Cleaning A Tenon Cork

By Sarah Beck, RDG Gouging Machine Specialist

It’s happened to all of us. You go to take your instrument apart. It’s grippy and tight. You twist and feel something give way… Oh no! The tenon cork has come off! There’s not a lot you can do to fix it besides having it professionally repaired. You could wrap dental floss around it, hoping it will stay in place just long enough to finish your gig. But really, it’s a major stressor that nobody wants to deal with. Luckily, there’s a super easy way to help prevent this scenario.

Clean your tenon joints! Cork grease can build up over time and can actually cause the tenons to get gummy and feel tight. Eventually, there can be enough friction to tear the cork.

What I normally do is take a paper towel and put a little bit of rubbing alcohol on it. Then, I then clean both parts of the tenon joint, cork and metal. You want to avoid getting the rubbing alcohol on any wooden parts of the instrument. 


Once you have cleaned off the old cork grease, you should be able to see the cork looking new again. 

After it’s been cleaned off, put a fresh coat of cork grease on to help it move smoothly. 

*** I know paper towels and rubbing alcohol are both in short supply now, so use your best judgement as to when to attempt this. I would say that if you feel you need to, do so sparingly. As always, if you have a repair emergency, please contact a technician to set up a time for repair.

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