Maintenance of corks and keys of the clarinet - Clarinet U Article
Maintenance of corks and keys of the clarinet
Corks are certainly one of the most important elements in the clarinet. They allow the correct assembly of every part of our instrument, so it is necessary to carry out proper maintenance to extend the lifespan of corks and thus avoid serious problems in the future.
Generally, if some joints seem to be a little tight by assembling the clarinet, applying a moderate amount of cork grease will be sufficient to make easier the assembly of the instrument. However, some people apply cork grease every day, which may provoke the cork to crumble away in time.
Apply a moderate amount of cork grease to make easier the assembly of the clarinet. (Manuel García)
Excess of cork grease may provoke the cork to crumble away in time. (Yamaha.com)
For that reason, cork grease should only be used when it becomes difficult to slide the joints of the clarinet, unlike new instruments which need to be greased more frequently than ones that have been played for a while.
Likewise, corks must be checked once in a while to see if they need to be replaced. If it is noticed any cork has become excessively soft or has started to crumble from the instrument, it needs to be replaced at a repair shop as soon as possible.
Cloth must be always used to wipe the grease off the corks before returning the instrument to its case. Otherwise, the dust will adhere to the cork since the grease is sticky.