*** I want to welcome our new guest writer, Bree Eckel. Bree is an instrument repair tech in training. She works primarily on clarinets and flutes. She also cleans and tests brass. This is her first blog post here on msquill, and I’m thrilled she’s agreed to write for us. She’s also my 13 year old daughter. Welcome Bree!

We have a Normandy clarinet which was covered in white mold when we got it in a box of instruments. After looking at it and finding out that it was a good brand, we decided to save it. I let it soak for about twenty minutes in a sink full of bleach water, while I took it apart and took the pads off the keys. Then I scrubbed the body of the clarinet, and looked up the model while soaking the pad cups on the keys in nail polish remover to get the glue out. It turned out to be a one or two hundred dollar clarinet used. The clarinet was wooden, and after drying it, I cleaned and polished the keys. The clarinet was in good condition for what it had looked like when I had started. 

Starting with the top piece, I began repadding the clarinet. Repadding a clarinet can take a while, because you have to find a pad that fits, poke a small hole in it, glue the pad on, and make sure the glue dries flat with no air bubbles in it, before you can move on to the next key. When I was finished with the top piece, I moved on to the bottom piece, and then went back to the top after repadding the keys for the bottom piece. As I put the top piece back together though, I noticed that one of the posts was moving. I unscrewed the post the rest of the way so that I could fix it, and sprinkled Baking Soda in the hole. Using a screwdriver as leverage, I put the post back in. However I couldn’t get it lined up right so when I checked it by putting the screw through the posts, the screw broke inside the post. The easiest way to fix that is to replace the post, so I took the post off again, and went through our clarinets that we’ve decided we can’t fix, until I found a post that would work. After going through a couple of them, I found one that fit, and put it in. The screw that went with that post didn’t fit and because of this, that screw broke as well. Because the screw broke I can’t get it out, meaning that the only way to fix it is to use a Dremel tool and grind the post down. We don’t have a Dremel tool, so the clarinet is currently on hold. 

Taking a break from the top piece, I put the bottom piece back together with no problem. The bottom piece of the clarinet needed some tweaking which took me about half an hour. When I was finished it, “air tested” well, but could not be “play tested” because it didn’t have a cork. Returning to the top piece, I covered the hole that didn’t have a key so that I could “air test” the rest of the pads, and after spending about forty-five minutes adjusting them, I got that piece to air test as well. The clarinet is currently sitting in its case on our work table. Now it needs recorked, a new post, and a new screw. The clarinet is much better than when I started, and once we get a Dremel tool, it should be a pretty easy fix.

Tell me your thoughts.