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Re: oiling...again

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  • arbarnhart
    ... In some cases, it does. Some road debris, most notably tar and other sticky residues, would have adhered firmly to untreated metal, but because it is
    Message 1 of 15 , Sep 1, 2009
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      --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, "tw45ph" <ron.harvey@...> wrote:
      >
      > Did you ever see a bicycle chain?
      >
      > Did the oil help to keep it clean?

      In some cases, it does. Some road debris, most notably tar and other sticky residues, would have adhered firmly to untreated metal, but because it is oiled, they can be wiped right off. If you just keep adding oil without cleaning, I can see how that would become a mess. If you just clean the chain but don't oil it, it may rust and collect tar and be harder to clean. The analogy breaks down there as this is something different about metal versus wood.


      > Oils do reduce the hygroscopicity of wood; commercially motivated research substantiates that but is it a good idea for a musical instrument made of wood? The flip side of oiling the surface to keep the water out is that it'll also keep it in. There is no easy answer.
      >

      Yes, as I noted in my earlier post, I would hope it would slow absorbtion as well as drying. Quick changes in humidity are what I am worried about. I know oil doesn't seal completely.

      I don't want to beat this to death. As I said earlier, I am new to woodwinds. I had planned to do the oiling because of my experience with what it did for wood in other projects, but if it doesn't make sense, I won't. But with all due respect, I don't really understand why it doesn't make sense.

      -Andy
    • bellwoodwind
      ... Ron, I can work with this analogy. My bicycle chain is clean ( I apprenticed as a bike mechanic in my youth and I learned to keep it clean and lubricated.)
      Message 2 of 15 , Sep 1, 2009
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        > Did you ever see a bicycle chain?
        > Did the oil help to keep it clean?

        Ron, I can work with this analogy.
        My bicycle chain is clean ( I apprenticed as a bike mechanic in my youth and I learned to keep it clean and lubricated.)
        An oiled flute, be it soft, hard, vegetable or petroleum oil only suffers from dirt, bacterial, or fungal build up if it is not cleaned. This means of excess oil as well.

        Rod, concerning grape seed oil, years ago I did a drying test by putting various oils on a non-porous surface and let them oxidize for a period of two weeks. The oils that filmed over were tungnut, linseed, walnut, poppy and hemp. The non-dryer was almond. So I decided to replicate the test in part starting yesterday using grape seed. I'll let you know the results in a few weeks. In my initial tests the tungnut dried first but the surface was almost as foam. Walnut and linseed dried almost identically, in the end both case hardened with a yellow wrinkled surface. Poppy and hemp were similar but less of a film, poppy being the clearest.

        Andy, Most individual makers you come across will use oil to protect their instruments. When buying oil one must consider the processing technique and adulteration. Cold pressed is preferred for quality, and it has the longest shelf life provided it is sealed from oxygen. Purity has a lot to do with suppliers; many economy grocery store or hardware store oils are often adulterated. Hard oils are useful for initial soaking and exterior use; softer oils are best for the bore in ongoing maintenance. To prevent soft oil from going rancid either vitamin e or cloves can be added. Oil should be wiped on then wiped off; enough of a film will remain for the desired results. Do not oil a wet flute. Rods oiling recommendations as linked to earlier have stood the test of time and should be useful for one as yourself.

        Stephen Bacon
        Conservator
        Schuman Collection of Musical Instruments
        Southern Oregon University
        541-482-1436
        bacons@...
        BELLWOODVIOLIN.COM
      • tw45ph
        ... I have said before that there is nothing more dangerous to an instrument, statistically, than an excess of care while a little knowledge dangerous thing,
        Message 3 of 15 , Sep 2, 2009
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          --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, "bellwoodwind" <bellwoodwind@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > > Did you ever see a bicycle chain?
          > > Did the oil help to keep it clean?
          >
          > Ron, I can work with this analogy.
          > My bicycle chain is clean ( I apprenticed as a bike mechanic in my youth and I learned to keep it clean and lubricated.)
          > An oiled flute, be it soft, hard, vegetable or petroleum oil only suffers from dirt, bacterial, or fungal build up if it is not cleaned. This means of excess oil as well.
          >


          I have said before that there is nothing more dangerous to an instrument, statistically, than an excess of care while a little knowledge dangerous thing, if that's the point. Over and over again the makers warn not to fix it yourself; send it back, and it's not because they need the extra work.

          It's the excess of the frequency that worries me more than the excess of the quantity of oil. If the purpose is to resist moisture the ideal is a thin mineral oil which is also, as it happens, the liquid more likely to soak into the wood. What then is the effect of this over an extended period of time? I'd like to see some data on the swelling effect of oil in wood, or wax for that matter. You may be better off with an oil with a tendency to dry, never mind the tendency toward a sticky black mess.

          It's easy to talk about what makes sense but when I look at the scientific data on what actually happens, condensed moisture is the least of the problems, which is not what the users appear to anticipate intuitively, albeit that sawn timber is left in the open air to season without a worry if it rains or snows from time to time.

          The vapour is the danger, what we would otherwise call humidity. Were it true that the actual playing of a flute is the danger we'd be seeing anecdotes to the effect that an instrument was played for a couple of hours and then it broke before the player put the thing away. Does it happen? I dare say that it does from time to time but it never happened to me. Save for dropping on the floor and so forth it was always when the back is turned that they made the mischief so why is that?

          Once upon a time I soaked a boxwood alto in the bath overnight, completely and that cracked it up sure enough but the day before it had sat there for several hours, totally immersed and still intact. Never mind for a moment why the experiment took place; it made me think. The ordinary use of a flute fails to compare with completely soaking a bath for several hours, one would hope.

          However, if the inside of a bore is well sealed against a change in the ambient conditions while the outside is not, that's a dangerous difference. Should the outside edge dry out while the inside is stubbornly swollen, that's a crack on the way, eventually, and when it happens nobody thinks to blame the oil, nor is there much of a chance to prove that this was the cause.

          If you're going to seal the inside it is wise then to treat the outside in exactly the same way as the inside, except for the peculiar tradition of oiling or varnishing the outside to start with, but not the inside, not to mention the fact that a drying oil applied to the outside dries easily while oil applied to the inside is distinctly reluctant to dry for want of the light. This is where we get into the no easy answer territory. I'd not even mentioned the fact that drying oils swell when they dry.

          R.H.
        • bellwoodwind
          ... Well Rod it looks like Ron is correct, the grape seed is hardening. Not as fast as the walnut or linseed but it already has gone thru the tacky and
          Message 4 of 15 , Sep 2, 2009
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            > Use only soft non hardening oils in the bore, such as almond or grape
            > seed oil.

            Well Rod it looks like Ron is correct, the grape seed is hardening. Not as fast as the walnut or linseed but it already has gone thru the tacky and non-tacky film stages. The almond (non-treated) remains soft.
            Stephen
          • rod cameron
            Thanks for your well reasoned input, Stephen! What I need to discover now is how come my grapeseed oil remains as clear and liquid as when it was new years
            Message 5 of 15 , Sep 2, 2009
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              Thanks for your well reasoned input, Stephen!

              What I need to discover now is how come my  grapeseed oil remains as clear and liquid as when it was new years ago?

              Any ideas?

              best

              Rod


              On Sep 2, 2009, at 3:41 PM, bellwoodwind wrote:


              > Use only soft non hardening oils in the bore, such as almond or grape 
              > seed oil.

              Well Rod it looks like Ron is correct, the grape seed is hardening. Not as fast as the walnut or linseed but it already has gone thru the tacky and non-tacky film stages. The almond (non-treated) remains soft.
              Stephen


              Rod Cameron
              PO Box 438, 10580 William Street
              Mendocino, CA 95460, USA
              Mobile Phone: 707 813 759
              Home: 707 937 9921
              Studio ( no messages) 707 937 0412
               




            • bellwoodwind
              ... Rod, Good question, my grapeseed oil is dated with an expiration date of 1/24/07, It still tastes sweet and is clear. From my varnish making experience I
              Message 6 of 15 , Sep 3, 2009
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                > What I need to discover now is how come my grapeseed oil remains as
                > clear and liquid as when it was new years ago?

                Rod,
                Good question, my grapeseed oil is dated with an expiration date of 1/24/07, It still tastes sweet and is clear. From my varnish making experience I find that oil thickens with oxidation as well as extensive cooking and it's drying is aided by exposure to ultra-violet light. As an aid some folks fill their oil containers with clear glass marbles to prevent oxidation and store them in dark glass containers to prevent UV reactions. Mine is half full of air space in a clear bottle and still no problems.
                As it is only day four of my test I am, as of yet, not sure what my two week test will show. Today the wrinkled film on the linseed is quite thick and the residue under the film is getting sticky. As you know from reading even hardening oils consist of nondrying fats. These tend to sink into the wood and are protected with the case hardened film.
                The film on the test grapeseed remains very thin ,unwrinkled, and clear. The oil underneath is as the soft almond. This oil could be in the category of semidrying oils such as soy.
                How is it in use in comparison the peanut oil I believed you used ever so many years ago?
                Also can you share the brand of Grapeseed oil you are using. Mine is by Napa Naturals and is labeled as 100% pure. However it also states that it is high in vitamin E.

                Stephen Bacon
                Conservator
                Schuman Collection of Musical Instruments
                Southern Oregon University
                541-482-1436
                bacons@...
                BELLWOODVIOLIN.COM
              • tw45ph
                ... Counterfeit oil? I would not stake so much a short term test one way or the other. There s a lot more to the drying of an oil than meets the eye. There s
                Message 7 of 15 , Sep 3, 2009
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                  --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, rod cameron <rcameron@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Thanks for your well reasoned input, Stephen!
                  >
                  > What I need to discover now is how come my grapeseed oil remains as
                  > clear and liquid as when it was new years ago?
                  >
                  > Any ideas?
                  >
                  > best
                  >
                  > Rod
                  >
                  >


                  Counterfeit oil?

                  I would not stake so much a short term test one way or the other. There's a lot more to the drying of an oil than meets the eye. There's the evaporation of volatile components, then there's the so called oxidation which is not really an oxidation and then there's the polymerisation, a process of hardening that continues indefinitely if not forever and was there something else? I used to know a lot about this with regard to oil paint and then forgot most of it. It all depends on the thickness of an oil film, the ambient conditions and whatever the oil is in contact with or was in contact with because of catalytic effects. Infinitesimal additions of "driers" persuade oils to dry fast while some of the pigments are known to especially slow the process.

                  Don't believe anybody who tries to sell you a "pure" oil. There is no such thing. Natural oils are complicated mixtures of unstable chemicals, not to mention the unfortunate effects of lower forms of life if they happen to pass by.

                  R.H.
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