04-08 10:51

Yes, the teflon is used in conjunction with natural cork in regards to thickness. I don't add the teflon as an afterthought.....hopefully that makes sense.

I usually only use teflon on top of/over cork when the key(s) make contact with another in a sliding type motion. The teflon doesn't grab or have any kind of "grit" like even finely sanded cork does which makes the movement of the two keys very smooth. I have two thicknesses of teflon I use. I'd have to look to get exact measurements, but trust me......they're both quite thin. I also find the smoothness of the teflon makes a cork compress and/or wear much less than it normally would. Obviously, the cork isn't bearing the brunt of the friction, the teflon is.

Lastly, I find that I use teflon more on saxophone than clarinet. Simply because there are less (if any!) keys on a typical clarinet (without articulated C#/G#, etc) that make contact with another key in a sliding type motion. On saxophone, the G# key is where I most often use it for that exact reason.....where the "finger" of the G# key makes a sliding/moving type of contact with the G# key cup.

Oh and speaking of "greasing", I'm experimenting with using pure lanolin as a replacement for standard cork grease. Any comments/opinions on pure lanolin?

Thanks!
John

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2020-04-08 14:25

Your best bet is to simply not use cork at all on any linkages as there are far better alternatives - tech cork/rubco being the main one. Natural cork has had its day as far as clarinet (and sax) keywork goes.

I still use natural cork on tenon corks (and sax crook corks) as I haven't found much to better it and provided it's well maintained and regularly greased, tenon and crook corks will last for years and why I stress never to leave instruments assembled for yonks at a time or on saxes, leaving the mouthpiece on the crook as that will compress the cork and it'll perish, then it'll be loose once taken apart.

On saxes I only use natural cork on the G# stopper if I have to (a 7mm or 8mm cork pad), but prefer to use felt and ultrasuede for the most part as that is both quiet and low friction and rubco stoppers on the palm keys. Teflon or shiny plastic tubing covering the linkages on the front F, G# and low C# is also much better than softer polythene as teflon won't tear the felt apart. Someone in Poland has even sourced small diameter bearings and fitted them to these linkages which is an excellent idea.

Chris.

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2020-04-09 08:55

>> Your best bet is to simply not use cork at all on any linkages as there are far better alternatives <<

Yes exactly. Even when I do add teflon I don't add it to cork, since I wouldn't use cork on any sliding linkages.

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: John G. 
Date:   2020-04-11 01:36

I'd have absolutely no problem using tech cork, but I've heard it doesn't sand well at all. True? For those linkages that need cork but one sheet is too thin and the next too thick, the ease of sanding natural cork makes it work.

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2020-04-11 09:01

Tech cork (aka rubber cork, aka gumi cork) is possible to sand but it's much slower. Yes it's preferable not to sand it really unless you have to.

However, two materials I use most are synthetic felt and rubber cork. The former is available at least in 0.5mm, 0.8mm, 1.2mm and 1.5mm and rubber cork is available in 0.1mm increments up to about 1.0mm and then also in pretty small steps (1.2mm, 1.5mm), though the 0.1mm inc of the thinnest sizes is not always so accurate.

I pretty much never adjust linkage by sanding (i.e. for keys that need to close together like E/B and F/C, or the bridge key). A few exceptions might some old saxophones models. For the above mentioned linkages on clarinets (and also for LH F/C, thumb ring key, etc.) I use the best thickness of material and then align (bend) the keys, which is IMO the most accurate method and what almost all factories do (except they often don't use the best material or thickness before doing that).

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2020-04-11 21:39

You shouldn't have to sand anything - you can do the adjustments by bending the keywork.

Chris.

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: John G. 
Date:   2020-04-14 10:23

clarnibass, yes......I used all available thicknesses of synthetic felt as well. Love the stuff actually.

Chris, I'll respectfully disagree with you on that. Will I *sometimes* bend keywork? Yes, but only if something is quite out of whack or to make a minor/fine adjustment. I personally prefer to use "materials" (if not needed to be too think) to balance things out.

John

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2020-04-14 22:22

I prefer to have even thicknesses of materials than having to sand anything. I do use a natural cork stopper on the throat A key and trim and sand that, but that is the exception.

On Buffets the geometry and relationship of the RH F/C key is often dreadful and using thick silencing materials on the linkage only ends up making the action of the LH F/C key feel stodgy. Getting the linkage to sit parallel with a gap of around 0.5mm can be done, but it takes some doing and careful bending to achieve that. Then the action can be made nice and snappy instead of having too much travel and spongy.

Chris.

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-04-15 00:51

Chris P wrote:

> You shouldn't have to sand anything - you can do the
> adjustments by bending the keywork.
>

John G. wrote:

> Chris, I'll respectfully disagree with you on that. Will I
> *sometimes* bend keywork? Yes, but only if something is quite
> out of whack or to make a minor/fine adjustment.

It sparked memories when I read these two posts.

When I was in high school and then college, Hans Moennig did most of my repair work. He was always bending things - not major movement, but small adjustments - moving pad cups or slightly tilting them to level pads, adjusting the bridge keys or the RH rings, etc... That's how he would get pads to seat and linkages to fit and work maximally once he had mounted the pad or the cork.

There was another excellent repairman in Philadelphia at the time, Leonard Zapf, who worked out of his family's store in North Philly. Hans had the greater national reputation, but Leonard also did great work and had a following in the local area. Leonard disliked bending keys to adjust anything, and I never saw him do it. He carefully selected pads for their thickness, sanded bridge key and thumb key corks and, I think, even the 'crow's-foot" key to make them work correctly He even mentioned once to me how much he disagreed with Hans's key bending.

They were both great craftsmen.

Karl

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: John G. 
Date:   2020-04-17 11:19

Karl and Chris....

Chris, I completely understand what you're saying. I should perhaps clarify that I DO in fact do slight bending of keys, key cups, etc. at times. Unfortunately, I don't always work on professional level instruments and if I had to bend everything to fit well, there would literally be no end in sight! I think there's a (for lack of a better term) "happy medium" between our two different ways of approaching this topic. Then again, I don't think we're that far apart on it actually.
On higher/better quality instruments, I find I do more slight adjustments via the key manipulating approach than compensating with cork/materials. That's not to say I simply put a stupidly large piece of cork/synthetic felt on a key from a student line clarinet and call it a day. I'll bend to get things as close as I can, but often find there's still some "play" that needs to be eliminated by using cork, synthetic felt or a very thin piece of sheet teflon.

Karl, I agree that thickness of pads, how much glue/shellac is used in the key cups, etc. all play a role in this. As I mentioned above to Chris, If the keys (on the crow's foot for example) are even and where they need to be, I'll do the last bit of "fine tuning" using my preferred materials. Taking into consideration the consistency of how far keys open, etc. is also vital. It's a balancing act for sure and just like with many other things in life, there's more than one acceptable way of getting to the finish line!

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: richard smith 
Date:   2020-04-18 23:27

NO !!!!!!!!!

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: John G. 
Date:   2020-04-26 11:24

richard smith wrote:

> NO !!!!!!!!!

"NO" what, Richard?!

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: donald 
Date:   2020-04-26 16:49

I imagine, No to putting cork grease on cork that is not on a tenon. NO was my initial reaction to seeing this thread, some time ago, but I kept it to myself.

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 Re: greasing other corks
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2020-04-26 17:53

Thanks all for the replies, and I enjoyed the discussion.

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