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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for a single high quality key lubricant that will work well for the entire action without disassembly. Does Hetman medium key oil have a viscosity low enough to wick inside the key barrels when applied to an assembled horn? I prefer heavy oils in general, but as I'm not planning to disassemble at this time, I'd like something that can penetrate well from the outside.

Others have remarked that Alisyn heavy key oil or Ultimax medium key oil might not be as effective for an assembled horn:

...Alisyn heavy duty key oil...is too thick to apply as effectively when the instrument is fully assembled.
The Alisyn Heavy Duty oil and the Ultimax Medium Viscosity oil are both what I would consider medium viscosity...
How does Hetman medium key oil compare to these two? Is it thin enough to wick in and thick enough to stay in place? I would appreciate other recommendations as well.
 

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AFAIK it is similar in viscosity. Is your horn new or recently mechanically overhauled? If the keys are perfectly fit, you'll probably need a thin oil. If you've got a bit of wiggle room, a medium would probably work. As you know the thinner it is, the better it will penetrate but the less it will stay in the keywork and the thinner of a barrier it will provide.

Just be sure to wipe it off after it has wicked in.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Is your horn new or recently mechanically overhauled?
The instrument in question still has relatively "tight" action. There's no noticeable "wiggle room." However, I'm concerned that a light oil won't provide sufficient protection. Is Hetman medium too thick to wick into the joints of a properly-adjusted horn?
 

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Both Ultimax Medium oil and Alisyn Heavy Duty oil can wick to the keys. I found they sometimes do and sometimes don't. There isn't necessarily any difference in the tightness of the keys when it wicks or not, so my impression is, it can wick, but if it doesn't it simply means there is enough (of something, whatever it is) inside the hinge so the oil can't get in. It's not because the oil is too thick or the keys are too tight. I've had this type of oil wick into keys in optimal condition so it definitely can. I have no experience with Hetman.
 

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What Clarnibass wrote.

I regard Alisyn Heavy Duty as a medium viscosity, and ideal for a one-oil-does-all lubricant, if that is what you are looking for. (Though probably too thick for the very high precision pivot tubes of professional quality flutes or oboes, and certain Howarth clarinet pivot tubes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I regard Alisyn Heavy Duty as a medium viscosity, and ideal for a one-oil-does-all lubricant, if that is what you are looking for.
Unfortunately, Alisyn Heavy Duty doesn't come in a handy needle oiler like Hetman and Ultimax do. Where might one acquire such a device that works well for oiling woodwinds?
 

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Although the Alisyn doesn't have the small metal needle the end is still a very small plastic end that works almost the same. The Alisyn also uses a screw cap which is beter if you plan putting the oil in your case (probably better not anyway). The smaller metal needle oilers are a bit easier to reach some places but it's not a huge deal IMO. But you can just get Ultimax Medium, it's pretty much the same as Alisyn Heavy Duty (I've tried both). Unless you order Ultimax Medium, get the oil with a sticker saying Medium, but it is actually Ultimax High inside, which happened to me once. Hopfeully just a one time mistake. Or you can google for needle oiler and see if you can find some. Or you can look in some local stores if they have any. Or you can wait to see if someone can verify the viscosity of the Hetman (I assume the reason you don't want Ultimax is because of the price?). Or you can gamble on the Hetman to have the same viscosity. Or you can buy Ultimax, once it's gone (though this will take forever) buy Alisyn and use the Ultimax needle oiler. Or...?
 

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Why don't you want to remove the screw or rod to do it right? It's no big deal, really.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Why don't you want to remove the screw or rod to do it right? It's no big deal, really.
Well, tearing apart the entire horn for cleaning and lubrication does take much more time than oiling it while assembled. It's a matter of convenience, really.
 

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OK, it's your horn so have at it. But I will tell you this: if I had a tech whose priority was convienence I'd fire his butt. Afterall, it's not something that needs done every week (if done right):bluewink: Good luck.
 

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OK, it's your horn so have at it. But I will tell you this: if I had a tech whose priority was convienence I'd fire his butt. Afterall, it's not something that needs done every week (if done right):bluewink: Good luck.
It is just as important to remove the old dirty oil once in a while. This can only be done through disassembly.
 

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It is just as important to remove the old dirty oil once in a while. This can only be done through disassembly.
This is very true, and illustrated perfectly to me a couple of weeks ago.

I bought this Conn mentioned here: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?126151-Potential-purchase-worth-investigating

A few leaks, but it played. It was filthy, though, and when the rods came out there was grease on them, but the grease was so old and viscous you could hold the ends of the rods and turn them, and the whole key would turn with it. The first one like that made me thing there was a bend causing the binding. It was astonishing - you could turn the key on the rod with a bit of force, but it was a real struggle to actually slide the rod out from the barrel.

Lighter fuel, pipe cleaners and 20 seconds and key was swinging freely on the rod.

If I had stuck a bit of oil on it assembled I doubt it would have much impact on the goo on the rod. To oil the action maximally, surely you need to start with clean metal contact that is enhanced and preserved by lubrication, rather than hope that whatever is lurking on your rods (and you may have no idea what the last person put there) is thinned a bit by new oil?

Nobody could argue against the fact that oiling it assembled is better than not oiling it at all, and people may not fancy taking rods out of the upper and lower stacks, but you are only a screwdriver, lighter fuel and pipe cleaner away from having a go with the side and palm keys and other easy to get to areas to clean and oil.
 

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Well, tearing apart the entire horn for cleaning and lubrication does take much more time than oiling it while assembled. It's a matter of convenience, really.
Takes less than an hour in fact, admittedly the first few times will take you a bit longer, but like everything do it enough times and its like riding a bike
 

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But the average DIYer will take a lot longer, probably have parts left over at the end, probably lose a screw or two, probably knock off several key corks, maybe bend a stack key rod, put a pslit pivot tube out of alignment, and maybe break a spring or two (with his finger flesh surrounding the spring!)

If the technician does it, that is an hour more to charge. Well say 58 minutes more to charge for. Or 58 minutes free work.

I still maintain, from 35+ years experience, that providing that suitable, top quality lubricant is used, and nobody has put silly materials (such as viscous grease) in there in the first place, then removing keys for lubrication is rarely necessary to keep wear to an acceptable minimum. I have never seen excessive wear resulting from this approach.
 

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I still maintain, from 35+ years experience, that providing that suitable, top quality lubricant is used, and nobody has put silly materials (such as viscous grease) in there in the first place, then removing keys for lubrication is rarely necessary to keep wear to an acceptable minimum. I have never seen excessive wear resulting from this approach.
Luckily you dont see much work in New Zealand, (but hey thats the local industry "right[rolleyes]") I see massive improvements gained from removing a key and cleaing the hinge tube and re-oiling the rod before re-assembly, I also note an improvement when using grease in the key pivot points to plain oil.

But that being said, thats not what the topic is about, any lubrication is better than none, buy steve howards Haynes saxophone manual and you will be off to a great start, I had a baritone (brass not sax) that was in for repair today, they used water as a lubricant for the pistons, a little bit of oil would have gone a long way, so any lubrication is better than none
 

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An oil of the viscosity of Ultimax medium is absolutely fine for the purpose. If you pop a drop of it at each end of the key barrel on a noisy key you'll notice an almost imediate dampening effect. As you subsequently play the instrument the oil will work its way along the length of the barrel. If you're really worried about penetration you can use a 'carrier'. This is a volatile solvent that temporarily thins the oil, then evaporates. Good old cigarette lighter fluid is ideal. Oil as per usual, then place one *small* drop of the fluid at the *upper* end of each key barrel. This will maximise penetration and will even help to cut through any dried grease. A couple of days later and it will have evaporated, leaving the oil in place.
If you like you can pre-mix the oil - 80% oil, 20% carrier seems to be about right.
If you want to see it in action, squirt two one inch diameter pools of cigarette lighter fluid on a plate and pop a drop of your oil into one of the pools. Give it a couple of minutes.

Personally speaking, I wouldn't bother - and it's a technique I only use when I need to assess the playability of a gunged up horn in a hurry.

Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the input, everyone. It seems that Alisyn Heavy Duty and Ultimax Medium receive more recommendations on SOTW than Hetman Medium. I'm glad to hear that these are capable of wicking into the hinge tubes of an assembled horn. I would still like to verify the viscosity of Hetman Medium. Are there any Hetman Medium users who could compare it to Alisyn Heavy Duty and Ultimax Medium?
 

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Yes, the average do it yourselfer may do the things you suggested. The average do it yourselfer also puts too much oil on, doesn't wipe off the excess, gets it on pads and more likely corks where it will react with the glue and make them fall off. Oil also collects dirt and makes a kind of lapping compound.

IMO if the key fit is good and the tech cleaned and oiled the keys when last put together then there is not much of a reason for a player to need an oiler. A few drops strategically placed once or twice a year by the player, and a disasssembly, clean and oil by a tech ever year or two should be good. Too many people think bent and binding keys are a lack of lubricant and just try to oil away the problem without fixing what is really wrong. Can you tell I hate working on greasy oily instruments? :)
 

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Well said, Stephen.

...Too many people think bent and binding keys are a lack of lubricant and just try to oil away the problem without fixing what is really wrong.
Hear, hear!
 
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