New whistle + care + other

New whistle + care + other

Long time flute player (Sam Murray) ,..recently acquired a tin whistle and the whole thing is made out of aluminum and has a lovely tone. Just played it to get use to it and when I was finished I had aluminum residue on my fingers, thumb and mouth pieces so I’m here to ask a question as to the residue.

Anything to be done to stop this rub off onto me?
Can I coat it with some clear whatever- lacquere?
I mean, whats food-grade for this type of application?

I guess if it comes down to it I could live with the stuff on my hands and wash when finished. But my mouth, well??

I don’t want to eat aluminum the rest of my life. I’ve re-joined Chiff&fipple to see if I can get answers from there but my account isn’t active yet so, in the meantime I look to your insights. Anyone?

TIA, Jay

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Re: New whistle + care + other

I suggest emailing Michael Bruke who makes high end aluminum whistles. Also try wiping the whistle with isopropyl, a practice recommended by Mr. Bruke.

Re: New whistle + care + other

Aluminium forms an oxide on its surface which protects the aluminium from the elements somewhat, and you from the aluminium, to a small extent, presumably, although I certainly wouldn’t trust it. Anodised aluminium has been taken through a process to make the oxide coating thicker and stronger. Quite a few manufactured items are sold with some sort of coating applied, or another substance used during the manufacturing process, such as polish or machining compounds, which should be washed off properly before packaging but might not be. So that stuff coming off the whistle could be anything and I think the manufacturer should be able to tell you what it is. Also I think manufacturers should know what it’s really like for their customers trying to use the finished product and dealing with mystery materials shedding off the whistle.

Ask them how they recommend the whistle should be cleaned and give it a go, then see if stuff is still coming off on your skin.

Don’t be tempted to give it a thorough clean in the dishwasher because caustic dishwasher cleaners are no good for the aluminium oxide coating, anodised or not.

Asking about a food-grade coating sounds like a sensible question. I can think of shellac (the flakes artists use), but that is probably no good for the mouthpiece of a whistle because moisture makes shellac go all weird until it dries again, and whistle mouthpieces spend too long being damp for shellac to be a good idea.

You can take most of the above with a grain of salt because my knowledge on some of this is a bit simplified and shaky. If it was my whistle, I’d be asking the manufacturer too. Let us know what you found out?

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