Used wood recorder smells of smoke

Home Forum Recorder Makes, Models and Maintenance Used wood recorder smells of smoke

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Ken In Dallas May 14, 2021 at 10:20 pm.

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  • #1439

    Ned Mast
    Participant

    I recently purchased a used bass Kung recorder. I think it must have been owned by someone who smoked. Is there a way to remove or override the smell of smoke in a non-damaging way?

    #1445

    Dick Mattson
    Participant

    I remember reading on one dealer’s website a while ago that the smell of smoke couldn’t be removed easily, if at all. If the smell in your used Kung bass hasn’t gone away by now, you might ask a recorder repair shop if they have any suggestions. If they can’t help, you might consider selling it to the next unsuspecting person. Sorry.

    #1446

    Ned Mast
    Participant

    Thank you for your response, Dick. Fortunately, the smell has diminished considerably. I guess having it in an air conditioned, smoke free environment has helped. I really believe that when selling an instrument all conditions of it should be revealed, including a smell of smoke. I’m happy not to have to sell it!
    Ned

    #1447

    Ken In Dallas
    Participant

    Hey Ned… The kind of standard ‘homebrew’ disinfectant routine may be of some help with the last of the smoke. A quick White Vinegar wash of the inside once a day for a week followed by a final water rinse on day eight. That’s ‘quick flush,’ not soak. It’s said not to put alcohol on a recorder. Alcohol’s the lightest true solvent before water. Vinegar is a very light and edible acid that likely does more than water but less than alcohol. (that’s my opinion)

    If the outside is at all sticky with the tar from the smoker, a quick Windex wipe is a good choice, again with ‘less’ being better than ‘more.’ I’m just remembering you may not have the product if you’re not in the States as I am. Windex is a glass cleaner with a touch of amonia and (I believe) mostly distilled water that leaves no streaks on glass. “Pledge,” a spray for furnature dusting, leaves a nice feel to wooden instruments and wears off with time. We used it all the time (very lightly) in an instrument repair shop I worked at.

    I’ve successfully purchased a few Recorders on eBay and have used these techniques with great success. Congrats on your purchase. Enjoy!

    #1448

    Ned Mast
    Participant

    Thank you, Ken. This is the first recorder that I’ve purchased on eBay. The solutions you suggest for ‘cleaning’ a wood recorder sound effective, and I’ll keep them in mind for any future purchases. As of now, the bass has lost most of the smell it had. Other than keeping it in my air-conditioned studio, the only other thing I’ve done is to oil it. It’s not at all objectionable for me to play it now. In fact, though not as loud as my Yamaha ‘plastic’ bass, I prefer the quality of its sound so much that I think that wood will be the way I’ll go in all my recorder playing. I am happy, however, that the Yamaha’s got me started playing recorders.

    #1449

    Ken In Dallas
    Participant

    Glad to hear an acceptable situation has been reached. Isn’t it something that in many ways we wish our wooden instruments played like our plastic and that our plastic had the sound of the wooden. All the hybrid attempts have apparently failed from what I’ve read. I wish Yamaha would come out with an Ecodear Tenor and Bass. My Soprano and Alto 400s have the best sound of any of the many plastic recorders I’ve collected, and with some homebrew anticlogging solution they seem to stay endlessly playable. Anyway… again, glad to hear you’re enjoying the new instrument. — k —

    #1450

    Katia J
    Participant

    I wonder if exposing it to ozone might work… I think that’s often how restoration companies get the smoke smell out of items that have been in a building with a fire. (It might even be worth it to call your local restoration company and ask their advice. If anyone would know how to do it, they would!)

    #1451

    Ned Mast
    Participant

    Thanks, Katia. As I told Ken, it’s much improved now – no longer a problem to play it. I guess having it in an air-conditioned, clean environment, and oiling it has mitigated the problem.
    Ned

    #1452

    Ned Mast
    Participant

    On the subject of wood recorders: my first instrument was drums – wooden drums played with wooden sticks. Next was the quitar followed by the lute – both wood instruments. Then came the cello – a wood instrument played with a wood bow. I have come to love the feel and appearance of wood, in addition to its sound. I’m quite willing to spend a bit more for quality wood recorders, and to do the added maintenance required to enjoy not only their sound, but their feel in my hands.

    #1453

    Ken In Dallas
    Participant

    Here, Here! A person of quality! It’s a fine addiction to have Ned.

    My guitar, commissioned in 1984, is Brazilian Rosewood cut before the turn of the (other) Century and Spruce cut in the early 1960s. Never regretted the price or that the case for it cost nearly half that of the guitar itself. We were evacuated three times by wildfires while we lived in California. Grabbed the guitar first. In the case went the house deed, birth certs, and car ownerships. Wood: Love the feel of it; Love the sound of it. – k –

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