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Woodwind Tech Tips

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Woodwind Instrument Care Tips

Contributed by: Betony O'Connor - Burr Ridge Shop Manager

  • Waxed dental floss makes a great temporary tenon (joint) cork - Works for clarinet, oboe, bassoon tenons and bocals, English horn bocals!  Just wrap the tenon with the floss until joints fit without any wobble and cut the end.
  • Did you know that rubber bands will quickly corrode silver? - Instead of using a rubber band to keep the loose trill keys on a flute in place, use a pony tail holder with no metal rivet!
  • Flute foot joint or head joint difficult to put on? - Chances are good that dirt build up is causing your problem.  Assuming nothing is dented, take an ordinary candle or paraffin wax and rub all over the tenon.  Insert tenon into socket using a twisting motion.  Twist back and forth a couple of time and then take the joints apart.  Clean tenon and socket well with rag.  Try putting joints together again! It should be much easier than before!
  • At what temperature and humidity should my wood instrument be kept? - True woodwind instruments (like wood clarinets and oboes) are usually made of Grenadilla wood.  This wood is very dense and sturdy, but as with any wood it cannot handle extremes of temperature or humidity.  A good rule for your instrument is that if you are comfortable, your instrument will be comfortable.  In the winter when the humidity drops, you will need to oil the bore of the instrument to keep moisture in the wood.  During any temperature extreme, do not leave the instrument outside or in a car as it can cause the wood and pads to warp and damage.