1 Year Wood Care Kit
Everything You Need For Wood Clarinets or Oboes!
You’ve made the investment in the musical instrument of your dreams. Now comes the hard part – maintaining it! Wood instruments need to be properly maintained in order to help prevent cracking. As there are many different opinions on how to maintain wood instruments, customers are often left confused with their instrument left in peril. As a result of our desert climate of Las Vegas, we have become experts on how to best care for these wonderful instruments and are putting that know how in to a convenient wood care kit.
Our Kessler & Sons Music Wood Care Kit has everything you need to properly maintain and care for your new best friend, your wood musical instrument! Each kit contains the following supplies:
- Almond Oil (to oil the bore)
- Feather (to apply the oil safely)
- Silk Swab (delicate protection)
- Humidification System (choice of 2 styles depending on your climate)
Whether you play oboe or clarinet, the method of maintenance is the same and our kit will be modified based on your instrument and climate. So oboe kits will have an oboe silk swab whereas clarinet kits will have a clarinet silk swab. We supply the kits with a silk swab from Hodge products. They are the finest silk swabs on the market today and your instrument deserves only the best!
How Often Should I Swab?
Bare minimum, you should swab out your instrument after every single time you play it, before putting it away in its case. If you practice for long periods of time (30+ minutes continuously or more), you should stop every 20-30 minutes and do a quick swab through your instrument to remove excess moisture build up.
One of the best things that you can do is to humidify the inside of your instrument’s case. However, every climate is different and every player’s willingness to care for their instrument is different. So we offer 2 systems for customers to choose from:
- Water Based Reservoir
The Humistat 1 is our top recommendation for a water based reservoir system. It allows you to add humidity to your case so that your instrument is in a stable environment. This system is especially ideal for drier climates. However, you can adjust the amount of moisture it releases which makes it suitable for ALL climates.
The only downside is that you have to be willing to monitor the reservoir and keep it filled with water!We recommend replacing these humidifiers once a year to customers to maintain optimal humidification.
- 2 Way Hydration Packs
2 Way hydration systems are designed to not only release moisture when needed, but also absorb moisture when there is too much. The leader in this type of product is Boveda, offering packets designed to maintain a set level of humidity. So if you are in a more moist climate, these will absorb excess moisture in the case but will switch to releasing moisture when needed. Think of them as an automatic thermostat (but for humidity) in your case.
These tend to last around 3-4 months on average before needing to be replaced. So if you opt for these packs, we include a total of 4 in your kit. They are each individually sealed so they will not start functioning until you open the plastic packaging. These are also great for storage if you are not playing your instrument for an extended period of time. However, their biggest benefit is that they do not need to be regularly monitored/refilled. So if you are not willing (or simply just know that you won’t) to keep tabs on the water level in a humidifier, these are a more reliable option.
Finally, oiling the internal bore of your instrument is a must in our opinion. There are many opinions out there as to the necessity of oiling the bore of instruments, but as a shop that does MANY crack repairs, we cannot impress the importance of oiling the bore strong enough!
The purpose of oiling is not that it will penetrate deep in to the wood. Instead, it is to create a surface boundary layer protecting the wood from your condensation. When you play, you put essentially 100 degree steam in to your instrument. Then as this dries out, it pulls the natural oils in the wood out with your moisture as you swab. This leads to dry wood that is then able to absorb your moisture when you play creating a stress in the wood that will eventually release in a crack.
How Do I Oil My Bore?
We recommend using a feather for oil application. We provide a simply feather with the kit. On its first use, you will want to apply 8-10 drops of almond oil on both sides of the quill. Then use your thumb and one finger squeezing the center quill down the entire length of the feather. This will quickly saturate the feather with oil. Future uses should only need 4 drops on each side.
Once the feather is oiled, insert it in to the joint while rotating the feather in one direction, moving it in and out of the joint. Do this on all joints with any exposed wood on the interior. Certain bore liners go through entire joints and do not require oiling (Yamaha Duet+, Buffet 4052, Buffet Prodige) where other liners are only go part of the way through the bore and do still require oiling (Howarth liner on “VT” models).
Any excess oil on the tenons can be rubbed in with your finger.
How Often Should I Oil?
Think of oiling your wood instrument in the same way that you change the oil in a car, it is regular maintenance that never stops. How often you oil through depends on a lot of variables including the type of wood, climate and age of the instrument. However with the feather application, you do not have to worry about over applying oil. Here are a few guidelines that we give on oiling frequency:
- Grenadilla Wood
- New instruments (or used instruments that have not been played for an extended period of time) should be oiled at least every month for the first 3-6 months. The upper joint of the instrument should be oiled every 1-2 weeks during this initial break in period.
- After the initial break in period, oil every 2-3 months while still oiling the upper joint every 2 weeks.
- Lighter Woods (i.e. Cocobolo, Rosewood)
- New instruments (or used instruments that have not been played for an extended period of time) should be oiled every 2 weeks for the first 3-6 months. The upper joint of the instrument should be oiled every week during this initial break in period.
- After the initial break in period, oil every month while still oiling the upper joint every 1-2 weeks.
Regardless of what you might have been told or believe on this topic, we can say with absolute certainty that oiling your bore will help prevent cracks. We do a lot of crack repairs in the desert of Las Vegas. When instruments coming in to our shop with a crack, they tend to be instruments that are NOT humidified and/or oiled. However, rarely do we have instruments come in that are being oiled & humidified that have also cracked. That’s all the proof we need to recommend that you take our wood care advice seriously.
Even in more moderate climates, your instrument is exposed to variable humidity and would benefit from all of these maintenance steps. The the stability of case humidification and regular oiling your wood properly will not harm your instrument.