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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:00 am 
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Hello everyone,

I’m a recorder player who is learning to play the whistle – I have two, the Clarke original and the Shaw, both in D.

I’ve combed through all the discussions I could find about cleaning tin whistles, but I’m still at a loss as to how to clean the bore of these particular ones (I know how to clear the windway). A lot of people say use the cleaning rod from a recorder, but the bore of these whistles is much too narrow to accommodate it (especially at the end hole). Immersing them in soapy water etc. is not an option because of the wood fipple.

So what do owners of these whistles do? Just not clean the bore and hope for the best, and replace them if and when the second octave gets hard to play (as I’ve heard it does when they get cruddy)? I’d be comfortable replacing the Clarke, but the Shaw is too pricey...

Best to all and thanks a lot for any advice.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:53 pm 
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A basic recorder/flute plastic cleaning rod with a bit of cloth should work to swab out the whistle. Although, I'm guessing that not many here spend much time cleaning the bore...

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:56 pm 
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Thanks Steve - as I mentioned, that doesn't seem to be an option here. I have a recorder cleaning rod and it doesn't really fit in the bore of these whistles.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:06 pm 
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For my piccolo and conic bore whistles (Sweetone and Copeland) I use an old silk kerchief and part of a chopstick. I've heard others use a kebab stick.

Cheers :pint:
Bob

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:15 pm 
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I tried a chopstick and it was too thick, but I'm sure there are thinner ones. And kebab sticks are very thin... So do you wrap a cloth around the whole thing or just the end? Or do you do something more elaborate?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:39 pm 
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Shirtsleeves wrote:
but I’m still at a loss as to how to clean the bore of these particular ones

Why do you need to?

Quote:
Immersing them in soapy water etc. is not an option because of the wood fipple.

Shouldn't do any harm.

Quote:
So what do owners of these whistles do?

Nothing!

Quote:
Just not clean the bore and hope for the best, and replace them if and when the second octave gets hard to play (as I’ve heard it does when they get cruddy)?

I've had countless metal whistles I've never swabbed out or cleaned (including a Clarke original and several Shaws before I sold them), but never seen them get cruddy or found the second octave getting harder to play.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:46 pm 
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Thanks, good to know (that you've never cleaned yours and it's done no harm). I may end up not bothering either, but if there's an easy way to do it, I'd like to. It's just something that's been drummed into me as a recorder player. And I've seen some people here (and at The Session) who say it does make a difference. Hedging my bets, I guess.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:59 pm 
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Shirtsleeves wrote:
It's just something that's been drummed into me as a recorder player.

I trained (including a year in Holland) as a recorder player decades ago. I'd always swab out wood recorders or flutes and normally silver flutes. Cheaper plastic/polymer or metal whistles, flutes or recorders, not unless I thought some obvious need. I clean my trombone mouthpieces and slide occasionally, but not every time I play. And the trombone mouthpiece is probably the only thing I blow that I've ever seen getting what you might call cruddy...

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:07 pm 
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Interesting - thanks... I'm starting to feel persuaded. I rarely bother to swab out my plastic recorders (though of course I clear the windway). Maybe tin is analogous.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:55 pm 
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Try using a craft pipe cleaner. You can loop it around a small bit of cloth as well to swab things out that way. I've actually purchased some tiny nylon brushes used for cleaning out baby bottle parts and straws. Failing that, you can also get some strips of felt and cut them down to fit.

I'm a recorder player as well. None of my recorder swabs work on my whistles. I started using the tiny pipe cleaners and nylon brushes when one of my really old plastic recorders was getting gunky enough to need a scrub, when simply soaking and rinsing didn't work. But those brushes, along with wooden toothpicks, work well when I need to remove dried grease from the joints of wooden recorders as well.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:53 am 
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I use a piece of strong, straightened wire with a very small piece of chamois wrapped around the end (you can buy it in any hardware store). I soak the chamois in denatured alcohol, which evaporates readily and does not harm the fipple block.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:57 am 
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Why do you need to clean the bore? Just shake out moisture after playing and don't keep the whistles in a closed case until they're dry. Blow condensed moisture out of the wind way.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:51 am 
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Thank you to everyone - these all seem like good ideas (including doing nothing...).


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:53 am 
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I must be really odd. I clean all my whistles about once a month, inside & out. :boggle:
I use a piccolo or flute rod with a cotton gun cleaning patch sized accordingly to clean inside the bore, and generally wipe the outside down with alcohol. I clean my fipples with a moist ( either alcohol or water )pipe cleaner. Then lubricate tuning slides or "O" rings with tuning slide lubricant.
But..
That's just me I guess


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:19 pm 
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Shirtsleeves wrote:
Interesting - thanks... I'm starting to feel persuaded. I rarely bother to swab out my plastic recorders (though of course I clear the windway). Maybe tin is analogous.


Tin is actually tin-plate, a thin piece of sheet steel with a very thin coating of tin electro-plate. The steel will indeed rust through the tin if not properly cleaned and maintained, especially on the inside of a whistle. Where the wood fipple sits tends to get it the worst.


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