Baffled by keys "bindings"

Taking care of your instrument

Moderators: Classitar, pied_piper, Phineas

User avatar
flutego12
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:51 am
Location: Southern Hemisphere, Earth

Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by flutego12 »

Greetings fluteland sages, compatriots and fellow plebs
So glad to see this thread thriving with a life of its own and trust all is well. And hello Red Wing!

(Have been in) Just barely out of hibernation, I have already encountered a possibly common problem which I have hypotheses about but do not know how to go about rectifying.

The right hand mechanism keys all depress simultaneously along with the F# and Bb keys whenever I press D, E, F keys in turn individually (as though there is no difference). Obviously a spring or other must have caught on to interrelated key mechs - I"ve checked this over and over and to my eyes, the springs all "appear" to be in the right positions. Truly baffled and hopeful for some insights.

:mrgreen:
flutist with a screwdriver

fluteguy18
Posts: 2311
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:11 pm

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by fluteguy18 »

Could you describe more fully what you are doing when you notice the problem? Photos and video would be extremely helpful so we can give you some ideas on what is happening. At first blush I'm thinking either a problem with a spring or a pivot screw but it could be a wide variety of things.

User avatar
flutego12
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:51 am
Location: Southern Hemisphere, Earth

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by flutego12 »

Hi fluteguy18

I shall describe it best I can

When playing I play
- F note by depressing the Fkey, all RH mechanism keys depress simultaneously namely, F#, E, D and Bb up top (the only key that should be interrelated is F# and Bb)
- E note by depressing the Ekey along with Fkey, again the exact same keys come down together.
- ditto when playing D, instead of F# and Bb depressing on its own, E and D follows simultaneously.

Hence whether I play F, E or D notes, they sound the same because the same keys are depressed (all RH mech keys)

:o
flutist with a screwdriver

User avatar
pied_piper
Posts: 1898
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by pied_piper »

@ FG12: I agree with most of what FG18 mentioned. The most likely causes of the problem you are seeing are a spring problem or the steel on which the keys are mounted. You indicated that you have checked the springs and they all appear to hooked in their respective cradles. If so, that really points to a possible problem with the steel or key hinges. The RH key stack all share a common steel. If they are all moving together, it is very likely that the steel itself is either rusty, gummed-up with old oil, or bent. Any of those conditions would cause all the RH keys to move in unison rather than independently. If you remove the RH stack from the body, each of the keys should move smoothly and independently until the adjusting screw (or tab) contacts its companion lug on the F# key. Hold the RH stack horizontally by holding the F# key with all keys hanging down from the hinge. One at a time, lightly tap the E, F, and D keys with a finger of the other hand. The E, F, and D keys should each freely swing back and forth for a short distance like a pendulum. If not, then you'll need to unpin the RH stack keys to inspect the steel. If you find rust/corrosion or gummy oil, the solution should be fairly straightforward. Remove the rust or old oil, apply fresh oil and reassemble. Repeat the pendulum test. If each key swings freely, you are ready to reassemble the flute. If not, the steel or key hinges are probably bent and that will be a more advanced repair...
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

fluteguy18
Posts: 2311
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:11 pm

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by fluteguy18 »

I would first check to make sure that your springs are actually IN the spring catches. They should be behind the little nubs, not in front of them. The springs are effectively pushing the keys up into place. Next I would try to make sure you don't have the pivot screw in too tight. If it's a headless point screw (the tip has a sharp point and the threads go all the way to the other end of the screw with just a slot for the screw driver blade to go in the end) you might have it too tight. I would take a look at the screw, tighten it in the post until it makes contact with the steel inside the hinge mechanism and then back it out a quarter/half turn. See if that helps. If it's too tight it causes the keys to bind occasionally. Otherwise you're probably looking at rust or a bent mechanism and that's considerably more difficult to fix if you don't have someone showing you how and if you lack the proper equipment.

User avatar
flutego12
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:51 am
Location: Southern Hemisphere, Earth

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by flutego12 »

Greetings old friends & esteemed mentor
FG18, yes the springs are in place :x :o :wink:
PP, you've hit it on the nail again. Pendulum test failed. The rod has siezed, the only movement is the D key on the protruded rod, the rest are firmly locked together as though glue has been applied, immovable.
flutist with a screwdriver

User avatar
flutego12
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:51 am
Location: Southern Hemisphere, Earth

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by flutego12 »

Further to earlier, have unfrozen the siezure for D & E notes - remaining F key now has the reverse problem. Fkey now fails to properly close F#. Checking the springs and nothing amiss.
flutist with a screwdriver

User avatar
pied_piper
Posts: 1898
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by pied_piper »

flutego12 wrote:Further to earlier, have unfrozen the siezure for D & E notes - remaining F key now has the reverse problem. Fkey now fails to properly close F#. Checking the springs and nothing amiss.
If this is a typical student level flute, there should be an adjustment screw on the F key or underneath it. Turn it clockwise until the F# closes properly. If you turn it too far, the F key will no longer fully close. :cry:

What did you do to get the other keys moving again? If you applied some oil and worked them to free them up, that would mean that there was old dried oil in there. A proper fix is to unpin the stack, clean the steel and hinges thoroughly, then apply fresh oil.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

User avatar
flutego12
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:51 am
Location: Southern Hemisphere, Earth

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by flutego12 »

PiedPiper, that is a very good question, what I did was experimental (isoprophyl scringed onto hinges) and temporary only, I will need to do what you said. Is there a procedural paper on this. I will need equipment too. I have hereto not had to unpin any hinges. This is my first (non crooked) seized rod so far due to dried oil.

Further to above, I'm not sure I've freed the D key either, E is coming down together with it.
flutist with a screwdriver

User avatar
pied_piper
Posts: 1898
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by pied_piper »

Well, without unpinning the stack, you could try soaking the hinge portion in penetrating oil for a day or so and then try moving the keys again. Might help, might not. If not apply some heat with an alcohol lamp or a small torch set to a low flame. Wear leather gloves so you don't burn your fingers and try moving the keys again. Let me know if that helps...
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

fluteguy18
Posts: 2311
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 3:11 pm

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by fluteguy18 »

Well, it could still be a bent rod, but ultimately alcohol (of any variety) acts as a solvent. So it seems to me it's probably a combination of dried oil and likely some corrosion built up in there. For future reference I don't recommend isopropyl alcohol simply because it contains water and it will encourage the formation of rust. I would use either denatured alcohol or if it is particularly gummy, valve oil often loosens and removes substances. You would then of course have to degrease with the denatured alcohol.

User avatar
flutego12
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:51 am
Location: Southern Hemisphere, Earth

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by flutego12 »

Thanks. Will try those. Perhaps the time is right for unpinning the stack.
flutist with a screwdriver

mirwa
Posts: 271
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:36 pm
Location: Australia - Perth
Contact:

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by mirwa »

It is not uncommon for this to happen.

Reasons why it might happen,

- Someone has bent a key to achieve better pad projection and in doing so has bent the steel.
- Split E lever has been bent and is binding against F#
- The instrument has been exposed to a cleaning agent like tarn off etc and this has wicked into the mechanism and created corrosion
- The mechanism is simply gummed up
- The keys are simply bent
- The rod is simply bent

The remedy is simply to unpin the mech and pull it apart, fix or straighten the rod (steel) and or the bent keys, ream the keys if required and square the tube ends and re-assemble, swedge if required to extend the lengths to minimise side play.

If you cannot do this then a"""" sometimes works option""", is to apply heat, to the hinge tube with a butane torch. if the key falls free under its own weight, then its is simply gummed up, apply some alcohol to the heated key (with the butane torch now gone) at the joints, try and work the key to make the alcohol wash away the crud internally, allow to evaporate and repeat, remember at the end to do the same process but with oil to get it into the mechanism.

Again, the correct repair is to dis-assemble the key and deal with the exact cause.

Regards

Steve

User avatar
flutego12
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:51 am
Location: Southern Hemisphere, Earth

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings"

Post by flutego12 »

Hi Steve
Thanks for the heads up. Looks like that's the way to go. I think it's a case of gumming.
This flute is 9 years old entry level Yamaha 221. Pads are in great condition so's the flute but the RH mechanism is a little stuffed atm.
I managed to loosen it earlier and moments late it's tightened a little again. I'm guessing it needs a good unpinning and cleanout. Keys appear in good order - well aligned. Gotta get the pendulum to swing.
flutist with a screwdriver

User avatar
flutego12
Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:51 am
Location: Southern Hemisphere, Earth

Re: Baffled by keys "bindings" - Pin Removal Tools for Right

Post by flutego12 »

Update: Problem solved! (Without boring you with the details)

Finally managed to focus today.

Thanks PiedPiper. It was a rusty/gummed/corroded hinge (in fact hinges) after all. D/E and E/F.
After manually unfreezing the hinges, I repeatedly "oil washed the affected hinges" multiple times simultaneously working the hinges until the "oil seeped in, rust melted and leaked out". Blotted the oil washes till all traces of rust cleared.
Repeated this a few more times. And will continue to do so for the next few days.

Was initially stumped why F/F# did not fully correspond. Turned out to the most basic of solutions - the adjustment screw!
The flute is playing beautifully again. Thanks to you.

Case closed. :mrgreen:
Last edited by flutego12 on Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
flutist with a screwdriver

Post Reply