We not only make copies of historical instruments, but we have made a name for our conscientious restoration of the most highly valued original instruments. I, Guntram Wolf, have, during my years of archaeological studies, not only made restorations, but also learned the best methods for restoration and maintenance of antiquities.
My standards of historical instruments for purposes of copying are:
- it must be the best or at least the best possible example from the period.
- it must have the typical sound color of its time.
- it must be easily playable, without complicated extra fingerings.
- it must speak freely in all registers.
- the octaves and all other intervals must be in tune
There are many existing instruments, even by famous makers, which are not worth copying.We use the original woods, especially mountain maple and authentic boxwood (buxus sempervirens); for later instruments, we use tropical woods as well.We make our historical copies, piece by piece, by hand, in the traditional ways.In many cases, especially bassoons of the classic and romantic periods and oboes, we can make the bores using original tools.
Historical instruments have no bore lining. They must be re-bored after some period, which can be form several months to two years. When the intonation and especially the response change, it is time to do this.
The bore should be oiled once or twice a year. For this purpose, you should use only a drying oil, for example, cold-pressed linseed oil, thistle oil or hempseed oil. Chinese tung oil is also a drying oil but should never be used, for health reasons. These oils can be thinned with gum turpentine, but it is not necessary.
Be extremely careful not to get any oil on the pads. Do not use any other oil, such as almond oil; they can substantially damage the instrument. Do not leave the instrument where there is no ventilation, mildew can grow rapidly and damage the wood.
Rub the outside of the instrument with a rag, with just a drop of oil, with time the instrument will take on a beautiful sheen.