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  1. #1

    Default Homemade Cleaning Tools

    I was just wondering everyone can chip in so I can construct a list of homemade appliance that can be used to clean your instruments. Lets keep it between the items you use on your saxophone and clarinet. For example, homemade clarinet swabs. list the material and how why and where you use it. Thanks
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    I use pipe cleaners for the posts when i take them apart and clean them. some time they can be useful when cleaning the inside of tone holes.

    An old tooth brush for the mouthpiece, and other hard to get/scrub places.

    a potato brush attached to a stick for the inside of my tenor's bell.

    pledge also makes a good external polish.

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    Forum Contributor 2014 skeller047's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    I have always used chamois (the real stuff, NOT sham-wowie or whatever other stuff is being marketed these days) for swab material for clarinet and sax. My clarinet teacher showed me how to make them when I was 12 - a long piece of chamois, just narrow enough to go through the bore without binding, cut in a triangle shape. Narrow end bound to a sneaker shoe lace. Sneaker lace because you can cut off the end, and it's hollow - thus allowing you to insert some BB's or small lead weights for a weight, and prevent the weight from scratching the bore. I haven't been able to find hollow shoe laces recently...

    The other end of the shoelace is bound to the chamois using a sheet bend. For a clarinet, the chamois is about the length of one of the joints, or a little longer, and about 5" on the wide end. The shoelace is long enough to let the swab drop through the entire body. For the sax, the wide end is 6" for alto and 8" for tenor. I make a smaller one for the neck. You need a narrower one than the clarinet size for a soprano, which makes drying the bottom half difficult if you have a single body horn.

    I use a soft nylon 1" paint brush to remove dust from around the keys. I also use a micro-fiber cloth to wipe the horn, the kind you buy in bulk for car washing.
    Steve Keller

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    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    IMO the real, natural chamois, when dry, has quite strong resistance to absorbing moisture.

    The better synthetic versions absorb water better, are considerably stronger, and do not rot, hence do not tear off and jam inside the instrument.

    The natural chamois must be better in some way, buy I have yet to identify it.
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    Forum Contributor 2014 patmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    If you can get hold of an old fashioned shaving brush (or two) you'll find that they're fantastic at getting into the spaces beneath the rods of clarinets to clean off dust and grime. They're very gentle and if you like you can put some drops of bore oil onto the exterior wood this way. This is a trick I learned 40 years ago in the army to keep the hard to get at parts of my rifle in a state that kept the sergeant off my back.
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    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    I make a sax swab from a white t-shirt. I find the cotton material soft and very absorbant to pick up moisture. Just cut up an old clean t-shirt and cut it into a shape that works well for the body and cut another one for the neck and mouthpiece. Tie a string to one end and attached the weight of your choice. After using the cloth for a while, just wash it with mild soap and water or just make another one.

    I've tried this with cotton fabic purchased at a fabric store but I found that the edges fray easily and make a lot of lint. T-shirts seem to hold together better. It's also nice and soft to wipe the outside of the sax.
    Carmen

  7. #7

    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    Any advice for cleaning bare brass instruments? Specifically those unsightly dark spots that can develop.

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    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    A jeweler's saw makes a great key polishing tool. Stretch a strip of cloth across the frame and tighten it up. Makes cleaning rods and tight spots a breeze.

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    Forum Contributor 2014 skeller047's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon (NZ) View Post
    IMO the real, natural chamois, when dry, has quite strong resistance to absorbing moisture.

    The better synthetic versions absorb water better, are considerably stronger, and do not rot, hence do not tear off and jam inside the instrument.

    The natural chamois must be better in some way, buy I have yet to identify it.
    I find that the synthetic stuff is too thick, which is why I use the natural chamois. The long narrow triangle shape, when drawn through the bore, sort of curls up on itself and thus cleans the entire bore in one or two pulls. The synthetic chamois, which is usually about 1/8" thick in my experience, can't be made wide enough at the bottom of the triangle without being so thick it won't go through the top part of the horn.

    Just my experience and opinion, you didn't pay much for it, so it's worth whatever you think!
    Steve Keller

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    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by skeller047 View Post
    ...The synthetic chamois, which is usually about 1/8" thick in my experience
    My sheet is 0.6 mm, i.e. 1/5 of 1/8".
    Contentment is not the fulfilment of what you want, but the realisation of how much you already have.

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    Murgo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    I have a swab made of microfiber cleaning cloth, string, a piece of brass tubing and heat shrink sleeve. Works great. I've also been thinking of making a tool for cleaning the upper curl of the bari, I'm thinking of using a nylon "cable" meant for pulling electric cables through conduits.
    So much to tinker, so little time.

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    Forum Contributor 2014 skeller047's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon (NZ) View Post
    My sheet is 0.6 mm, i.e. 1/5 of 1/8".
    Where do you get it, what brand is it, anything else I need to know to find it? Everything I've ever seen is like the "Sham-Wow!" stuff, which is NOT 0.6mm, more like 2-3 mm.
    Steve Keller

  13. #13

    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    Cleaning pull through weight.
    Depending on the size of the pull string you are using get a 1/8 inch or 3/16 inch roll pin from the hardware store. Put the pull string through the hole of the roll pin, next tie a figure eight knot in the end of the string. Put a small blob of Shoe-Goo in the string then slide the roll pin over the Goo to the knot. Finally to protect the bore of the instrument from the weight I cover the roll pin with a piece of heat shrink tubing from Radio Shack.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician hornfixer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    ** NEW ** MK VI Alto Saxophone Repad on DVD ** NEW **

    http://my.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...K:ME:LNLK:MESX

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    Default Re: Homemade Cleaning Tools

    "For saxophone I use a sort of chamois looking cloth that is meant for window cleaning. It comes in big squares so I cut it to proper size. Not the best because it's got quite a high friction coefficient and rather needs to be drawn through the instrument twice. I use it for both the body and key of the sax.
    For clarinet I use the commercially available pull through (the one in white with light blue signs on it like that comes from one of Japans biggest wood wind producers).

    When it comes to clean a clarinet in pieces I'd accept Pat Millers advice above for getting away the brown flakes that build up and can easily be wiped off .
    But, don't forget Q-tips!
    I use them all over.
    Ice cream sticks with lint cloth wrapped around it are useful too, etc. and so on..."
    Sometime you have to go for screw drivers when it comes to calcium deposits before you put the pieces in vinegar or similar. (Be careful there!)

    This was the first answer I made. Now I start to realize, the question leads me to two cases.

    1. Cleaning means remove dirt. (I don't consider humidity dirt.)

    2. But rather old (could be years and years) of built up "gunk" .

    So the question has to go back to CHuBQ, what did you mean?

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