Playing in and maintenance
A new wooden recorder requires playing in. Allow your new csakan time to get used to the humidity and warmth that comes with playing. You can use this time to get used to the characteristics of your new instrument.
Playing in: In the first three to four weeks play daily – but never for longer than 20 minutes. Select slow passages. Discover every single tone – how does it sound best?
Experiment with dynamic playing. Find extremes but do not push your csakan too much, especially in the higher register.
Wood is living material: this is why a block made of cedar wood will swell after extended playing despite all the preventative measures the maker may have taken. It can swell so much that the windway narrows causing problems with response and „hoarseness“. This can be easily corrected in my workshop.
Warm your instrument before playing, particularly in the colder seasons: try warming it up under your arm or by placing the headjoint in a trouser pocket. This will avoid a build-up of condensation and therefore problems with hoarseness and slow response.
Dry each part of the recorder carefully after playing. A cleaning rod with a lint-free cotton cloth is suitable for this purpose. Do not forget to blow out any condensation that has collected in the windway. To do this place the palm of your hand against the open end of the head joint and, placing your mouth over the window, blow strongly through the windway from the labium end (see illustration below). Be careful: some players clear the windway by placing a finger on the labium while blowing through the windway. The labium edge can be very easily damaged if it comes into contact with fingernails!
Let your csakan dry in the open. Do not keep the instrument assembled during this time because this can result in warping and can even cause cracks in the tenon joints. Mould tends to grow on parts that have not been given enough time to dry. This is particularly true for the encased windway including its internal lining. You can easily remove the latter by pushing it through the mouthpiece (using a knitting needle or something similar) and replacing it after drying.
Protect your csakan from extreme changes of temperature as this leads to cracking from stresses placed on the wood. Avoid storing your csakan in hot places such as in cars or on windowsills, which could cause the paraffin or linseed oil used for impregnation to melt.
From time to time clean the surface of your csakan using a damp cloth, possibly with a drop of washing up liquid. Any unsightly marks, especially around the mouthpiece, can easily be removed this way. The windway can carefully be cleaned using a bird’s feather.
The tenons of your csakan need maintenance to keep them repsonsive and easy to move. You can use the tenon grease that comes with every instrument for this purpose. Be sure to apply it sparingly and remove any excess grease. If the joints are stiff and difficult to twist, try rotating them in one direction only. That will make it easier.
The keys require special attention: when assembling or dismantling your recorder always grasp the body of your csakan above or below the keys to avoid bending the key mechanism. If a key no longer works lightly and soundlessly simply apply a drop of oil to the hinge mechanism near the wood. Only use light machine oil (order no. 6136). Do not use recorder oil which is only meant for wood maintenance.
Anticondens (order no.6138) is a mixture of organic washing up liquid and water. It releases the surface tension of the little water droplets in the windway leading to a flat film of moisture. Anticondens is effective in preventing hoarseness of the csakan caused by condensation in the windway.
”First aid“ in cases of hoarseness – demonstrated on a Baroque recorder.
Dribble the anticondens into the windway from the exit side of the windway and let it run over the surface of the block and the roof of the windway down towards the windway entrance. Then blow strongly into the window while covering the headjoint opening with the palm of your hand. Any surplus anticondens will be blown out of the windway and can be wiped away from the windway entrance (see illustration).