Protecting old flutes

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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Hatethis
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Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:33 pm

Protecting old flutes

Post by Hatethis »

Hello everyone, I am new to this site.

I am curious about the effects of plating on a flute. I have an almost 100 year old flute that plays well and is solid silver. Right now it has no tarnish and would like ot keep it that way. Does anyone know or have experiance with plating to prevent further tarnish/oxidation? My choice would be platinum. If so anyone know someone that would do it and how much? The entire flute in and out. Any information would be appreciated.

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JButky
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Location: Mt. Juliet

Re: Protecting old flutes

Post by JButky »

Hatethis wrote:Hello everyone, I am new to this site.

I am curious about the effects of plating on a flute. I have an almost 100 year old flute that plays well and is solid silver. Right now it has no tarnish and would like ot keep it that way. Does anyone know or have experiance with plating to prevent further tarnish/oxidation? My choice would be platinum. If so anyone know someone that would do it and how much? The entire flute in and out. Any information would be appreciated.
After a 100 years without any tarnish, why are you worried about it now?

Plating is not going to prevent anything. Gold is most resistant and you can get tarnish underneath gold plate over time.

Just leave it alone of it's not tarnished.
Joe B

Hatethis
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Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:33 pm

Post by Hatethis »

I should have been more clear. There is no tarnish anymore, part of the complete overhaul.

You answer my question though as to whether or not it would tarnish underneath the plating.

The upkeep on silver that old is indeed a pain and was hoping for a solution to make it more resistant like newer flutes.

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JButky
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Post by JButky »

Hatethis wrote:I should have been more clear. There is no tarnish anymore, part of the complete overhaul.

You answer my question though as to whether or not it would tarnish underneath the plating.

The upkeep on silver that old is indeed a pain and was hoping for a solution to make it more resistant like newer flutes.
Newer silver flutes are no more resistant to tarnish than older flutes. Silver tarnishes with the proper conditions. Just wipe the flute down carefully after use to help prevent it from forming.

It's the nature of the beast.
Joe B

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MissyHPhoenix
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Location: Hammond, LA, USA

Post by MissyHPhoenix »

I keep a tarnish-prevention sheet in my case with my flutes. I've heard different opinions on whether they work or not, but figured why not try it. Don't think it can hurt, anyway! If it helps a little bit, then great.
Missy

Why Be Normal????

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

I wouldn't get it plated. First of all, I think it would detract from it's value as a historical piece (even if the only thing special about it is that it is old). Secondly, plating is expensive! And in terms of material vs. cost, you aren't going to be getting very much platinum on your flute for the amount that it will cost. (plating is only 5-6 molecules thick sometimes). And after you have paid the likely $2000 USD + to get it plated you then have to pay up to $1000 (on average) to get it overhauled because all of the soft parts have to be removed for the plating. Springs, pads, corks, felts ALL have to be replaced. And once you get it back and overhauled, it probably won't sound any different. It might sound better and play better because it was overhauled, but the basic sound of the instrument probably won't change.

Now, if you don't mind wasting the money, and just want it for cosmetic purposes, then have at it.

Tarandros
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Post by Tarandros »

fluteguy18 wrote: And in terms of material vs. cost, you aren't going to be getting very much platinum on your flute for the amount that it will cost. (plating is only 5-6 molecules thick sometimes). And after you have paid the likely $2000 USD + to get it plated you then have to pay up to $1000 (on average) to get it overhauled because all of the soft parts have to be removed for the plating. Springs, pads, corks, felts ALL have to be replaced. And once you get it back and overhauled, it probably won't sound any different. It might sound better and play better because it was overhauled, but the basic sound of the instrument probably won't change.

Now, if you don't mind wasting the money, and just want it for cosmetic purposes, then have at it.
Can't quite square this with what you said here:
The thing is, is that when we were trying to figure out what it was made of (her English isn't too good and she wasn't even sure herself), we didn't have access to any model information. Playing it, I was sure it wasn't a silver flute. The response was all wrong for a silver flute. But now that I know it WAS a silver flute with platinum plating, I am revisiting my experiences with similar instruments. And to be honest, I've had quite a few.
http://www.fluteland.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=3251

Call me pedantic if you like (I don't mind - it often happens), but ..... Kind regards, T.

fluteguy18
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Post by fluteguy18 »

I've been very bipolar on the subject lately. On the subject of the platinum plated flute that I was convinced wasn't a silver flute, I later found out it was a heavy wall Brittiania silver flute.

The similar instruments I had tried to the Altus were platinum clad muramatsu flutes. Being clad as you pointed out is completely different than plating. After that I recalled an interview I found of James Galway with Mr. Yamamoto of the Miyazawa flute company. They discussed flute making in depth and also addressed the issue of plating. Their conclusion was that plating made no impact on the sound.

So at the present moment, on the subject of platinum plating, I am somewhat inconclusive. I am leaning towards no (because I hadn't ever played a heavy wall Brittiania silver flute before), but am going to wait until I can compare several instruments that are genuinely similar. That's why in my most recent post (above) I said "probably" wouldn't change the sound.

I do not think that gold plating changes the sound. And after study the past 2 days on the process of electric plating, I am almost positive that platinum plating won't either. But, my only reservation is that platinum's density is a lot higher than gold's. So even though it is just as thin (gold and platinum plating), respectively, their weights would be different. The weight of gold plating I do not think is significant enough to impact sound. But, platinum is heavier than gold, so it MIGHT have enough of a weight to change it a little. But right now I doubt it.

So yes. I have been inconsistent the past few days. But in my defense there were things about that flute that I wasn't aware of at the time.

Tarandros
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Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:32 pm
Location: Brighton, England.

Post by Tarandros »

fluteguy18 wrote:I've been very bipolar on the subject lately. On the subject of the platinum plated flute that I was convinced wasn't a silver flute, I later found out it was a heavy wall Brittiania silver flute.

The similar instruments I had tried to the Altus were platinum clad muramatsu flutes. Being clad as you pointed out is completely different than plating.
Thanks for the explanation. I hadn't actually appreciated there was a difference between cladding and plating! Also, I'm interested in the heavy wall flute - I've seen references to them. Are the Armstrong 90 series heavy wall? Mine seems heavier than more recent flutes, or am I just imagining it? I suppose the walls can come in various thicknesses. I've even seen references to thin walled flutes. I suppose the thin walled ones project more, and the thick walled ones have a mellower tone? Would be very interested if you have any more information on this. Kind regards, T.

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