Instruments & More
Why do Recorders Require Oiling?
Why do Recorders Require Oiling?The body of a wooden recorder needs to be protected against moisture generated during playing, climatic conditions and dirt. Oiling helps to maintain the beauty of sound and response; without it the wood will age too quickly and change its measurements by swelling and subsequently drying. Also, recorders with a very dry bore will become slightly flat. You can use any plant oil that is not too dense such as pure sweet almond oil, linseed oil or the cheaper peanut oil (though the latter can cause allergies in nut-sensitive people). However, these oils can dry too quickly or become rancid. Therefore we recommend using special recorder oil available from specialist shops – this is modified boiled linseed oil that helps the oil to be absorbed quickly.
The frequency of oiling depends on the demands placed on the instrument by playing and also from environmental conditions. The initial treatment will wear off over time due to the moisture generated during playing and dry atmospheric conditions (especially in winter). In general, a moderate coat of oil should be applied 3–4 times per year. As soon as the wood looks grey or brittle it will require oiling again.
However, there is one exception: both the roof of the windway and the block need to be able to clear away any condensing moisture from the windway. This should happen as a thin film (of water) running off the surface. If windway and block have an oily surface droplets will form and cause disruption to the flow of air and tone production, causing hoarseness. This is the reason why both block and windway must never be oiled.
You find more info on this topic in Oiling – a detailed explanation.