Reply To: Mollenhauer Denner Pearwood (Mod.5206)

Ken In Dallas

Hey There Alessandro, I’ve had my Mollenhauer Pearwood Alto and Soprano for just under two years now and found the myself having the same questions and unsure feelings after reading the Mollenhauer information:

The one better source on Mollenhauers is Von Huene’s up in Boston as they are (I believe) the only Mollenhauer authorized repair shop here in the States. They also will revoice a Mollenhauer for the original owner for up to two years after purchase if it’s needed. I hated my Alto after breaking it in. I tried to live with it and couldn’t. After sending it to Von Huene I enjoy it and play it a great deal.

“IF” I understand correctly…. the heads of woods like Grenedilla, Rosewood, and the more brittle species are (or should be) factory wax impregnated so they can’t absorb water (saliva) excessively while playing and especially when breaking in. Pear is more forgiving. All wood Recorders require breaking in but the risk of a crack is much greater with the brittle exotics. So… I didn’t oil mine immediately after purchase and I don’t think you have to (from reading their info.) Just make sure you break it in slowly as prescribed and also oil it in a few months.

The block – especially at the labium window – but anywhere, should never be oiled.

“IF” I understand correctly… (and what I did) was ‘play in’ my Recorder as Mollenhauer prescribed so the instrument could slowly absorb water from saliva and adjust to any resulting expansion. I’m now oiling two or three times a year. Mollenhauer says it shouldn’t look dull inside.

I didn’t ask, but my instrument looks lightly finished. I don’t think that’s a raw wood though fine-scraped or sanded surface to my eye. An occasional wipe with a damp cloth keeps mine clean and glossy. I wipe mine with a soft dry cloth now-and-then after playing and it looks new… and I play it a lot each day. Note that I use home-brewed anti-clog (dishwashing liquid:water – 1:6) as soon as I feel the instrument choking up after say 45 minutes of playing. In that process, the mild soap also gets wiped on the outside (followed by a damp cloth) so the Recorder stays very clean. Just remember that a light varnish isn’t a bulletproof ‘sealer coat’ and free-standing oil (or anything) left on the surface will eventually penetrate and darken the wood unevenly and visibly beneath. Keep the outside dry and unoiled.

I agree that Mollenhauer doesn’t make it clear enough in their information materials. I don’t think it’s a crazy critical situation with Pear. Just remember that like most things in life…. less is more. I hope this is of some help and assurance. Please post anything you learn for us here. It’s an important topic. Thanks. — k —