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sudden tightness to beak and body at cork
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Author:  jeffrey armbruster [ Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:05 am ]
Post subject:  sudden tightness to beak and body at cork

My alto is still fairly new. I haven't been playing it for months and just started again. I oiled it. The humidity here was dry for several weeks--around 38 to 42 percent in my apartment. Then it started to rain and the humidity in my apartment is now around 65 percent.

When I assemble the recorder the beak section and the long body section are snug but turn well enough. Now, for several days, after playing for an hour or so these same sections become super tight. It's a real struggle to get them separated. This is absolutely new to this recorder; it's never happened. I used to play it daily for almost a year. Never happened.

I've added wax to the cork every day, each time thinking I'd added enough.

Maybe my hands have just gotten older and weaker! But I don't think that's it.

Any insight?

Author:  Loren [ Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: sudden tightness to beak and body at cork

You say you are using “wax” on the corks? What we call wax here in the U.S. would not be used to grease corks so..... commercial cork grease would be recommended.

What brand is the recorder and what wood is it made of?

Author:  FrankPerrone [ Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: sudden tightness to beak and body at cork

Hello Mr. Armbruster

I am a player, not a recorder repairer, so take my comments with a grain of salt.
A wood recorder that hasn't been played in a while (several months) should be played in as you would with a new recorder. Start with 5-10 minutes a day the first week and add 5 minutes a day the next week, and so on until the recorder can be played for a hour. A wood recorder should not be played for more than an hour a day. If you want to play more get another wood recorder or a plastic recorder.

You recorder is probably over played. Let it dry out for a day or so and then only play for a very short time daily as I mentioned.
I do not think cork grease is going to solve the problem. It's not that the cork is dry but that the wood is swollen.

Here is some advice from Mr. John Everinghan, Saunders Recorders, UK:
If the joints of your recorder become very tight, wood on wood, after playing this is a sign that the wood is moving with a new humidity regime. Do not continue the present level of usage, you run a severe risk of making your recorder split. Do not add cork grease or oil. Put the recorder away for a while to stabilize. If you can't get it apart, do not leave it out because it won't go into the case. Remove as much excess moisture as you can, wrap it up in a duster or similar and try to separate the parts every few hours. When the trouble is cleared resume playing, though preferably with shorter sessions. If the problem returns consult a repairer regarding opening out the joint socket. Cork grease is suitable only for cork and should not be allowed to build up on wood. Excess should always be wiped off. Joints that become stiff as soon as the parts begin to engage should not be lubricated, but left to sort themselves out or be attended to by a repairer.

Author:  jeffrey armbruster [ Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: sudden tightness to beak and body at cork

Thanks for the replies. I'm using the cork grease that Mollenhauer included with their recorder. But yes, I would think that the issue is one of humidity expanding the wood. The foot section presents no issues. And again, when I assemble the recorder, there is no problem. I always dry my recorder and leave it out disassembled to dry overnight before returning it in 3 pieced to its soft case in the morning.

I probably have overplayed the recorder. It is sounding sweet and hitting all notes easily as it used to as of last night. for several days I was getting squeaks but some of that was my my fingerings. Nevertheless the advice to let the recorder dry out for some days is well taken. I did play it every once in a while over the last months, but probably not enough.

Hopefully there is no damage! But it does sound great and plays as it did after I'd slowly broken it in when new and then became more proficient with practice. All of the notes play easily and clearly. My thought last night was that it was back to being played in.

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