Mollenhauer Denner Pearwood (Mod.5206)

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    Alessandro Zanino

    Dears, I just purchased a Mollenhauer Denner Pearwood (Mod.5206) as my first wooden recorder. I would like to understand a couple of things that are not clear on manufacturer’s website.

    1) The internal side shall be oiled or not ? I cannot understand if it’s treated with paraffin (or other similar substances) or if it’s not and shall be oiled.
    2) Should i do a first oiling immediately after receiving it ?
    3) I cannot understand if the external surface is lacquered or it’s just natural wood.

    Thank you in advance

    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 —

    TL Zick

    Ken and Alessandro,

    I understood the opposite. That the exotic hardwoods require oiling, as they do not have paraffin applied to the inside. (From my personal, non-musical instrument, experience with exotic hardwoods ie… Purple Heart, Teak, etc… they usually have an oil content in them.) That pearwoods and maple usually have paraffin. I have an ebony Moeck alto that I oil periodically. In the beginning of ownership, it is suggested by some to oil ~every 2 weeks. Mollenhauer has an excellent video on how to oil a recorder. Pay close attention to how they use the rod to measure where the fipple (back of the block) is from the outside — Great idea! Here’s a link to the video: . Sarah Jeffery is also an outstanding resource for information about learning to play, care for, and enjoy recorders. She is a brilliant musician on youtube. Here is a link to her video on oiling and cleaning a recorder:
    OILING and CLEANING your recorder! – (Side note: If your recorder is new, I would *not* knock out the block. I didn’t even remove it from the alto, as it is in new condition.) When I received the alto, second hand, I oiled it immediately and let it stand overnight. I have now read that one should oil with very little oil and swab out immediately. Just like everything in the world, there are varying opinions… An instrument must be dry before you should oil it, otherwise you risk trapping moisture between the oil, against the wood. I figure it is driest upon arrival. When you order an instrument from a shop, often they oil it before it goes out the door. So, you can play it immediately upon receiving. Ken, you are correct: Von Huene in Boston is excellent. One can call them and speak with them, they’re very nice and knowledgeable. Here is their link:
    I think one of the most important things you can do is slowly break in a recorder. There are several guidelines for this available. Here is a link to Sarah Jeffery’s video on that: I looked up your instrument (I think) on The Early Music Shop site (another outstanding resource, especially for the sound files they have collected for various instruments) and it indeed says the pearwood has “Wax Impregnation.” You can read this for yourself by going to this link: . The words and other information are on the right hand side in list form if you scroll down. You can often email a shop such as this one with a simple question, and they will respond. The Early Music shop, located in the UK, is also run by pretty nice people.

    Good luck!

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by TL Zick.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by TL Zick.
    Ken In Dallas

    Thank you! I went looking and found that you are correct about which woods are impregnated with wax. I must be getting old. — k —

    Edward Plumer

    I recently contacted Mollenhauer directly and asked them how I can determine which models/woods are paraffin impregnated. I received the following reply:

    All wood is impregnated before starting to form a recorder. During the manufacturing process the surfaces are cleaned of paraffin and the inner bore is oiled (with some models also the outer surface).

    From this, and other informational videos on their site, I gather that the bore of ALL of their recorder woods can and should be oiled, more or less frequently. The outside only required if non-varnished and non-lacquered. varnish looks more like high gloss finish whereas oil looks more like a matte to satin finish.

    Edward Plumer

    Needless to say, I am more confused than before.

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