Restoring a Clarinet's Finish

My husband and I bought a buffet lamp made from a real clarinet and made the mistake of cleaning it with furniture polish. This seems to have stripped away the ebonized finish of the instrument. So now the finish is a fuzzy gray in part, instead of a deep ebony black. Is there any way I can restore the finish of the instrument/lamp without hurting it anymore? If not by me, then who would I turn to for a fix? Thanks for any help out there. The lamp is very sentimental to me, especially since I lost my husband recently. Thanks again for any help.

By Sweepscat from Richmond, VA

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I looked on the web how to care for or restore a clarinet and was surprised to see how much work is involved to care for one. Most sites said the wood needs to be oiled, but didn't say what type of oil and said most oils won't penetrate ebony because it is such a hard wood. I don't know whether or not it works on ebony, but I do know that Zap Professional Wood Restorer is great stuff, penetrates well and if furniture has white rings on it, even those disappear. It is available online. If you are worried about experimenting on the clarinet, you can contact the company who makes the wood restorer and ask whether or not it works on ebony. If not, they might be able to suggest a product that will work. Here is their contact information, and good luck.

Sirius Products Inc.

18911 Nordhoff St. Ste 37

Northridge, CA, 91324

Phone: 818-993-0021

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I am a clarinet player and have 2 lamps that I made from old clarinets. One is bright and shiny black with shiny keys and the other is dulled as you describe and the keys appear tarnished. Neither is made of real wood. It sounds as if the clarinet you have is not wood but some kind of resin or plastic. I am probably going to take mine apart and spray paint it shiny black, polish the keys and then spray a clear finish on them and put it all back together to see if it matches the first one better. The other idea I had was to spray paint the entire instrument in a color to match my decor (they have clarinets that are painted that way at Mr Rogers Neighborhood at Idlewild Park in Ligonier, PA.

P.S. My "wooden" clarinet shines if I dab oil on it - but I don't. It's over forty years old and still has a nice kind of satin black finish.

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First, my condolences on your recent loss. As for the clarinet, you might want to ask a professional at your local music store for advice. Either that, or if you know anyone who works with wood, perhaps they would have some ideas how you can restore your treasure.

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Just to ad, when actually cleaning a wood clarinet you would use Bore Oil. It is made for a clarinet to keep the wood conditioned so it don't split, crack or chip. When you use bore oil it will shine the instrument at first and then it soaks in then the wood will look rich and dark and no longer shiny.

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Home and Garden Repair Other Musical InstrumentsApril 16, 2009
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