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 Rust epidemic
Author: Bill 
Date:   2022-04-20 19:53

I noticed since moving from Washington DC to Maine that the German silver keys of my vintage clarinets are all rusting. In DC we had central air, which I think kept the interior drier during summer, whereas in Maine (until recently) A/C of any sort was unheard of.

It's stressful for me because of the number of instruments I have. I just do xxxx steel wool being super-careful with the pads and the debris. Silver polish doesn't touch it.

Bill Fogle
Ellsworth, Maine
(formerly Washington, DC)

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 Re: Rust epidemic
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2022-04-20 20:08
Attachment:  B4ABE376-DB15-4BE4-9D35-49F564D055A1.jpeg (1263k)

Not really much you can do to prevent it. I definitely wouldn’t use steel wool though, that will wear down the keys fast. Personally I just leave it an enjoy the patina. In the sax world raw brass instruments are praised for the beautiful patina they develop. It’s a shame clarinetists don’t feel the same way, I love the soft golden color of tarnished nickel silver.


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 Re: Rust epidemic
Author: super20dan 
Date:   2022-04-21 01:30

when did buffet use the leblanc elephant trunk style neck?

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 Re: Rust epidemic
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2022-04-21 01:59
Attachment:  8C04B3F3-C9DE-4678-905E-38CAEEE16DCB.jpeg (1356k)

It’s a bass clarinet in C, hence the shortened “swan neck”.


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 Re: Rust epidemic
Author: hans 
Date:   2022-04-21 07:06

Steel wool sheds small particles. Maybe you could try stainless steel polish instead?

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 Re: Rust epidemic
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2022-04-21 22:34

Hi Bill,

I grew up in the West of Scotland which is similarly very humid, and cars used to rust very fast there too, so that the body work got destroyed in a very short time. Might it be worth having one room in your house where you control the humidity to keep your instrument safe?

The air is very dry where I am and we use a humidifier to keep the humidity up a bit.


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 Re: Rust epidemic
Author: MichaelW 
Date:   2022-04-21 22:37

Some years ago I got a set of 19th century C. Kruspe clarinets. The German silver keys were heavily corroded (I wouldn't call it rust but dezincification; the copper and zinc components of German silver separate on the surface under atmospheric conditions). I used rotating brass brushes on a Dremel or Proxxon tool and got quite a smooth surface without bruises. But be careful and wear glasses:The brass bristles tend to fly off and are not easily removed from the eye.

(Sorry, I missed attaching pictures here; see next posting)

Post Edited (2022-04-21 23:25)

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 Re: Rust epidemic
Author: MichaelW 
Date:   2022-04-21 23:19
Attachment:  Kruspe B_rep.jpg (306k)
Attachment:  Brushes.jpg (259k)


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 Re: Rust epidemic
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2022-04-23 11:08

Hi Bill,

I just found this online:

It has a bunch of information about coping with environmental factors in the long term care of older instruments.

The good bit is under the heading: "Strategies for Environmental Control
Relative Humidity and Temperature "

Adult learner, Grade 3
Equipment: Yamaha Custom CX Bb, Fobes 10K CF mp,
Legere Soprano Sax American Cut #2, Vandoren Optimum German Lig.

Post Edited (2022-04-23 11:08)

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