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 Best way to clean mold?
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-10-19 23:51

Hi all,

Got a call from a band mate who said that he opened his "spare" R13 case to find the clarinet "destroyed": all wood covered in mold, most of the springs not working because they rusted to the point of breaking.

Apparently, there was a water leak from the refrigerator that dripped down into the basement, and onto the clarinet case, that was just under the fridge.

He said that he saw small amount of water on top of the case and wiped it off, opened the case and did not see any water in there so closed it back and never looked again until now (few months later).
I suspect that the fabric inside the case absorbed some water, and, while being in the cold basement, it allowed the mold to grow.

Now, all wooden parts are covered in greyish mold, inside and outside; more than half of the springs broken (some just rusted completely). Some rust leaked onto the wood as well.

Even though I do not fix clarinet for the living, I offered to take a look at it and see what can be done.
Of course, all the pads, corks and springs will need to be replaced.

However, the wood need to be cleaned first, and I am not sure what to use to get the mold off the wood. I used one alcohol prep (like nurses use) to clean the wood a little, but figured out I ask here before moving forward.

Thanks



Post Edited (2021-10-20 00:00)

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2021-10-19 23:59

If it’s rusted to the point where half the springs are broken it’s trash. At best you can have your friend sell it for spare parts for a few hundred dollars and use the money to buy a dehumidifier.

The problem is that if the springs are completely rusted the same is likely true of the screws. Having to pay a tech to remove dozens of rusty screws in addition to springs and an overhaul (not to mention a new case) will put the repair cost over the cost of a used R13. I’ve seen water damaged clarinets many times and they are rarely economical to fix.

Unfortunately this is an expensive lesson to learn, instruments should never be stored in a basement.

-Jdbassplayer

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-10-20 00:05

jdbassplayer wrote:

> If it’s rusted to the point where half the springs are broken
> it’s trash.
>
> The problem is that if the springs are completely rusted the
> same is likely true of the screws. Having to pay a tech to
> remove dozens of rusty screws in addition to springs and an
> overhaul (not to mention a new case) will put the repair cost
> over the cost of a used R13. I’ve seen water damaged
> clarinets many times and they are rarely economical to fix.
>
> Unfortunately this is an expensive lesson to learn, instruments
> should never be stored in a basement.
>
> -Jdbassplayer

Hi Jdbassplayer,

Thanks for quick reply-I was able to turn all the screws except one rod (throat G#), so that is not a problem.

I am not sure if anyone sells the "R13 spring kit", but my friend wants it to be fixed, and I think I can do the springs and the pads.

Just not sure how to start the wood cleaning.

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-10-20 00:06
Attachment:  Mold and rust.JPG (1101k)

Tried to add an attachment to my OP, but it would not go load.

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2021-10-20 00:08

That’s good at least, you lucked out there. In that case it may be salvageable but it is going to be a lot of work. First I would start by removing all posts and keys and give the wood a good oil bath.

I would definitely suggest getting some spring removal pliers from Music Medic. They will help a ton. For springs you can buy an assortment of blued needle springs from China on eBay for under $20. They work great and aren’t as brittle as the stock springs. You’ll also need a hammer and a small anvil to flatten them.

-Jdbassplayer

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2021-10-20 00:12

Also try some Murphy’s oil soap. It should get most of the crud off. You can scrub the body with a soft brush and water in addition to the oil soap.

-Jdbassplayer

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-10-20 01:04
Attachment:  042.JPG (1698k)

jdbassplayer wrote:

> Also try some Murphy’s oil soap. It should get most of the
> crud off. You can scrub the body with a soft brush and water in
> addition to the oil soap.
>
> -Jdbassplayer


OK thanks,

I was wondering if the all the posts need to be removed. I understand that it would be easier to work on those that need new springs. What about those that can be cleaned in place?

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2021-10-20 01:16

Posts without any springs you could probably leave in as long as they are tight. In my experience water damaged clarinets tend to experience a lot of loose posts as the wood has shifted from excessive humidity so make sure anything that is loose is tightened with thread or another method. Personally I like taking everything off the body when there is that much rust staining but that is your call. Best of luck! Do post some photos when you get it fixed up.

-Jdbassplayer

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-10-20 02:04

jdbassplayer wrote:

> Posts without any springs you could probably leave in as long
> as they are tight. In my experience water damaged clarinets
> tend to experience a lot of loose posts as the wood has shifted
> from excessive humidity so make sure anything that is loose is
> tightened with thread or another method. Personally I like
> taking everything off the body when there is that much rust
> staining but that is your call. Best of luck! Do post some
> photos when you get it fixed up.
>
> -Jdbassplayer

Thanks a lot-
I did not see any loose posts. The rusty ones are stained by the rust from the springs, but the posts did not rust because they are nickel-plated (If I understand correctly).

Most of the springs rusted as well as the little bits of metal under the flat springs (side D/A#, F# keys), and those 2 little metal things under the side trill key springs.
The G# throat key rod will need to be drilled out- I will take it to someone who can do it.
Will take it from there.

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2021-10-20 17:50

I once bought an instrument in rather similar condition from eBay - a 1977 Buffet S1. I certainly encourage you to have yours fixed, as my wreck plays beautifully now. All main screws and rods on the keywork were recoverable with oiling, but many springs were rusted away, and indeed in the case of the A key the little screw holding the spring to the key also disintegrated. Having that redrilled was the only point at which I needed professional help.

Regarding getting mould off the body, what I did was use silver polish wadding ("Silvo" in the UK). This is extremely light abrasive in oil, soaked into cotton wool, and it cleaned things up perfectly, leaving the body looking shiny and new.

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2021-10-20 23:57

Leave the posts in. Best to have it professionally overhauled.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-10-21 01:15

Steven Ocone wrote:

> Leave the posts in. Best to have it professionally overhauled.
>

Steve,
Thanks- it probably would not make "economical" sense to be overhauled by a pro (like mentioned in the post above).

Besides a crack in the bell, I found two more (superficial) cracks on the lower joint.

If my friend has to pay for drilling out one screw and one spring removal + cost of springs and pads, then it would make sense (I am not charging him anything).

Also, no one knows if the bore has changed or not, so it's one thing to spend $150-$200 and find out that the clarinet plays out of tune, or pay $1K and then find out it was not worth doing...

I have done re-pads and springs on mine and friends' clarinets, but nothing big like this.
Will post pics and update on playing once it's done.

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: Djudy 
Date:   2021-10-21 15:42

Tea tree oil is a desinfectant and is used on wood. I'd try to clean it up well first to get off all the spores and mycelia (oil soap?) then treat with the tea tree oil for a deep cleaning and desinfection. Be careful, it's toxic. You could let it rest a while to make sure nothing grows back. Then I'd clean again to remove tea tree residue that you won't want on your hands when handling the instrument. Good luck!





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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: DougR 
Date:   2021-10-22 02:50

Some great ideas on this thread! Obviously, you're throwing out the case, right? (Since it undoubtedly harbors mould spores inside the fabric padding that can't be removed.) I like Djudy's idea about getting rid of the spores and mycelia--don't know if a warm oil bath would kill them but if some sort of lethal remedy isn't applied they can grow back.

Good luck with the project! Hope you'll post some work-in-progress updates!

ETA: obviously whatever you'd use to kill the superficial mould on the outside (tea tree oil, oil soap, whatever) would need to be used in the tone holes and bore as well, wouldn't it?



Post Edited (2021-10-22 02:53)

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-10-23 09:58

Djudy wrote:

"Tea tree oil is a desinfectant and is used on wood. I'd try to clean it up well first to get off all the spores and mycelia (oil soap?) then treat with the tea tree oil for a deep cleaning and desinfection. Be careful, it's toxic. You could let it rest a while to make sure nothing grows back. Then I'd clean again to remove tea tree residue that you won't want on your hands when handling the instrument".

Djudy,

Thanks! That's probably what I need to use. I cleaned the wood outside using bore oil, but the Tea tree oil should be much better as a desinfectant. Then will use bore oil again.

The case will need to go- it is/was actually a nice one, with locks similar to current Prestige case locks... but looking for a used Buffet case or aftermarket one similar to Buffet and transplanting insides would not make any sense.

The main thing is to find out how it will play after all the repairs are finished.

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: hans 
Date:   2021-11-01 21:12

m1964,

Concrobium is safe if used according to the instructions. It should kill the mold and prevent regrowth from the roots.

Here is a link where you can learn more and download a MSDS:
https://www.concrobium.com/en-can/products/mold-control-spray/

Regards,
Hans

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: eac 2017
Date:   2021-11-15 00:29

You might consider removing all the fabric and supporting material from inside the case leaving only the shell. You could then clean the shell with tree oil and replacing the interior with new materials if you want to take on another project. Lots of information on the bulletin board about making custom cases

Liz Leckey

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 Re: Best way to clean mold?
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-11-15 12:28

Thanks a lot to everyone who replied to my post.

I finished the restoration, with one remaining problem: tenons do not fit into corresponding sockets due to wood bunding. The middle tenon can be fit with small effort, but the barrel and bell are no go.

Both bell and barrel from my clarinet fit fine, so I think that the original bell and barrel need to be reamed.

BTW, it sounds nice with barrel and bell from my clarinet, relatively good tuning too.

However, it was a project I underestimated in difficulty and time needed.
In a shop, it could have been done in a day or less (I think...)



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