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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While my R-13 is quite old and I've owned it for probably 8 years in the same location, the last 2 or 3 summers I've had issues with the barrel and the upper joint during the summer months. There's hardly any cork there to begin with, and while you can force the barrel on, it's really difficult to remove. Is there a solution to this? To top it off, I have a student who recently purchased a new Leblanc Bliss (wood) and she has the same issue on most of her joints. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
 

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This is common on most wooden instrument tenons due to changes in humidity - even more so with new instruments as the wood is still acclimatising to being played.

It's the tenon rings that are binding in the sockets (and not the cork) so you'll need to get a very small amount of wood skimmed or shaved off the binding tenon rings - only a small amount of dust is removed as that's all it takes to get a binding tenon fitting properly. A good repairer will be able to do this and make sure the joint is still a good wobble-free fit, but no longer binding.

The danger is that some people will sand or file the tenons and tenon corks down too much and the joints will then rock or wobble, or at worst they fall apart easily, so don't do anything unless you know exactly what you're doing.

Tenons have to be a good fit without the tenon cork so they don't rock which can cause regulation problems - the tenon cork is there to act as a gasket and also exert outwards pressure onto the socket walls to keep the joint together.
 

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Nice explanation, Chris. Thanks!
 

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Well explained Chris.

Buffet clarinets particularly the E11 and the E13 have tight joints from the factory the new clarinets that we set up in the shop go on the lathe to get a little skimmed of the tenon shoulder and its usually the "closed" shoulder that's the culprit.

Buffet tends to have tight tolerances with no room for manouvre when the wood expands due to a chang in temperature.

Quite a few retailers have mentioned this to Buffet and their answer is to purchase one of their tools the remove material from the tenon!

For sticking bell tenons I favour removing material from inside the bell with a sharp scraper followed by 600, 800 and 1000 grit emery paper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Chris. That's exactly what I thought, but just wanted some clarification. I think it's interesting this is a newer problem, even though the instrument is almost 30 years old, and been in this climate for at least 10 years. I've got a good tech I'm going to take it to for a much needed overhaul anyways, but he is about an hour away.
 

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David, Has it been a bit hotter and more humid this Summer than in the past?
It has been here in Michigan. This is the worst it's been since the Summer of 1988.
 

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Swelling tendons are very common especially on new clarinets. Any technician can fix this problem in a couple of minutes by removing some wood from the tenon or the barrel. If the wood is swollen cork grease won't help.
 

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The most important thing is to diagnose the problem first. Is it the tenon rails that have swelled, or is it a tight socket ring because the socket has swelled. It's also important to know if the instrument has straight cut tenons or tapered tenons. Then, once the problem (or problems) is properly diagnosed, then the repair can be performed. Be sure you are removing material from the correct piece. Like grandma said when she was cooking "once you put the salt in, you can't take it out". So be sure before you start slicing and diceing!!!
 

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The most important thing is to diagnose the problem first. Is it the tenon rails that have swelled, or is it a tight socket ring because the socket has swelled. It's also important to know if the instrument has straight cut tenons or tapered tenons. Then, once the problem (or problems) is properly diagnosed, then the repair can be performed. Be sure you are removing material from the correct piece. Like grandma said when she was cooking "once you put the salt in, you can't take it out". So be sure before you start slicing and diceing!!!
I couldnt agree more.
 

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Likewise.

I guess if the tenon is not of the (rather uncommon) tapered type and the rail of the open end does not jam in the ringed end of the socket (and does not wobble significantly when home) and the other rail does jam in the ringed end of the socket, then there is little point in attacking the socket. And that is the most common scenario.
 

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It's easy to see where the tenon rings are binding against the sockets as the high spots on them will be shiny, so removing these high spots by lightly scraping them with a razor sharp scraper or scalpel to remove the shiny surface will free the binding tenon.
 
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