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Maintenance & Care

Overhauls

While flutes require annual routine professional service to maintain top playing condition, a complete overhaul is necessary typically every five to ten years. Pads gradually become dry and lose their flexibility over time. Older pads can be leveled or adjusted by a technician, but they may shift back to their original position, quickly bringing the flute out of proper adjustment. Felts, corks and bumpers also wear over time, bringing about mal-adjustment and overall key noise. Key fit is extremely important to the stability of adjustments and to minimize key noise. With normal use, keys wear over time and must be carefully refit to maintain a reliable mechanism. The overhaul process is extensive and concentrates on all aspects of the flute to return it to proper playing condition. The following are the steps involved in a full overhaul:

Mechanical Aspects

  • All accessible dents are removed.
  • Tenon fit is checked and adjusted if needed or requested.
  • Soldered toneholes are checked for leaks.
  • Toneholes are leveled by hand to provide an optimal surface for the installation of felt or Straubinger pads.
  • Any mechanical problems are addressed and repaired.
  • The entire mechanism is refit (swedged) by hand to tolerances of less than .001 inch.
  • Any swedging marks are removed by hand with polish paste.
  • Springs (stainless steel, gold or platinum) are replaced and balanced as necessary.

Cosmetic Aspects

  • Headjoint, body and footjoint tubing is washed and treated with a mild Tarnex solution.
  • Tubing is polished to a high finish by hand using polish paste.
  • If the tubing is solid silver, minor accessible scratches may be removed by hand polishing. (Machine polishing, or buffing, is not recommended.)
  • The mechanism is depinned, washed and treated with a mild Tarnex solution.
  • The mechanism is carefully hand polished with a polish paste.
  • Mechanism hinge rods and inner hinge tubings are polished and cleaned.
  • Pad retaining rings are cleaned, polished and refit if necessary.
  • Pad washers are cleaned and polished.

Padding and Final Assembly

  • All bumpers and regulation shims are replaced with felt bumpers, leather and cork as dictated by the individual keys.
  • The mechanism is realigned to the toneholes as necessary.
  • New pads are installed using the highest quality premium felt pads or Straubinger pads.
  • Pads are meticulously leveled by shimming to tolerances of less than .0005 inch. (Keys are not bent to level pads unless a repair is being executed.) No seat is inserted into the pads.
  • The mechanism is precisely adjusted for a quick, accurate response with the lightest touch.
  • A new headjoint cork is installed.
  • The flute is play tested to check for proper response, tone, resonance, pitch and consistency throughout the registers.

A professional overhaul is an important investment in maintaining the value and reliability of your flute for years to come. Miyazawa Flutes, Ltd. is proud to offer the finest in professional service. Our experienced staff of technicians perform overhauls of the utmost quality with outstanding customer service. Please see our article Is Your Flute Playing up to Its Potential? for more information, or contact us to schedule an overhaul with our skilled technicians.

Have more questions? Email us at:
info@miyazawa.com