Unlike copper, oxidation on silver wire does not effect conductivity.
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Cotton with a teflon wrap? If the guy did it by hand and used gloves it helps A LOT. Still the ends will tarnish and that is actually a good thing..
That fuzzy/tarnish is very conductive. Its a good sign the cable is settled to. You can treat it with a little wd40 and wipe pre install. Disconnect spray and wipe once a year..
They are a pain to make by hand, and get the batting right.. Worth it though.. I've done cotton/teflon (silver and copper) in silk tubes. But they have a shelf life. 15 years but 25 years with 3m scotch guard.. no kidding..
I heard you could dry clean them with a Dry cleaning fluid.. and scotch guard, them again, they last forever.. Just a maintenance deal..
The whole point of using cotton as dielectric is to loosely cover the wire, so the main dielectric involved with the signal is air. Tight coverings exhibit dielectric absorption (DA), and teflon is the best solid, but not as good as air.
If you treat your cables with something, then that's the dielectric which a signal sees. If the dielectric is not air, you're defeating the purpose of a cloth dielectric.
First the disclaimer, I am an engineer, I design cables for AV and stereo audio systems. I have worked exotic and precious materials since the 1970's. I have the materials and the resources to make just about any cable design I care to evaluate for performance. I say this so you will understand my point of view. My personal speaker cables and interconnects are silver, most of what I manufacture is copper. Purity, crystal orientation, hardness, and surface finish effect the performance of conductors. These are just a few of the properties of conductive material considered in the design of a conductor used in a cable system designed to operate with the same performance level for an extended period of time.
I like the performance of gas/vacuum conductor suspension designs in general. That means a conductor suspended in a tube. If the tube is sealed then surface changes on the conductors can be controlled. I prefer cable designs with sealed designs over the same design which is not sealed.
In general oxidation and corrosion of conductors and terminals is not a good thing given sufficient time. In our atmosphere most conductor materials will experience changes in electrical properties related directly to the changes in surface chemistry which will occur naturally.