Flutes and piccolos are delicate instruments that require the precise alignment of all parts to play well. We offer several levels of service for your instrument, including everything from playing condition repairs to complete overhauls.
All service levels include a full adjustment of the mechanism – those tiny little adjusting screws are only part of the story. A finely-adjusted flute ensures that key combinations work as they should.
Leaks and regulation
Essential to a lasting adjustment to your flute, pads are adjusted to seal the tone holes and key heights are set to an even, appropriate clearance.
Cleaning the flute is cosmetically attractive but is also important to prevent the buildup of dirt, tarnish, and gunk. We use an environmentally safe but effective solution to clean your flute. During this procedure, tarnish is removed and all accessible parts are lightly polished by hand.
Extra polishing is available when the pads are being replaced. We like to polish by hand as it removes less material from the finish. Small surface imperfections such as scratches may remain but your flute will be bright and shiny. We do have proper buffing equipment if you prefer to have your flute machine-polished.
When we replace pads, we use pads of the correct size and thickness to ensure proper function. On PC and COA jobs, new pads (if needed) are selected to match the existing setup. Flutes that are repadded (not overhauled) generally get softer pads that are seated by shimming and clamping. This is appropriate for most student flutes.
Professional flutes that are being fully overhauled get firm, pressed felt pads that are clamped very lightly. This requires precise key fitting, perfectly level tone holes, and a lot of extra effort…but it’s worth it! Pads installed this way seal with the lightest possible touch, resulting in superior action and longevity of adjustments.
On overhauls, we make sure that the tone holes are level for accurate pad seating. We prefer to level each tone hole from the inside out rather than relying on excessive filing – this is especially critical on flutes with rolled tone holes. Then, various tools are used to reface the rim of the tone hole for a perfect surface.
The head cork is important for tuning the flute, but did you know that if the cork is too loose it can leak air, and if it’s too snug it can restrict vibration? Now you do! Head cork replacement is included with every repad and overhaul, but is available on any service for a modest surcharge.
Flute body work
Flutes, being made of thin gauge metal, are prone to dents and other body damage. We have specialized dent equipment to remove dents from any part of your flute. We can fit the head joint, whether original or not, to the body of the flute for an airtight seal.
Piccolo body work
Piccolos, on the other hand, are often made of wood or plastic, and are prone to cracking and breakage. We are experts at repairing damage to wooden and plastic bodies.
We also have a full range of soldering equipment, so we can repair anything from a loose post or rib to a key that needs silver soldering.
As part of an overhaul, all loose play is removed. Without this, adjustments are not as accurate, and common symptoms of poor key fitting include sluggish action, noisy (metallic) action, and buzzing or other vibration during playing.
Swedging, post fitting
Each key is swedged tightly around its rod. Adjacent keys are lengthened and squared off to remove side-to-side play. Posts are aligned and worn post holes are shrunk as needed. Key barrels and rods are straightened and polished to ensure smooth, free action.
With our attention to detail and precise workmanship, your flute or piccolo will play effortlessly throughout the full range and have lightest, quietest, most responsive action possible. Contact us today to get started!