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Discussion Starter #1
Why is a thicker key oil recommented for larger woodwind instruments?

Also car grease is recommended for pivot screws. Does this substance also have a lubricating function at the joint between pivot screw and solid hidge rod?

Is 3-in 1 oil usable?
 

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There was a thread up a couple of days ago that ended up being a lot about this question; I can't find it now, but it was a thread Al Stevens initiated, about having a sticky G# key, cleaning the rod, and oiling the horn: there ensued a lot of conversation about oil.
 

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Reedsplinter said:
There was a thread up a couple of days ago that ended up being a lot about this question; I can't find it now, but it was a thread Al Stevens initiated, about having a sticky G# key, cleaning the rod, and oiling the horn: there ensued a lot of conversation about oil.
Right: here it is: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=65912
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you Reedsplitter.

However the question remains. why is a thicker oil better than a thinner one?

Why car grease on the pivot screws?
 

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The thicker the oil, the longer it holds up, the moreplay in the keys it can take up. Grease of any kind should be used on pivots because the pivot oil areas can dry up really quickly and the grease will last much longer.
 

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Things to consider:

  • Grease is much slower to evaporate, but that may not be so for synthetic oils.
  • Grease is more effective at damping noise as metal hits metal across a tiny gap where there is a little play. It does this far better when small contact areas are involved, such as pivot point screws.
  • Grease does not migrate out of a pivot.
  • Grease is too viscous for pivots with a precision fit of larger contacting surfaces. Too much friction. (An oboe with grease in pivot tubes just would not function!)
  • Grease in a pivot tube may be too much friction for the spring to move the key fast.
  • You cannot rely on capillary action to get grease to seep to the bearing surfaces. The pivots must be disassembled to apply it.
  • Grease does not migrate from a pivot to be absorbed into some contacting fabric while the instrument is in the case or leaning against clothing.
  • If grease is used to fill a very sloppy pivot, then that pivot may sound and feel smooth, but the grease still allows movement so that the resulting unreliability of key alignment and linkages remains.
  • I suspect that when greases do dry up, they leave more gummy residue than an equivalent oil, because they have additives, used for thickening them. (I'm not certain of this.)
  • I've probably missed quite a few more.
 

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Key lubricants

Great points, Gordon!
I've been very pleased with the Ultimax lubricants from MusicMedic.com.The key oils come in three viscosities (low, medium, and high) and a pivot grease. All four of these can be mixed with each other to provide the perfect thickness for any situation. On hinge tubes, the longer the tube is, the lighter the oil viscosity should be to prevent drag. On short tubes like side C and A#, the heavier oil works well. Adding a small amount of the compatible grease quiets Selmer-style tilting Bb touchpieces and gets the last bit out of neck octave keys without causing the key to become lethargic.

http://www.musicmedic.com/catalog/categories/cat_31.html
 
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