Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Taking care of your instrument

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flutego12
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Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by flutego12 »

For an absolute starter, what are the essential starter tools for the following work?

1) COA which requires a complete dismantling and reassembly of the flute, key adjustments - hence which tools

2) Dent repair - which mandre;l which dent hammer? Sizes?

3) Repadding

Thanks
flutist with a screwdriver

mirwa
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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by mirwa »

I dont wish to dis-courage

I have spent approx 16,000 plus dollars just in specialist tools for flutes to be able to do repads and general COA's.

I carry approx 30,000 dollars in pads, that being said they are flute / clarinet / sax / cork / basson etc

It will not be a cheap undertaking, you really need to decide whether you are doing this for education purposes or for saving yourself money on a repad. (you will not save money).

Once you have made that decision I can start a list if you wish.

jim22
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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by jim22 »

You can start way smaller than that. For the clean and oil, you need a few screw drivers, and a spring hook tool will be helpful. Of course you need polish, oil, solvent, an artist brush for polishing and cleaning, pipe cleaners for cleaning tubes.

The adjust part starts to pull in more stuff, feeler sticks, tools to level keys (I use a light hammer but some use various specialized pliars), flute body mandrel.

Changing pads requires an assortment of pads, pad adhesive, shims, torch or lamp or lighter.

It will be a slow startup, and you will not save money. Get a good book or two first. You can expand your capabilities over time by buying more tools. I probably have invested several hundred dollars so far, but my capabilities are very limited still.

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pied_piper
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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by pied_piper »

flutego12 wrote:For an absolute starter, what are the essential starter tools for the following work?

1) COA which requires a complete dismantling and reassembly of the flute, key adjustments - hence which tools

2) Dent repair - which mandre;l which dent hammer? Sizes?

3) Repadding

Thanks
My tools and supplies fall about halfway between what jim22 and mirwa described and I acquired them gradually as I did more extensive work. The Smith book will show you the absolute bare minimum for changing pads and performing simple adjustments.

Ferrees provides a suggested list of tools for general woodwind repairs:
http://www.ferreestools.com/index_files ... d_Shop.htm

That covers the basic tools needed to do a COA, general repadding, and misc. repairs. If you only want to do flute work, items specific to other WW instruments could be eliminated. Minimal flute padding supplies for student flutes are included in the list but I feel the list is very insufficient - not enough different types of pads are included for step-up or pro flutes. Conspicuously missing from the list is a flute pad shim assortment, a variety of sheet felt, and there is no torch or solder supplies listed for soldering work. Other nice tools to add for verifying that pads are sealing: a Magnehelic leak tester (from JLS or MusicMedic) and a JLS flute leak isolator.

For very simple dent work (no crushed or banana shaped flutes), the absolute bare minimum would be a headjoint mandrel, body mandrel, flat-face metal dent hammer, and plastic face dent hammer. For more extensive dent and repair work, additional mandrels, dent balls, and ideally a lathe for making custom sized tools or parts.

I have a fairly small shop - not nearly as large as what mirwa descibed. I now only repair part-time but I have pretty much everything (or an equivalent) that is in the Ferrees list plus the additional tools that I mentioned above.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

mirwa
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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by mirwa »

Its so easy to not realise the value of the tooling you have, I think I way under-estimated my tooling costs just for flute.

I see flute players here in perth go down the same path, they think becuase they can play they can repair. They think there going to make a few bucks on the side, it just does not work that way.

Im different, Im a mechanic first player second, I have an extensive mechanical background.

Remember even quite a few repairers "people that do it for a living", dont get flutes right.

With that being said.

Lets start.

The first thing I do when a flute comes in for Service / Repad / COA is I check and fix the tenons

You have two tenons and two recievers, the headjoint tenon and reciever and the footjoint tenon and reciever.

Clean the tenons of the grease that these kids use, its not meant to have any lubrication, then you will want to size these tenons and recievers up

I use a Boehm Flute tenon shrinker Item No 685. $225 Euro

I use boehm draw plate 585/5. Cost $465 Euro

I use a flute tenon expander Boehm Item No 554. Cost $232 Euro

Then you have plug mandrels for the tenons. I use JL Smith Items 245015-245031. Cost $210USD

In Australian Dollars the above = about $2000 aud plus you will need to pay shipping from these countries, add in another $400 aud

So long story short, we now have the tooling so you can size the flute tenons to fit correctly and its only cost us $2400.

You have to shrink and expand a lot to get this process right. If your just doing your own flute you can get away with a lot, but if your goal is to be able to do others and or go onto a commercial scale, then you need the correct tooling and skills.

Thats the first step I do on any flute

If your interested I can then do the next step with tooling on a service,

2 which is strip down,
3 followed by keywork,
4 followed by pad work
5 followed by re-assembly,
6 followed by adjustment and testing,
7 followed by test playing and intonation checks

Regards

Steve

PS the whole process takes me about an hr on a flute for a strip clean and service, but this can easily blow out on a neglected flute

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flutego12
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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by flutego12 »

mirwa wrote:I dont wish to dis-courage

I have spent approx 16,000 plus dollars just in specialist tools for flutes to be able to do repads and general COA's.

I carry approx 30,000 dollars in pads, that being said they are flute / clarinet / sax / cork / basson etc

It will not be a cheap undertaking, you really need to decide whether you are doing this for education purposes or for saving yourself money on a repad. (you will not save money).

Once you have made that decision I can start a list if you wish.
My focus will remain the flute alone which culls other WW instruments. It is for hobby and educational purposes to awaken latent mechanical genes that has been dormant. My dad was an RC flyer. Between him and his friend, he was the repairer maestro who could repair anything but whilst he loved flying he admitted he was a little too cautious in his flying, his friend on the other hand is a daredevil flyer but who crashes his helicopters/ planes a little too OFTEN but sucked at repairs, it was a good partnership. Unfortunately we didn't spend a lot of time together in his workshop.

Totally a believer of the right tools but do not want to go overboard before the mould is set. But definitely want to pick up the skill
flutist with a screwdriver

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flutego12
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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by flutego12 »

jim22 wrote:You can start way smaller than that. For the clean and oil, you need a few screw drivers, and a spring hook tool will be helpful. Of course you need polish, oil, solvent, an artist brush for polishing and cleaning, pipe cleaners for cleaning tubes.

The adjust part starts to pull in more stuff, feeler sticks, tools to level keys (I use a light hammer but some use various specialized pliars), flute body mandrel.

Changing pads requires an assortment of pads, pad adhesive, shims, torch or lamp or lighter.

It will be a slow startup, and you will not save money. Get a good book or two first. You can expand your capabilities over time by buying more tools. I probably have invested several hundred dollars so far, but my capabilities are very limited still.

TQ, Jim22. I like your drift! But aiyaiyaiyaiyai... talk about collecting tools, we live amongst decades of amassed legacy tools - just maybe not quite for flutes.
I already bought the Phelan/Burkhardt Flute & Pic Repair book last year fr musicmedic - just hard to get through then - I have more time now - will dust it off the shelf. I will get a hold of Jeff Smith's Flute Repair book as well as it is better llustrated. Was hard to source the Phelan book then - is a lot more readily available now. My metal works handbook arrived today - its more for craft and jewellery making - but gives a broad but simplified thought framework for understanding the most basic metal works.
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flutego12
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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by flutego12 »

pied_piper wrote:
flutego12 wrote:For an absolute starter, what are the essential starter tools for the following work?

1) COA which requires a complete dismantling and reassembly of the flute, key adjustments - hence which tools

2) Dent repair - which mandre;l which dent hammer? Sizes?

3) Repadding

Thanks
My tools and supplies fall about halfway between what jim22 and mirwa described and I acquired them gradually as I did more extensive work. The Smith book will show you the absolute bare minimum for changing pads and performing simple adjustments.

Ferrees provides a suggested list of tools for general woodwind repairs:
http://www.ferreestools.com/index_files ... d_Shop.htm

That covers the basic tools needed to do a COA, general repadding, and misc. repairs. If you only want to do flute work, items specific to other WW instruments could be eliminated. Minimal flute padding supplies for student flutes are included in the list but I feel the list is very insufficient - not enough different types of pads are included for step-up or pro flutes. Conspicuously missing from the list is a flute pad shim assortment, a variety of sheet felt, and there is no torch or solder supplies listed for soldering work. Other nice tools to add for verifying that pads are sealing: a Magnehelic leak tester (from JLS or MusicMedic) and a JLS flute leak isolator.

For very simple dent work (no crushed or banana shaped flutes), the absolute bare minimum would be a headjoint mandrel, body mandrel, flat-face metal dent hammer, and plastic face dent hammer. For more extensive dent and repair work, additional mandrels, dent balls, and ideally a lathe for making custom sized tools or parts.

I have a fairly small shop - not nearly as large as what mirwa descibed. I now only repair part-time but I have pretty much everything (or an equivalent) that is in the Ferrees list plus the additional tools that I mentioned above.
Gee thanks heaps Pied Piper for exactly answering my Q, I wanted to tie a basic tool list to the repair work category and you've done just that for me, plus to streamline the purchase process for me by naming tools I can beeline to specific suppliers :P Thank you. :D Sinseh! :wink: These actually work right? Sans gimmicks that are quickly shoved aside ... I was so glad at first when I heard your reply about the FS but it's such a shame ppl revert to trad. methods after a while. Would be great to have a fix all. If only the world were that simple. If one does not have trad. skills then I suppose the flute Station would be somewhat/no help/ extremely helpful in fasttracking the learning curve? or not?
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mirwa
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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by mirwa »

flutego12 wrote:Totally a believer of the right tools but do not want to go overboard before the mould is set. But definitely want to pick up the skill[/color]
Easy then,

I just dont want to give you false hopes, I hear people who spend a few bucks and reckon they can repair an instrument better than there local repairer who has been doing it for years with the right tools (sometimes). Now there will be a difference of your interpretation of whats acceptable and mine.

You need to understand that you can do repairs / adjustments or something on your flute / s, but dont expect perfection without the right equipment, sometimes you wont even be able to make it play without the right equipment. Understanding this before you start is a good eye opener.

All I can do is tell you what I use and what I do, if you use different tools and have a different skill set than mine, then you have to expect a different outcome, these people that sell books, are ""selling books"".

If you are happy with this, then dont bother wasting money buying books, ask questions. I have all the flute books that pretty much exist and personally I think they are all extremely lacking, I use them to teach my apprentices what not to do. Example they will take a book home and read it and then attempt to put what they read into play the next day, only to realise that its rubbish what they read.

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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by JButky »

mirwa wrote:
Example they will take a book home and read it and then attempt to put what they read into play the next day, only to realise that its rubbish what they read.
I would like to expand a little on what Steve has said. Flute repair is a skill, much like playing the flute. You either have a talent for it and practice, refining that skill or you don't. Seeing a job another repairer has done when a flute arrives can be as exhilarating as hearing Rampal play in his prime, live, or as frustrating as adjudicating a bad middle school band competition.

There is no "secret" to fixing a flute, just understanding of how it works and practiced technique to get the job done.

So, BY ALL MEANS, dive in and start somewhere. Get a beater flute and get a feel for what needs to be done. And most importantly...ASK QUESTIONS and know your limits. If you choose to push your limits then all well and good.

The most difficult task I have always faced with apprentices is teaching them the feel of something. That has to be learned correctly. You can develop that independently, but it is faster with a mentor to help you.

And there is a repair community out there that has many people willing to offer you advice.
Joe B

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flutego12
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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by flutego12 »

JButky wrote:
mirwa wrote:
Example they will take a book home and read it and then attempt to put what they read into play the next day, only to realise that its rubbish what they read.
I would like to expand a little on what Steve has said. Flute repair is a skill, much like playing the flute. You either have a talent for it and practice, refining that skill or you don't. Seeing a job another repairer has done when a flute arrives can be as exhilarating as hearing Rampal play in his prime, live, or as frustrating as adjudicating a bad middle school band competition.

There is no "secret" to fixing a flute, just understanding of how it works and practiced technique to get the job done.

So, BY ALL MEANS, dive in and start somewhere. Get a beater flute and get a feel for what needs to be done. And most importantly...ASK QUESTIONS and know your limits. If you choose to push your limits then all well and good.

And there is a repair community out there that has many people willing to offer you advice.
The most difficult task I have always faced with apprentices is teaching them the feel of something. That has to be learned correctly. You can develop that independently, but it is faster with a mentor to help you.

Thanks Joe. You sound like a really good teacher. Really keen to know - How does one go about doing that finding a mentor - locally would be nice - to sort out any challenges.
Our market here is so small it's virtually a duopoly where I am; and apprenticeships are perhaps far and few in between us. There are however BITs who do school runs to service band instruments. Implies and almost guarantees lots of practice opportunities. Who are the revered mentors out in your neck of the woods - do you know any in nsw. Steve is at the other end of the s spectrum,? I hear of peeps attending at JLSmith's and Landell's courses. I'm also seeing flute dissertations fr yr unis(!) Think though for me to flyover to attend JLS and L's now may be a tad premature.
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mirwa
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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by mirwa »

Joe has not replied, so Ill pop a reply.

In america its easy, you go and study musical instrument repair at colleges. It costs money but you learn from a structured thesis which is designed to give you an understanding to build from

A good friend who has a repair business in South Australia did exactly that, he invested money into an education flew to america and studied and did a course from one of the colleges for 2 years.

If your not willing to do that, then you need to take small steps, example as I have said previously, buy a working flute, use it to learn from.

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flutego12
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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by flutego12 »

JButky wrote:
mirwa wrote:
Example they will take a book home and read it and then attempt to put what they read into play the next day, only to realise that its rubbish what they read.
I would like to expand a little on what Steve has said. Flute repair is a skill, much like playing the flute. You either have a talent for it and practice, refining that skill or you don't. Seeing a job another repairer has done when a flute arrives can be as exhilarating as hearing Rampal play in his prime, live, or as frustrating as adjudicating a bad middle school band competition.

There is no "secret" to fixing a flute, just understanding of how it works and practiced technique to get the job done.

So, BY ALL MEANS, dive in and start somewhere. Get a beater flute and get a feel for what needs to be done. And most importantly...ASK QUESTIONS and know your limits. If you choose to push your limits then all well and good.

The most difficult task I have always faced with apprentices is teaching them the feel of something. That has to be learned correctly. You can develop that independently, but it is faster with a mentor to help you.

Thanks Joe, you're a sage. Incidentally, I've just heard the Pearl Maesta flute and I think I'm in love with it, granted it's the flutist who lends the voice ... love this...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QQGNrEYBuo
And there is a repair community out there that has many people willing to offer you advice.
flutist with a screwdriver

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flutego12
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Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools LE ADVENTURE BEG

Post by flutego12 »

OK, so I got the flute-cadaver. Operation begins.

Cautions rules, so have decided to go for the lowest hanging fruit. It's a walk in the park, for now...

Headjoint cork disassembled and reassembled w/o dramas. Piece o cake. 8)

Next bar ... Footjoint diassembly/ reassembly, just with a slight complexity - the C key does not fully close simultaneously when the Broller is pressed - a gap of about <1mm from seal :?: I am really keen to hear what the diagnosis and prescription is. Lin Horng Jiun's wonderful dissertation has everything on the CO part of COA but not a whiff about the A = Adjustment. :wink: Is the solution as simple as a proper disassembly/ reassembly exercise for the parts to revert to their proper placements? or is it something more sinister like a bent key? :?: The pads all stil look awesome for a 10yo flute.

Hard to get started on above w/o the tools. Will have to put my order through soon. Meanwhile will really appreciate some :idea: enlightenment! :idea: :wink:

I wonder if this is a possibility >>> http://www.thomasjwestmusic.com/apps/blog/show/6560506
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fluteguy18
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Re: Flute Repairs & Maintenance - Starter Tools

Post by fluteguy18 »

Well, I guess I'll own up to it. I'm now starting to amass all of the tools mentioned here. I got my acceptance letter to RedWing's instrument repair program. I'm pretty sure that I'm going.

8)

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