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Cork attachment

Discussion in 'Clarinets' started by Koopyetz, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. Hello

    I'm in the process of attaching cork bumpers to various keys.

    After the contact cement has dried and cork and key are joined , the cork
    Doesn't seem to want to stay on for this particular key.

    I've cleaned the key at the contact point to make sure it is clean prior to the
    Cork installation.

    Cork on other keys has stayed in place.

    Is there alternate way to attach cork to keys.

    Thank you

  2. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    In every instance that good quality contact cement has failed in my experience is that one or both of the parts are not grease free. I prefer to use new natural cork stored in a plastic wrapper for key feet when that material is required.

    When using a piece of older cork that looks soiled, it is wise to wipe the cork with alcohol or tolulene and let dry before adding contact cement. For insurance the cork can then be "roughed up" with 100 grit sandpaper for better adhesion. The area of the key that the cork will be glued to can be given the same treatment.

    I would not advise using "agglomerated cork" shown in the picture below, unless it is specifically the "tech cork" sold by Music Medic, as this cork does not have a good reputation for bonding well or holding up over time. I have replaced scores of sax neck corks made of this material installed by factories and other techs. Using real cork for sax necks and clarinet tenons is well worth the added cost IMHO.

    Very occasionally when rushed for time, I will use gap-filling super glue to attach a foot cork although I am not convinced that this is the best adhesive to use for long term stability.

  3. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    other than what John has mentioned above I use this process to install the cork.

    I normally put a thin layer of Contact Cement (CC) on the cork and also the key, allow to dry about 10 minutes until tacky then place the cork on the key. There should be an immediate "grip" and you should not be able to move the cork. If too much contact cement is applied, or not enough time, then the cork may move around and then the key/cork needs more time to adhere to each other. If dirty it may not stick, etc.

    you can also blow on the two pieces and the CC will dry a bit faster before putting the two pieces together. Then one can trim, finish, etc the finish.

    What kind of contact cement are you using ?
  4. Thank you both for your replies.

    Steve, I'm currently using Elme's rubber cement for cork attachment.


  5. Oops

    That should be Elmer's .

  6. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    For what it's worth I wandered away from contact cement to hot glue when I bumper-cork keys.

    My technique is this: heat the opposite side of the part that is to be corked while rubbing a glue stick (pellets obviously won't work that well) onto the affected area. As soon as the glue stick leaves "snail trails", rub a wee bit more to make sure the whole area is (thinly!) covered, then remove the stick and apply the cork. Press while cooling (preferrably in a crease of your apron, of while wearing leather gloves), then trim as needed.

    This works equally well with felt as hot glue won't be wicked in that easily.

    I never had a cork failing on me, or wandering off.
  7. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Can I recommend moving away from Rubber Cement ?

    Any hardware or general type store will carry Weldwood Contact Cement. They can come in small jars or larger containers. I normally get the smaller jars as I always waste too much from the larger containers.

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  8. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    If that's the "smaller jar", I would hate to see the large container. :)

    I'll second the Dap Weldwood Contact Cement. Be sure to get the "Original" and not the "Nonflammable". The flammability is not an issue since repair uses such small amounts, but it is important to keep the container closed and to avoid using close to an open flame. It tends to thicken in the larger can over time and can be thinned using a small amount of tolulene or Dap's own thinner.

    Rubber cement is an entirely different product. Its advantage is that it is easily rubbed or peeled off after drying making it ineffective when there is a "shearing" force from the side.
  9. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    In addition to the 1 oz small glass jar

    They have containers in Pint, Quart and Gallon

    The 1oz jar uses a flat thin plastic applicator which, once you learn how to use it is quite nice for using with instruments.

    The Pint comes with a "brush" applicator in the cap which is quite useless except for contruction type jobs.
  10. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    FYI, the "original" picture was GIGANTIC. I had since resized it to make it look much "normal" sized.

    As John mentioned they also make a non-flammable. They also make a "gel" formula too. But, like John, I recommend the regular version.

    BTW, I've used tolulene and their thinner before when I was using the larger container. I found the result maybe 75% like the original and the "application process & results" just different. So I stopped using the larger container and prefer the small one. If the small one gets too thick I simply replace it. It get expensive quickly to replace the larger container. You can expect, mostly storage-wise, for an opened container to be good for a month - of course, closed most of the time until needed (the larger container seemed to thickened quicker).

    btw, you won't need gloves or anything as there's no heat .. just some stinky smell.
  11. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Stinky smell, hell...

    ...that stuff smells G-O-O-D!!!. You guys need to spend more time around hydrocarbon distillates.

    The best smelling of all, even better than hexane, is benzene. Unfortunately, it is also extremely carcinogenic. You win some, you lose some...
  12. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I've heard that people in careers that are around that stuff end up doing insane things like giving up their alto clarinet career for bass clarinet and stuff like that :p
  13. Steve

    Will do. Thanks again.

  14. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I've heard that people in careers that are around that stuff end up doing insane things like giving up their alto clarinet career for bass clarinet and stuff like that

    Someday, I must break out my limited supply of thermite and put my alto clarinet mouthpiece into the afterlife...