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Discussion Starter #1
G'day all,

I have a bunch of school Clarinets that need to have the tenon corks replaced.

I've done a bit of looking around and read the musicmedic and Stephen Howard articles. Good stuff.

I've removed the old cork, or what was left of it, and scraped off most of the glue. I'd like to do the job properly and get the tenons clean before I apply new corks.
I read somewhere that alcohol based solvents, such as Methylated Spirits will damage plastic or ABS resin Clarinets.
I'm wondering if Mineral Turpentine or Lighter Fluid would be appropriate to use as a cleaner?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and any tips on replacing tenon corks would be also welcome.

Thanks

DP
 

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The following article describes the process better than I could. Remains to say that it isn't all that difficult - just let the contact/impact cement dry long enough before assembling the cork. As a hint, wind the cork in clockwise direction, so that when you "screw" the joints together, the overlap isn't sheared off. (I've seen people simply push the parts together, that makes me always cringe, it's so ... un-engineery)
http://www.musicmedic.com/info/articles/num_3.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, but as I said, I've read the musicmedic article, (I have their repair kit) and as good as it is, it doesn't answer my question. Maybe Gordon, John, Steve Sklar or some other tech can help here?

I have seen a tech just glue the new cork on without really bothering to clean up the tenon, but this strikes me a a little haphazard.

With regard to glueing the corks on clockwise to avoid shearing, that would certainly help, provided the kids all put the clarinet together the same way. They don't! :D
Thanks again.
 

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Hi,
I've done a few tenons in my time and to be truthful I don't clean them up perfectly and it doesn't seem to matter. Having said that, all I do after the cork is scraped off is to grab a piece of course string, tie it to the door knob, wrap it around the tenon in the groove and 'saw' it backward and forward under light tension. Job done.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
jwarner said:
Hi,
I've done a few tenons in my time and to be truthful I don't clean them up perfectly and it doesn't seem to matter. Having said that, all I do after the cork is scraped off is to grab a piece of course string, tie it to the door knob, wrap it around the tenon in the groove and 'saw' it backward and forward under light tension. Job done.
That's a brilliant "outside the square" approach. Thanks for that. I'll give it a go. What is a safe to use, contact cement solvent for plastic clarinets such as the ubiquitous school Yamaha?
 

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Dog Pants said:
Thanks, but as I said, I've read the musicmedic article
Oy, now you mention it... <blush>

I'm with jwarner - just remove the glue mechanically (I use a screwdriver and my army knife). As long as there aren't any glue boogers left...

Per the glue - I use PVC-safe contact cement (used to lay vinyl kitchen floors etc).
 

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Dog Pants said:
....I've removed the old cork, or what was left of it, and scraped off most of the glue. I'd like to do the job properly and get the tenons clean before I apply new corks.
I read somewhere that alcohol based solvents, such as Methylated Spirits will damage plastic or ABS resin Clarinets.
I'm wondering if Mineral Turpentine or Lighter Fluid would be appropriate to use as a cleaner?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and any tips on replacing tenon corks would be also welcome...
Lighter fluid generally refers to a liquid, more often used now as a solvent/cleaner, which is liquid when unpressurised at room temperature. It was used to refill a vintage style lighter that had a wick. I think modern lighters use pressurised butane or propane - not suitable.

Definitely, at least one of the alcohols wrecks the structure of at least some plastics. The symptom would be that some time in the future the tenon simply breaks off.

I am also pretty sure that either turpentine or what we in NZ call Kerosene, does the same thing to some plastics.

I have never had a problem with what we LOCALLY (in NZ) call "White Spirits". However I have heard that white spirits refers to other materials, perhaps kerosene in some parts of the world. I heard that there were moves to get rid of the term because the ambiguity could constitute a safety hazard.

It is the stuff that is used in self-pressurising campers stoves. Unlike kerosene, which behaves like a thin oil, it evaporates very quickly, leaving no residue.

I used to buy it by the litre form service stations or hardware stores, or camping goods stores, as Mobil's "Pegasol", or Shell's "Shellite", or simply as "Fuelite". Then I bought it in bulk, called "Pegasol-AA". It seems there are a wide variety of industrial Pegasols! But last time it arrived with a label "White-spirits-light". Seemingly the same stuff.

However decades ago, I used to use "lighter fluid". I suspect that it is the same stuff as all those other names. It sure smells and behaves similarly.

I hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Gordon!
I have a tin of "Zippo" lighter fluid. Made in the USA and used for refilling the old style cigarette lighters. On the back of the tin, it says "petroleum distillate-naptha"

I'm not sure that this is the same as "White Spirits."

I'll head to the hardware store tomorrow to get a bottle of White Spirits.

thanks again.
 

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Naptha, Lighter fluid (Zippo & others), camp fuel and probably white spirits -- all the same thing as Gordon described them.
Hans
 

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I hope none of you guys have your alcahol burner going while you do these repairs. Here's the El Cheapo method of cleaning those tenons. Plain rubbing alcohol and a small brass bristled brush. You know,, the ones that look like a toothbrush. I've used this method for years on plastic and wood clarinets. It gets off the majority of 'boogars' and any residual cork grease. Plain old fasioned contact cement works just fine. I haven't found that the direction of the wrap makes much difference. Every student assembles their instrument differently. It's just getting them to use that nifty little tube of cork grease for something than case filler.
 

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I hope none of you guys have your alcahol burner going while you do these repairs. Here's the El Cheapo method of cleaning those tenons. Plain rubbing alcohol and a small brass bristled brush. You know,, the ones that look like a toothbrush. I've used this method for years on plastic and wood clarinets. It gets off the majority of 'boogars' and any residual cork grease. Plain old fasioned contact cement works just fine. I haven't found that the direction of the wrap makes much difference. Every student assembles their instrument differently. It's just getting them to use that nifty little tube of cork grease for something than case filler.
 

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bandmommy said:
I hope none of you guys have your alcohol burner going while you do these repairs. ..
No. But I often have my Bunsen burner going. The presence of the solvent is normally highly localised, and so is the flame. I have experimented with what would happen if the slightly impregnated square of toilet tissue caught on fire. No big deal... Whoof!- gone.

Of course a fire extinguisher is handy in case.

It is probably a lot less risky than having hot fat in a kitchen, near a flame.

And of course if I am scrubbing away at a surface with solvent, and splashing it around a bit, I certainly turn off the burner first.
 

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bandmommy said:
..Plain rubbing alcohol and a small brass bristled brush. You know,, the ones that look like a toothbrush. I've used this method for years on plastic and wood clarinets. It gets off the majority of 'boogars' and any residual cork grease. ....
Rubbing alcohol is isopropyl alcohol.
Most plastic clarinets are made from ABS plastic.

One of my chemical compatibility charts says that the compatibility between these is "moderate attack; limited life". That chart does not list naptha.

Another chart lists compatibility bewteen ABS and naptha as "moderate effect - fair". It gives no rating for isopropyl alcohol. Incidentally, for methyl alcohol, and also toluene (which is in most contact adhesives), it gives "Severe effect - not recommended"

Another table gives "Severe - Don't use" for ABS with both naptha and isopropyl. http://www.flw.com/material/index.html

So I would be still expose the plastic to the solvent as little as possible. I rub off the remains of glue with a toilet tissue folded and dosed with a few drops, rather than immersing the tenon and scrubbing it.

Note that there are a variety of types of "naptha" (which comes under many names) - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naphtha - so we may not be comparing apples with apples.
 

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No need to immerse the tenon into the iso. Just the brush will do. When you're done, IF you're worried about possibly degrading the plastic, wash with soap and warm water. I haven't messed a horn up yet with this method. However the worst solvent I tried on a plastic horn was acetone. Don't go there. It's ok for wood though. Again, wash with soap and water before applying the cork.
It's good to know that you excercise caution while working with solvents. Just remember that with some the fumes are just as flamable as the liquid. Hence all the idiot warnings on the tubes, jars, and bottles.
 

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A bench peg like this one is a very useful tool to have when doing tenon corks. http://www.thebandroom.biz/01_item_action.php/items.php?id=694 It is useful in cleaning the old glue residue by ragging the tenon with a strip of cloth. A few drops of alcohol or naptha added with a Q tip will not hurt the surface and speeds up the process. The bench peg is a must if any sanding needs to be done to shape and fit the new cork.

I know Gordon disagrees, but I like to melt paraffin wax into the new cork after it is shaped and sanded. It fills in the pores, cuts down on the need for much cork grease, and seems to make the cork wear better and last longer IMO.

John
 

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I used a bench peg for about an hour, about 30 yers ago. I certainly don't need one for fitting and sanding tenon corks, with zero damage to the tenon material.

There is seldom only one way to do a job well.
 

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I started with an old file, 150 mm blade x 2.5 mm x 14 mm.
I ground the bulk of the teeth off, and use contact glue to neatly cover the faces with 150 grit sand paper.

After I cut the cork strip to width and bevel the end for the join, I lay it along the edge of a flat surface, and use my file to sand a 45 degree bevel along one edge of the strip, until the cork thickness at the edge is much the same as the depth of the cork groove. Then I round this chamfer off a little where it meets the main face of the cork strip. Do this to both outer edges of the cork strip.

Glue the cork on, and trim off excess at the lap joint with a knife. Then sit the clarinet joint horizontal on my knee, and use the same file to adjust the cork thickness. Of course I do not need to 'file' the edges of the cork, because I have already chamfered them. I just file the centre of it, working around the tenon, and resting the side of the file against the side of the end knuckle of my left index finger, as a guide, so that the file does not stray sideways and inadvertently contact the timber wall where the tenon meets the body.

See attached photo.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Gordon,
Thanks for the photo. Sick minds think alike. ;) The idea of trying to sand a bevel on the edges of the cork after installation, sounded both tricky and fraught with danger to the body of the instrument. I did as you describe and beveled the edges before installation. I'll try both methods of sanding and see which is most efficient. I cut some strips from a belt sander to use in sanding. I also use the file and sandpaper method described by Gordon for many other jobs.
For any other members considering giving this a go, my best advice, after spending a whole day doing this on all the school's clarinets, is to be patient, do a few dummy runs, and "LET THE CEMENT DRY BEFORE YOU BRING THE CORK AND TENON TOGETHER."

Thanks to all for the tips. DP
 
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