It is important to keep your case closed and latched when not in use. Wood is a natural material that absorbs moisture in humid conditions and releases moisture in dry conditions. The result can cause the case to warp. By keeping the case closed and latched, it makes it almost impossible for warping to occur.
Another situation to avoid is leaving the case in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time (hours). Short exposure to sunlight won’t hurt the case, but intense sunlight for hours on end could cause the wood to darken slightly.
Another taboo would be to leave the case in a hot vehicle for several hours. During the summer, temperatures in a car or trunk can exceed 140 degrees and your case is sure to be affected by that heat. If you are curious about what might happen to your case when you do this… just ask my daughter Shannon!
The finish I use on my cases is one of the toughest finishes available, but nothing is indestructible. If at all possible, you want to store your case so that it doesn’t bang into hard objects such as mouthpieces or necks. I don’t make bags for my cases so it is up to the individual regarding how they want to protect the finish on the case. You can store the cases in a thick cotton ankle sock, a fabric bag, a Rico Reeds humidity pack (they fit quite well), wrapped in a towel… use your imagination.
Regarding the glass reed bed; when you open the case, you will notice a glue bead across the back and front under the glass. Finding the right glue was one of my biggest challenges when I first started making the cases. First, it is very difficult to find a glue that adheres to wood and glass, especially glass. Once I found a few that worked well, I finally chose to use a silicon-based adhesive. Not only does it adhere well to both glass and wood, but it also has a natural shock absorbing nature that helps prevent the glass from breaking. However, the glass can break if the case is dropped onto a hard surface from more than a few feet. In the event where the glass breaks with reeds in the case, do not use them. When glass breaks, microscopic chips or shards of glass can stick to the reeds in the case. The idea of a sliver of glass embedding itself in your lip or tongue is not very pleasant. If you break the glass, throw the reeds away. I hear of how difficult it is to find the perfect reed from my daughter all the time, but it isn’t worth the risk.
I do offer lexan (polycarbonate) or plastic for the reed bed instead of glass and I have had some requests for it. Lexan is shatter proof, but I personally feel that glass is a better platform for storing reeds. I also feel that as long as the reed bed is kept clean, glass is easier to keep sanitary. Lexan costs an additional $5.00 per case only because it is a bit more expensive than glass.
When cleaning your case, I recommend a mild cleaner. You can use Windex to clean both the outside and inside of your case.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, I use a very durable finish on my cases. The finish should last years under normal use. However, if the finish on your case starts to dull, you can restore it to some degree by using a little elbow grease and car finish restorer. I use a mild restorer polish that does not have wax and only a very mild abrasive to restore the shine.
There are two products I highly recommend, both made by Meguiar’s. The first is Professional Show Car Glaze #7 and the second ScratchX Fine Scratch and Swirl Remover. You can find these almost anywhere – PepBoys, Walmart, Target, etc.
Lastly, if you aren’t up to the task of polishing the case, or if you have deeper scratches that cannot be easily polished out, you can send the case back to me. I will either polish it out or apply a couple of fresh coats of finish.
If your glass breaks, please don’t try to repair the case yourself. You may very well cause more damage and possibly render the case un-repairable. I can do a miniature overhaul for a nominal fee and restore the case to brand new condition.
I take great pride in every case I build. Remember, I spend four to five weeks bringing the case to life before its future owner ever sees it.
I would like to thank everyone who has purchased one or more of my cases. I sincerely appreciate your business and enjoy working with folks from all around the world.
Watch for more articles. I plan to be more active than I have been in the past by passing along information and sharing insight regarding the process to build my products.
As always feel free to contact me at any time.
Yours in music,