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flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of stains

Taking care of your instrument

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flutego12
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flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of stains

Postby flutego12 » Mon May 27, 2013 9:23 am

Being a compulsive flute cleaner, polisher et cetera et cetera, I have of late come across several challenges which I am hoping, the forum can provide some insight into -
~ STAIN REMOVAL FROM A SILVER-PLATED FLUTE ~ (Yamaha 221)

:idea: One thing I've tried (experimenting with) w.r.t. general patina removal which works wonders for general flute cleaning is using gentle generic toothpaste (non-gel type) & water - on a fully disassembled flute. Sounds ridiculous but it works and one would like to think it's "organic" way sans chemicals. :idea: Are there any violent objections to this practice? :?: Open to alternative suggestions. Would love to try the ultra sonic cleaning device one day.

Problem 1: I've recently encountered several droplets of translucent floating stains which has a wet-look (like oil on blotting paper, or like a beige layer of floating scotch tape) which I'm guessing perhaps is an old oil spillage on the flute, I don't know. I'm baffled. Gentle polishing with silver cloth hasn't helped, a flute bath (above) have not helped. See Photo 3 - oil stain ?

Problem 2: Dark grey marks or welts - broader than usual surface scratches that look and feel like zinc - I looks and feels like the silver layer has been taken off exposing the metal beneath but isn't the YFL221 nickel silver and is that not shiny as well - beneath the plating? Photo 2 - How does one remove this? :|

Problem 3: Normal scratches - how can one polish these off? OR should one even try to polish these off? Photo 1.
Last edited by flutego12 on Wed May 29, 2013 1:16 am, edited 4 times in total.
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fluteguy18
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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby fluteguy18 » Mon May 27, 2013 3:45 pm

I'm not sure about the bottom two photos but the top one looks almost like the copper flashing is starting to show through.

If a flute is plated it isn't recommended that you try to polish/buff out scratch marks because the plating is thin. Even though nickel silver is relatively close in color it oxidizes to a much darker color than silver and has a matte finish at that point. Usually however a plated flute is covered in a layer of copper before the silver because it covers all of the blemish marks from machining and provides a uniform and even surface for the silver to adhere. A lot of lower end solid silver flutes (non-pro/non-handmade) have copper flashing and then a silver plate finish as well even though the base material and the exterior material are the same.

But.... I may be wrong on this one.

mirwa
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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby mirwa » Mon May 27, 2013 5:40 pm

:idea: One thing I've tried (experimenting with) w.r.t. general patina removal which works wonders for general flute cleaning is using gentle generic toothpaste (non-gel type) or baking soda & water - on a fully disassembled flute. Sounds ridiculous but it works and one would like to think it's "organic" way sans chemicals. :idea: Are there any violent objections to this practice? :?: Open to alternative suggestions. Would love to try the ultra sonic cleaning device one day.

Do not use toothpaste, it is an abrasive, so it removes tarnish via a mechanical scratching action, if you have a close look you will see a multitude now of small scratches

Do not use backing soda its the same situation actually its more abrasive.

Ultra sonic cleaning will nor remove tarnish, you have to understand why the tarnish is forming first to effectively remove it

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manuel23
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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby manuel23 » Tue May 28, 2013 4:11 am

do not clean it.....your flute is ok. it doesn matter if it has some minimal scratches.some people prefer it to have a vintage look.so dont' worry.mine is 24 years and it is full of scratches but "sings like a bird"

fluteguy18
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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby fluteguy18 » Tue May 28, 2013 9:26 am

:idea: One thing I've tried (experimenting with) w.r.t. general patina removal which works wonders for general flute cleaning is using gentle generic toothpaste (non-gel type) or baking soda & water - on a fully disassembled flute. Sounds ridiculous but it works and one would like to think it's "organic" way sans chemicals. :idea: Are there any violent objections to this practice? :?: Open to alternative suggestions. Would love to try the ultra sonic cleaning device one day.

Do not use toothpaste, it is an abrasive, so it removes tarnish via a mechanical scratching action, if you have a close look you will see a multitude now of small scratches

Do not use backing soda its the same situation actually its more abrasive.

Ultra sonic cleaning will nor remove tarnish, you have to understand why the tarnish is forming first to effectively remove it
When used as a paste I understand baking soda being abrasive. I have however seen people clean silver jewelry by way of a chemical reaction between silver and aluminum when put in the same container and then filled with hot water with baking soda dissolved in it. You can see before and after that the silver (tarnished when you begin) is now clean and the aluminum foil is then tarnished instead.

Thoughts?

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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby mirwa » Tue May 28, 2013 5:33 pm

My thoughts are its the worst thing you could possibly do to your flute. Yes Ive seen it done , yes Ive even experimented to confirm my thoughts with junker draw flutes and show others.

A flute is silver plated, usually the plating is approx 0.0005 thou thick, sometimes it's down to 2/10'000 of an inch thick.

The baking soda solution actually pits the surface of the plating, yes it initially removes the tarnish but also makes the flute look frosty, you can wipe the frosty'ness away, but up close you will see fine pitting all over the surface, the pitted holes now equal a greater surface area to tarnish and the resultant situation is the flute surface tarnishes far quicker now than before.

So IMO no its not a good idea to do

fluteguy18
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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby fluteguy18 » Tue May 28, 2013 8:37 pm

Good to know for the future.

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flutego12
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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby flutego12 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:03 pm

Thanks guys. Good to know indeed in the future.
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evrmre
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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby evrmre » Wed May 29, 2013 12:25 am

So just curious... is there a 'right' way to clean a flute? Not so much for home users, but more like when you send a flute for a service. Or is it a case of once tarnished, always tarnished?

Not that I have any plans to try such things, but I've wondered how it is dealt with since I learnt of all the things you shouldn't do to clean them...

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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby mirwa » Wed May 29, 2013 4:04 am

Yes there are various ways to remove tarnish.

If the instrument is in good condition with light tarnish, warm water / detergent / and a soft cloth will remove

The next level again is warm water / detergent and a baby's toothbrush

The next level is a jewellery polishing cloth

From here up to remove tarnish becomes more aggressive to even a dip in a mild sulphuric acid, but I would never go to the stage of brasso / silvo or baking soda

wuffeeflaute
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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby wuffeeflaute » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:34 am

I have some "rust spots" along my flute, some tarnish and a major plating tear on the G# key on mine - what is the best tackle here if the brief is to spruce it up?

mirwa
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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby mirwa » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:05 pm

Replate

wuffeeflaute
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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby wuffeeflaute » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:50 am

Replate
what's the ballpark and is there more than one way to do this?

mirwa
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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby mirwa » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:36 am

To replate is not a small job, you need to remove all pads, remove all springs. strip the old plating off, buff to perfection and then replate / repad / respring.

You can do some small brush plating in small areas with kits from places like caswell but the plating is extremely thin and most times see through

wuffeeflaute
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Re: flute laundry -cleaning tips for the various types of st

Postby wuffeeflaute » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:58 am

To replate is not a small job, you need to remove all pads, remove all springs. strip the old plating off, buff to perfection and then replate / repad / respring.

You can do some small brush plating in small areas with kits from places like caswell but the plating is extremely thin and most times see through
cheers, man.


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