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Sealling a comb with...?

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Robb L
Jan 27, 2009 4:02 AM GMT
Is butchers block oil the best bet? Thanks for any feedback.

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Comments (21)

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Jan 27, 2009 5:13 AM GMT
Bradley H Replied:

I would say it is best to seal the combs with the same products used to seal kids wooden toys. That is what I use. I hope this helps!

Jan 27, 2009 5:22 AM GMT
Robb L Replied:

Wow, great idea Thanks

Jan 27, 2009 5:27 AM GMT
Elk River Replied:

Butches block is used to seal stuff that comes in contact with stuff folks eat... Plus it works well. Taditional BB oil is mineral oil but that isn't really what you want you want actual BB oil... It will dry anything used on food or as bad said toys works there's a lot of stuff out there. Salad bowl fimish is good but it leaves a yellow hue. I tried boiled linseed oil once... It actually has driers in it... But it sux. Takes forever to dy and gets gummy. Boiled linseed oil bites the big one.

Jan 27, 2009 5:29 AM GMT
Elk River Replied:

Meant BRAD sorry I am typing this on a cell phone

Jan 27, 2009 7:48 AM GMT
Oldwailer Replied:

The salad bowl finish is good--but it takes about six days to get a few coats on because it dries slow. I like the yellow hue myself--so I use it.

Beezwax can be used--but it will be with you forever--you'll be scraping it off your teeth after a hot gig--and it doesn't really taste all that good--it also attracts and holds particles of sand and dust like crazy. The upside is you can melt it down with a heat gun then dip the comb & you're done--put the harp back together while it's still warm and you get a great seal.

I used to use a lot of linseed oil for painting--I wouldn't dream of touching a harp with the sh*t--it just sounds wrong. . .

Jan 27, 2009 8:08 AM GMT
Civet Cat Replied:

Brad what is the name of the actual wooden toy sealent?


Jan 27, 2009 11:00 PM GMT
Preston M Replied:

Wailer, I've never tried anything other than beeswax. I've done a MB and several Blues Harps. Never had a problem with getting wax on my teeth. I buy the kind at a hardware store, back in the paint department. What kind are you using? Maybe theres some Bees waxes that are better for this?

Jan 28, 2009 1:40 AM GMT
Joe Replied:

Jan 28, 2009 2:28 PM GMT
Oldwailer Replied:

Hi Preston,
I bought a little block of wax at a health food store--looked like a little ingot with the word "beeswax" imprinted in the top. Maybe there are different hardnesses or something? I might be laying it on too thick or something--I'll experiment a little because it is really more convenient to use than the salad bowl stuff.

Don't you find that the harps kind of attract dust motes that stick to the wax? Also, don't you find that there is a kind of bad honey flavor to the stuff?

Jan 28, 2009 2:50 PM GMT
Elk River Replied:

Woodcraft magazine also looked into this and came up with the same conclusion, that virtually all finishes are food safe.
The whole mystique of food-safe and non-food-safe finishes arises from the days when finishes had lead in them. Thus arose this grand hysteria about the dangers of the finishes, which are food-safe and which are not, Joe's article also mentions that... and because people never really got informed, that hysteria never faded.
The article made one point I hadn't considered before, manufacturers perpetuate this hysteria by labeling their products “food safe” even if it is no more safe than anybody else's stuff.

I tell people to use Butcher's Block because it's worked well for me and is one of the labeled “food-safe” products. Why do I go with “food safe?” Not necessarily because its safer. On a harp mailing list I am no longer a part of, even when one offers the material data safety sheet for a product, it isn't enough and even a relatively harmless polish product with like 98% totally innate substances and 2% petroleum distillates substances I suggested on that list for polishing coverplates sparked a million-man march of Chicken Littles, despite the fact it was probably safer than the lip balm they put on their lips.
So, if I find one that works well for what I'm doing, and I am totally happy with Butcher's Block and use it, and it's marketed as “food safe” it saves me a lot of headaches.

Jan 28, 2009 3:07 PM GMT
luke j Replied:

Hi guys, I normally play MB deluxes. I'm going to start sealing the teeth on the comb cos hohner just seal the bits you can see. They are pretty airtight and I was wondering whether I should, or whether it's worth sealing the top and bottom of the comb whilst I'm sealing the teeth?

Jan 28, 2009 3:09 PM GMT
Kingley Replied:

I'd seal the whole comb myself.

Jan 28, 2009 5:01 PM GMT
Elk River Replied:

Do it all, keeping in mind the comb must be flat as possible.

Jan 29, 2009 3:05 AM GMT
Randy S Replied:

Hear hear Dave!! Well put! I chimed in on that polishing subject as well and received nothing but nasty comments. Hence I will NEVER post there again. Im not thin skinned but when Im trying to be helpful and get attacked for it.....well, nuff said. We got the best forum going anywhere right here!Harmonicaspace rocks!!I use isopthalic polyester resin from tap plastics. Hard as glass and guaranteed non toxic. Sprayed from an airbrush. Gotta work fast though as it sets in about 20 mins. Polyester bar top is another great finish. Apply with a cheap foam brush heavy and its self leveling. Super hard and can be lapped when cured. This is more important the the finish itself. Some finishes will clog sandpaper and mess up the finish. You can get a blue sandpaper called no load but its very spendy. Like $5 a sheet. You rule Dave!

Jan 30, 2009 12:27 PM GMT
shahar Replied:

what about waterbase acrylic varnish?

Jan 30, 2009 10:32 PM GMT
Joe Replied:

acrylic isn't as durable as polyurethane. the problem with waterbased is that the tines will soak it up and deform terribly if you put too much on at once. be careful and good luck

Feb 01, 2009 7:40 AM GMT
Elk River Replied:

I stopped using waterbased for that very reason. That, and it sucked. ;)

Feb 04, 2009 4:55 AM GMT
Kiwi Harper Replied:

I did an MB about a month ago using a good quality light cooking oil painted in the comb using an artists brush being careful not to use much or hit the reeds. I am quite a dry player any way so a light coat was enough to keep swelling at bay. If I wash it it swells but a light coat a couple of times from new works well for me to stop any playing problems. I didnt want to strip it from new as it played well and the slight swell as the oil soaks in seemed to help seal it ok.

My theory came about because I now use cooking oil on my wooden kitchen bench tops to keep them sealed after several years ago buying a chopping block that recommended it's use rather than BB oil. It will get tacky if you slap loads on but a light coat lasts a couple of months.

Oil might not work if you slaver in there but I will keep up with it on this harp and see how it goes, at least it isnt toxic.

Feb 04, 2009 3:13 PM GMT
Elk River Replied:

Those who want to go this route can sand the comb with say around 360 grit sandpaper, then work to a fine cloth, maybe 1000 grit. It closes off the pores somewhat, so it doesn't soak up as much moisture.

Feb 05, 2009 9:12 AM GMT
Civet Cat Replied:

or if you just want a marine band with a sealed comb and don't want to mess with any of this, You can order one from Dave Payne. The wood comb on this Marine Band is sealed to 
prevent swelling from playing. The comb teeth 
are filed down to make it more comfortable, 
reedplates sanded smooth and the back covers 
opened up like the Prewars...Pretty cool for 50 bucks! Cheaper than a deluxe and only 10.00  above a retail hohner M.B. for ten times the harp. Plus it has West Virginia Bubba Mojo!

Feb 05, 2009 10:27 PM GMT
Elk River Replied:

Hey thanks Jason!

They are sealed with Butcher's Block, btw.

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