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 Post subject: oil bath
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:11 pm 
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Hi,
I am at the last steps of my first mounted sackpipa (all others I have made where "plain" models). It is in maple and mounts are blackwood. I use linseed oil and let the parts for a minimum of 3 weeks in it. My question is about oil VS. blackwood; I remember having read somewhere that you should not use oil in a blackwood chanter...and am afraid that after some days in the bath, the blackwood mounts crack...what do you think ?


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 Post subject: Re: oil bath
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:52 pm 
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Nic wrote:
Hi,
I am at the last steps of my first mounted sackpipa (all others I have made where "plain" models). It is in maple and mounts are blackwood. I use linseed oil and let the parts for a minimum of 3 weeks in it. My question is about oil VS. blackwood; I remember having read somewhere that you should not use oil in a blackwood chanter...and am afraid that after some days in the bath, the blackwood mounts crack...what do you think ?

Crack because of that, I dunno. But the thing about blackwood is that it's already so oily and resinous that it doesn't absorb oils in any significant way that would justify the practice. I stopped oiling my blackwood flutes as a beneficial wood treatment because the oil never got absorbed. It just sits there, and no matter how long you wait you end up just wiping off pretty much everything you applied at the beginning. Your wood is shiny now, but it's pretty much only cosmetic, and that's it for as long as that lasts. You might get some absorption from the endgrain, but even then not much. I wouldn't say you shouldn't oil it, so much as I would say that there really isn't any point in doing it except as a cleaning and polishing method, is all.

What blackwood does respond to is humidity, albeit appreciably more slowly than non-resinous woods like boxwood, which makes sense. During low humidity wood shrinks, and if your mounts snugly surround a resistant material like metal, it is in shrinking against the resistant material that cracking is a known risk, as any fluteplayer with a lined headjoint knows, or ought to know. It may not happen, but the odds of that are not in your favor at all. Sometimes a lining of cork sandwiched between the wood and its metal lining is used to help avoid this, but regulating humidification of the instrument is the best practice so long as the wood is already well and properly seasoned. I don't know about various grades of maple, but as a nonresinous wood it should expand and shrink more readily than blackwood, I wager. If your pipes are going to stay in a climate with relatively stable humidity, I would venture that you should have no issues once everything is put together.

Mind you, blackwood and ebony are not the same thing; ebony is nonresinous and would absorb oil to a degree that blackwood would not. I only point this out because sometimes people confuse or equate the two.

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 Post subject: Re: oil bath
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:08 am 
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The only reason why blackwood should not be treated with linseed oil is because - as Nanohedron wrote - the wood does not absorb the oil and the linseed oil can form a layer on the wood and might therefore change the bore dimensions, particularly in narrow and significant parts of the bore (the throat of a chanter). This is not the case with almond oil, however, any excess oil should be wiped off after a couple of hours. Even almond oil only penetrates the very top surface of blackwood (talking about micrometres).
This does not answer your question... the linseed oil will not do any harm to your blackwood mounts, and it certainly won't make them crack.
No need to leave the parts in the oil bath for 3 weeks, after 24 hours, the maximum penetration has been achieved, after that time, no more linseed oil is being absorbed (has been scientifically tested by a friend of mine). The only way to achieve deeper penetration is to apply a vacuum, but I'm not at all sure about the benefit of this.


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 Post subject: Re: oil bath
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:09 am 
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And do you think that heating (not very hot) the oil could help let the oil pénétrante d'épée in the Maple parts ?


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 Post subject: Re: oil bath
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:04 am 
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Probably a little bit, but certainly not much.
I don't even put the wood into an oil bath, I stop one end and fill the oil into the bore. In case of maple, after a couple of hours the oil will usually have come through to the outside of the parts - I guess you cannot wish for more penetration.


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 Post subject: Re: oil bath
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:31 pm 
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Some makers use a vacuum chamber. Takes about 10-15 minutes for the oil to penetrate the wood completely. By the way, don't use boiled linseed oil, only raw. The boiled kind goes all gunky very quickly, and doesn't do much good to the surface, while not getting into the wood to do much good there either.


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