All lubed up

All lubed up

In a recent discussion someone mentioned that over oiling a flute can cause problems. Is that a thing? Here on my turf single digit humidity is pretty common to the result that guitar frets have to be filed down at the edges (prevents bloody fingers) and the rings on my new flute fell off. I get that slathering almond oil till it flows off is probably a bad idea but I oil my flute a couple of times a week. Can’t say it’s caused a problem but can it and why? Your experience please!

Re: All lubed up

Other than oil getting on pads, loosening glue on corked tenons, or turning rancid, what other potential issues are there? All of the above can be easily prevented by careful oiling technique and using the proper oil. I use a mix of cosmetic almond oil with a few drops of vitamin E oil added to a small 2-oz squeeze bottle to oil my flutes.

Re: All lubed up

I use standard bore oil from the music shop. Seems it would take a dunce to overdo it. No issues in 40 years.

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Re: All lubed up

Bore oil?!! Is that a specialist lipid based anti-friction product for lubricating tedious repetitive old blokes (such as me) at sessions (and probably lots of other places). Some look and sound like they could do with a bit of an oil.

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And isn’t it strange that the bigger the bore, the better we like it.

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Re: All lubed up

Hi as you are in a “dry” part of the world you need to play your flute a lot if not put a humidifier in your flute case. The rings loosen because the wood has dried out.
Just find a small pill pot type of thing make holes in the lid put cotton wool in the pot, wet it, keep the cotton wool wet and pop it in your case !

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Serious question : is vaseline an option? It’s safely used on bow frog screws, and it makes contact with the wood of the inner bore of the stick. Just an idea …

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Vaseline is a pure, saturated hydrocarbon. You can think of it as a thick form of mineral oil. I would stay away from vegetable oils, almond oils, Vitamin E oils, etc since they are unsaturated, reactive, and will oxidize and gel in time.

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Re: All lubed up

Why deviate from bore oil in favor of some other concoction?

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Re: All lubed up

Ailin, most standard bore oils contain mineral oil, and some people are leery of putting a petroleum product against their lips. Mineral oil is widely used in cosmetics, and because it’s a “large molecule” emollient, it shouldn’t penetrate the skin. Less is known about what happens when it’s in contact with the lips, and whether it could accumulate in your tissues. So some people are cautious and prefer to use plant-based oils. Of course, plant-based oils can have their own downsides, and some can trigger allergic reactions, so it’s worth bearing in mind that “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe.” Mineral oil is a “natural” product, too, in fact plant-based, but the plants have been stuck underground for millions of years under great pressure to create petroleum.

I used almond oil on my (keyless) wooden flutes for decades and had no issues. I kept the bottle in the fridge, used it infrequently and sparingly (even when living in arid climates), and after letting it sit on the wood, wiped and swabbed thoroughly. The main reason I used this oil over standard bore oil? I preferred the scent of it.

In arid places, I kept my flutes in an airtight storage bin with a humidifier when they weren’t being played. That was the real key to maintaining a stable humidity in the wood.

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Re: All lubed up

Well I don’t oil my guitar but could probably do with oiling my fingers!

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Re: All lubed up

I think saturated fats, waxes, and water are found in all hardwoods. However, for something like my acoustic guitar, aside from cleaners and polishes for the finished surfaces, the manufacturer recommends only humidification. I imagine (uneducated guess) the oils and waxes desiccate over time, changing the tone but maybe do not affect the instrument dimensions. I sometimes, for no particular reason, use a little lemon oil on the fretboard during cleaning. In my experience, lack of humidity is the most destructive, causing components to shrink in different directions and glued seams become stressed and separate.

Where I live, I’m fortunate to only need to humidify during the winter heating season.

Re:Humidify!

Ross; what Barry said. It comes down to your location, **humidification** & how your wooden flute responds considering all the conditions you put it through ~‘there in Utah’.

https://www.visitutah.com/plan-your-trip/weather

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Re: All lubed up

Would you consider a Delrin flute? No humidity issues there.
I’ve just got one from Dave Seery, plays very nicely.
I’m playing it alongside my Ormiston and not much difference in sound quality.