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Do-it-yourself reconditioning

While I sincerely encourage do-it-yourselfers, I need to also say that if you are interested in reconditioning just one clarinet, consider the costs. You end up having to buy extra materials— unless you have the help of a sympathetic local repair tech. 

You will normally need three thicknesses of sheet cork, and pads of several sizes and thicknesses. See the Stuff pages for information about key and wood oils. It is important that you have the right sizes of screw drivers. I normally prefer to use those with a long shank, not the three inch variety.  

Head sources: Also you will need a clean heat source. I use a Bunsen burner running on denatured alcohol for the largest key cups. I use a soldering iron for heating the smaller key cups. Normal butane cigarette lighters leave soot. 

For many clarinets, you get by pretty well using medium thickness pads on the right hand joint, and thin pads on the left hand joint. See the Normandy page for pad sizes for that clarinet (which will also work for most Noblet/Leblanc clarinets. For diameter sizes and Valentino pads, the pad size is the same as the inner diameter of the pad cup. For traditional bladder pads, the pad size is larger because there is some overhang.

I hope to add some of my own videos to this page in time. Feel free to ask questions at the forum.


See all of Tom Ridenour's videos, and especially the two on repadding, 82a and 82b.
Tenon cork replacement
Putting in screws properly
Reducing sloppy noisy pivot points

Instrument Repair with Master Sgt. Dale Barton Videos
Securing loose posts  using baking soda!

Hornfixer Youtube index:
I don't know if Mr. & Mrs. Bertie will ever see this, but I want to express my appreciation for these great little instructional videos.
I do things somewhat differently. The Hornfixer methods are great for those using traditional pads and corks.
You CAN do it yourself!

Some of these links may no longer be current, but the Index link above still works.
  • disassembling the top joint: part 1
  • disassembling the lower joint: part 2
  • removing tenon corks: part 3
  • taking corks and pads off: part 4
  • buffing keys: part 5
  • buffing the body, rings and wood: part 6
  • hand buffing the body and posts: part 7
  • part two of buffing, the upper joint: part 8
Someone sent the link to this book. I haven't seen it yet:

Clarinet Manual: How to Buy, Set Up and Maintain a Boehm System Clarinet [Hardcover]

Stephen Howard (Author)