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Covid-19 and repairers

U CAN CALL ME AL

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I was wondering what concerns or forum techies have with regard to Covid-19? Will you be taking any special measures at all to protect yourselves if so how, what and why.
Stay safe Techies. Regards Al
 

jbtsax

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Thank you for your concern. There has been an in depth discussion of this on the NAPBIRT facebook site. Some shops are having customers leave their instruments outside the front door to avoid personal contact, and going through a strict regimen to sanitize everything they work on before and after the repairs are done.

There have been no cases of the virus in the area where I live and work, and I just do repairs by appointment so it has not been an issue---yet. I am avoiding shaking hands and trying to keep a safe distance from those I come in contact with. Everything in the U.S. is in flux, so I expect that things can rapidly change. Studies are showing the virus can survive on some surfaces up to 2 to 3 days which gives those who work on instruments some guidance as to how soon they can safely touch something brought in without using a disinfectant.
 

randulo

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There have been no cases of the virus in the area where I live and work,
Utah is a beautiful state. I've passed through it, but never spent much time there. It's one of the less touched by the virus because of the low population density in much of the state. You must know from the media of social networks that those of us in populated areas are mostly under "house arrest". Even those who are fortunate enough to be in such an area need to take the measures you mention, because you never know whose hand might be bringing you a virus.
I think some of us would be interested by any info you can give regarding safe disinfecting products and procedures to use on saxophones and clarinets. Perhaps even a separate post? Larry Teal doesn't say much about this stuff >:).
 

Stephen Howard

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I've just published a coronavirus policy on my site.

One useful piece of news is that the virus dies after around 4 hours of exposure to copper - and as most metal woodwinds are made from copper-based alloys, the bore of these instrument will be largely self-decontaminating. There's no firm data on wood and precious metals as yet, though as a general rule of thumb viruses tend not to do so well on rough surfaces.

I don't have too many concerns myself. I've been at this job an awful long time and have had to deal with some extremely grubby instruments...and more than a few clients who clearly should have been tucked up in bed with a thermometer in their mouth rather than dropping their horns in for a service - and in all that time I don't think I've ever caught anything nasty.
Mostly it's about common sense - which tends to be something you pick up the first time someone brings you a gob-encrusted horn for a service...where you're not so much having to wipe the crud off as peel it off.

The novel coronavirus brings new challenges in that it's new and not that well understood as yet - but appears to share properties with other members of its group. This means that established methods will work against it (disinfectant solutions, soap, alcohol-based solutions) - all of which should be in regular use in a workshop in any event.
On this basis the 'special measures' can be roughly summarised as minimising close and prolonged contact with clients and using at least twice as much disinfectant twice as often.
Physical barriers are obviously going to help, particularly when instruments are taken in - which means getting through an awful lot of disposable nitrile gloves.

Essentially though, treat all incoming instruments as dirty; disinfect before commencing work and disinfect after 'signing off' - and then don't touch them again.
 

Stephen Howard

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I think some of us would be interested by any info you can give regarding safe disinfecting products and procedures to use on saxophones and clarinets.

Dettol (Lysol) spray is your friend, but you can also use isopropyl alchohol (70%) solution.
Ask yourself, though - are you going to need it?
If it's just you playing your horn, there aren't going to be any bugs on it other that those you already have.
Sure, if you get sick it makes sense to clean your horn before going back to play it after recovery - but otherwise it's likely to be a complete waste of time.

Of greater concern should be any moisture that drips out of the bore of the instrument while you're playing; the 'sidestream' of salival spray while you're playing; and what you do with any cleaning/drying cloths when you're done playing.
 

randulo

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Ask yourself, though - are you going to need it?
Thanks, I was asking for the benefit of someone who for some reason has to repair or play a "foreign" instrument, not his or her own. You are correct in that there's much conflicting info on the media and social. Incubation times, residual time the virus is active, airborne or not, masks work, they don't work; it's foolish not to take a "cover all the bases" approach, assuming worst case scenario. So in general, with regard to handling instruments of objects of any kind, all precautions should be taken. I think at this point in time, many households do have alcohol 70%, gloves and hand gel. I know that here, our main tech is closed, so there will be an uptick of people needing to try to fix their own instruments. Again, thank you all for your contributions!
 

Alphorn

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@jbtsax
@Stephen Howard

I have difficulties to picture how you would disinfect an instrument. Would you mind to describe your procedure? Sax is metal, rubbing with alcoho might be feasible, but clarinets are wood. How would your handle sax and clarinet respectively?

Alphorn
 

JayeNM

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@jbtsax
@Stephen Howard

I have difficulties to picture how you would disinfect an instrument. Would you mind to describe your procedure? Sax is metal, rubbing with alcoho might be feasible, but clarinets are wood. How would your handle sax and clarinet respectively?

Alphorn
This is a reasonable question because, typically, 'disinfecting' per se is not a usual 'scope of work' in instrument repair, really....

I mean, there's chem bathing or sonic bathing (neither of which are alcohol-based if I am correct ?), there's soap cleaning, there's polishing, there may be disinfecting of mouthp[ieces and even perhaps some techs who disinfect an entire neck...

Would it be reasonable to say that a chem or sonic bath would disinfect the instrument ?

I suppose if one were very concerned they could add a disinfectant to the soap-wash phase of cleaning (?)

It's an interesting question....
 

randulo

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Don't put it in the microwave! Would the alcohol sold to clean electronics be harmful to the lacquer on those finishes? Or to the pearl on keys. Or the pads?
 

JayeNM

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Don't put it in the microwave! Would the alcohol sold to clean electronics be harmful to the lacquer on those finishes? Or to the pearl on keys. Or the pads?
Tenor-sized microwaves are hella expensive, anyways. Let's not get talking about ones for Baritones....
 

just saxes

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Don't have time for a full reply right now, but most of what is circulating as far as survival time of SARS-COV-2 is based on one of two surface-survival lab studies. What both studies reveal is that not only surface type but temperature and humidity (or moisture level) greatly affect the virus's viability time on surfaces. But that has been left out of people's interpretations of those studies, and out of circulation that later proliferates as a result of those studies.

There's the problem with that: the most commonly (it seems to me, personally, having looked at this obsessively) cited study mainly tested the survival times of the virus at 72 degrees F -- sort of "warm room temperature in Winter" -- and that temperature is very hostile to COV-2.

COV-1 is mentioned in coverage of the COV-2 study as having been found to live as long as 29 days on plastic and stainless steel at around 2 degrees C.

Personally, I was originally not touching horns for 9-14 days after receiving them -- at all -- while storing them in a quarantined storage rental that only I have access to (temps around 49F to 85F over the course of any given day, mostly in the 65-80 degree range during the day), and then washing the necks in dishsoap and water after unpacking. Upon finishing work, the horn was then washed again (neck only), allowed to dry out of the case, and then subjected to hot air both outside and inside, before being put back in the case and boxed into a cardboard box, which was then taped shut.

The logic there is that the virus seems to survive shortest on cloth and cardboard, out of the general surfaces tested and mentioned.

That way, the customer can leave it in the cardboard according to their own judgment, with the knowledge of when I last put air from myself in the horn before that post-work rigamarole began.

The main thing I wanted to point out in this post is that most of the info comes from one of two studies, the range of temperature in those studies is very limited and harsh for the virus (your house or shop could be cooler than 72F, and thus friendlier to the virus), and that citing citations of those studies should rightly note the limited scope of those studies (for your judgment's edification and your body's good health).

I don't think any customers have waited more than 3 days since I returned their horns or handed over their purchases. But they also know I have tested negative for antibodies twice and for infectivity 3 times, and that, as you can see, there are not a lot of people more strict than me in protocols right now.
 

just saxes

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Isn't brass inhospitable to microbes etc? I'm sure I read that somewhere. It might have been silver.

Not inhospitable enough for it to not be known, firmly, that woodwind players tend to have better ability to force air in and out of their lungs, and yet higher incidences of respiratory infection and illness than the population at large.

If you look it up in detail, you'll see I'm not wrong.

Woodwind players having disproportionate respiratory disease is an established medical fact.
 

Stephen Howard

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Isn't brass inhospitable to microbes etc? I'm sure I read that somewhere. It might have been silver.
It's the copper that has this property - of which brass contains a percentage.
Silver, too, has antibacterial properties.
However, such properties take rather a long time to work - so it's merely a point of interest rather than something you should rely on.
 

Targa

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Zugzwang

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… and would it help us to think of such apparently Ai driven interference as a means by which world leaders could be thwarted when they post (expletive deleted) twaddle on Twitter…?
I did a thoroughly scientific test on myself yesterday - had my blood pressure tested after listening to the news and then later after watching the highlights of the Giro (cycle race for the couldn’t care less-ers). No prizes for guessing right…
 

Targa

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… and would it help us to think of such apparently Ai driven interference as a means by which world leaders could be thwarted when they post (expletive deleted) twaddle on Twitter…?
I did a thoroughly scientific test on myself yesterday - had my blood pressure tested after listening to the news and then later after watching the highlights of the Giro (cycle race for the couldn’t care less-ers). No prizes for guessing right…
Not sure I could guess right.
I find the news to be a great source of black humour with the hypocrisy and stupidity shown by everyone from presenters to members of the public and perhaps you got very excited if you are a cycle racing enthusiast.
 
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