Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Steamy Topic: Taming Tenon Corks

By Windworks Studio of Philadelphia
Bev and Linz (“The Girls in Philly”)

Musical instrument makers and repair technicians don’t need to be reminded that quality cork is hard to come by. In fact, it is pricier than fine perfume. Good cork has to be hand-picked and there are industries who, like ourselves, find few or no workable substitutes. Cork is alive, it breathes, it wicks moisture and is forgiving on tenons and tone holes. Cork can also tear, burn and crack when we place it - particularly if it is not premium cork. In fact, the quality designations seem to have shifted as cork commodity has become harder to access with rising demand. What used to be considered a “moderate” grade is now often labeled as “premium”. 

Torn piccolo tenon cork in need of replacement.

What do you do when you are replacing a piccolo tenon cork and the cork you have is less than ideal?

Ideal premium sheet cork on left, and less than ideal cork on right.

We all know that cork to be placed on a piccolo tenon has a tendency to crack, especially with less than ideal cork.

Well, here is a simple tip that just might make your day easier!  Cut your cork, sand and adjust the fit. To ease the strain on your cork and improve workability, place your prepared cork over a whiskey glass filled with steaming water. 

Cork strip placed over a whiskey glass filled with steaming water. Notice the curling.

As the cork steams, it rehydrates, curving just enough to make a flawless placement much easier. Be sure to apply your adhesive of choice after the cork has been steamed. You are now ready for some Stars and Stripes!   

 Adapting cork to piccolo tenon with ease of workability.

1 comment:

  1. Another simple way is to apply pressure and roll the cork with a smooth round object.



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