Kraftsman / Ola Kraftsman

Many thanks to Mike Hinkle for giving me the opportunity to review this clarinet.

At first I thought that the name was Old Kraftsman, but at closer inspection it is definitely Ola Kraftsman, which I take to be someone’s name. All parts but the right hand joint have this neat silhouette of a craftsman examining either a clarinet joint or a ruler. The k/craftsman is bald and wears glasses just like me!

I think this is a Malerne product. It has the upper curving first pad cup on the right hand joint, the wide bridge key mate that extends from the same key. It has the large flanges on the feet of the posts on the right hand joint. There is no chiseled out area underneath the right pinkie keys. The left pinkie keys are pin-in-hole type. The G# and A throat tone keys have 4 posts. This looks just like the Andre Piccard, but not so much like the Malerne Standard. Judging by the case, keys, and logo mark, I think this was made in the latter half of the 1950s or before 1963. If this is not a Malerne product, then my next guess would be La Monte.

Serial #H33305

Barrel: 64.5mm

Bore LH joint top: 14.7mm

Bore LH joint at bottom: 14.7mm

Intonation results taken when playing loud and not lipping. See how to interpret these results on the Model Comparison Page.

For this test, I pulled 1.3 mm at the barrel and 2mm at the center tenon. Since my mouthpiece would not fit the original barrel, I used a Ridenour 64mm barrel instead for this test.

Intonation summary: Very nice intermediate intonation by today’s standards. This is about the best one can get in a clarinet that does not have a poly-cylindrical bore.

Key work quality: This came to me with several bent keys. And as I worked on it I find that the keys are soft. These keys are about as soft as those on my 1959 Bundy, and this clarinet would have been made close to the same time. The worst part is the crow foot key. The person who plays this should get used to playing middle B with both the left and right pinkies! The pad cups run .5mm small overall, compared to most clarinets. I noted one thing that fits the craftsman designation: The pad cups were well designed and fit precisely over the holes, so that the pads fit in evenly with the same amount of pad exposed all the way around the pad cup. Many other clarinets are not so well designed.

This clarinet is most appropriate for: Beginner to fairly advanced or intermediate.

Condition issues noted: Only the soft keys. The wood is in great shape.