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 Post subject: Oiling Cane or Bamboo?
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 8:01 am 

Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 8:05 am
Posts: 70
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Hi, all: I thought I'd put this question up here rather than the flute side, to see what sort of rise I might get.

I recently bought a Peruvian quena from a South American busker and it's a pretty nice little flute. When I was oiling my other wood instruments I decided to give this one a taste, too. Neither the outside nor the inside were very interested, but the edges of the sound holes lapped it up. The notch was somewhat interested, too. This made sense to me, given the nature of the cells of grass-like plants. Still, I'm wondering if oiling an unfinished cane or bamboo flute is a good idea. The instrument is bound, so there is already some protection against splitting.

Any opinions?

John Gribble

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 8:45 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 11:59 am
Posts: 548
Location: Somewhere between crap and mediocre.
Greetings I build and perform quena part time, and highly recommend oiling. When I build bamboo quena and oil them for the first time I really let them soak up the oil. I cover all the holes with electrical tape, and seal the bottom, and fill the flute up with oil, preferably almond oil with a few drops of sandalwood oil so it smells nice. I leave the oil in there for maybe 2 or 3 hours, and then pour tip it upside down and drain out the excess. It takes a couple days, but eventually they drink up all the oil. After that initial treatment maybe once ever couple months I just swab the inside and outside a with a little bit of it.
Wood quena are a different story, I prefer to play them in for a couple weeks, and then finally oil them, but I don't soak them, just put a heavy coat on the inside and wipe of the excess the following day. Linseed oil seems to work better for wood quena, but almond also is okay, it's really up to you. Like Irish flutes, always wipe out quena when you are done playing them, and always keep them at 45%+ humidity, or they are bound to crack.

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