Special caution when cleaning tuning machines with ivory knobs?


I recently bought a ca. 100-year old instrument (in very bad shape) with ivory knobs on it's tuners.

I would be glad if somebody here could give me some advice what I can use to clean the tuning machines without damaging the ivory. The ivory itself seems to have survived pretty well (just turned yellow which I think is normal and not revertible - doesn't matter). I am just concerned about what to use or not to use for getting the machines clean from hardened grease, dust and rust in order to not put in danger the non removable ivory knobs.

Thanks in advance,

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yes you should be careful with ivory on your tuners. Researching about ivory tells me that nothing will heart ivory but the pins that are inside of the ivory can come loose and come out. Hot water is one thing that will remove them I hear. If that would work then it would be easy to clean the metal the normal way.
I think I would soak in a soapy water and touth brush ihe oil off. Maybe paint thinner. In the end you might use a drop of supper glue on each knob to make sure it isn't loose.

I have not tryed this but I soaked deer antlers in a sulaction of purex and it was eating the miteral away . It might work on ivory but I would not try it.

I would like a sonick viborator for cleaning teath. Horber freight sells a cheep one.

Thanks a lot for your hints, Ron.

Fortunately, the knobs stick firmly on the pins. The knob-ends of the tuner posts are riveted so that knob removal would be a bit of a challenge.

I'll try some thin oil on the metal parts (I can't find the technical name for that kind of oil, smells like solvent) and then soap water.

The ivory itself looks quite OK
Probably I'll use some elephant's tooth paste to clean the knobs


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