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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:02 pm 
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I have made an identification breakthrough! :D

Thibouville-Buffet A. Paris

I found the same flute in an old for sale listing with 3 photos that show the very flute as mine (the key orientation on the C-foot being the most recognisable and unique feature). The first image is the flute that was sold by Mickie Zekley many years ago now and the second image is my flute's c-foot (prior to oiling and cleaning!):

Image
For sale listing located here: http://www.larkcamp.com/oneofakind.htmlx#French%20Flutes

Image

Of course my flute has a repaired barrel and the crown and stopper appear to be slightly different but otherwise I am certain it is the same maker/model.
As said previously I can find no stamp or markings on my flute whatsoever. I do know that the Buffet clarinets (R13, etc.) are renowned for having stamps on them that practically fall off if you look at them too long). The head-joint and second joint each have only 2-3mm by 0.5mm 'nicks' where the stamps would be, nothing more. Suggestive...

I think there's more going on. Either this is a Thibouville-Buffet stencil (unlikely and rather pointless, why wouldn't you stamp it with another name?) or the finish and stamps on my flute have been over-zealously restored and the stamps sanded off. There is a heavy stain/varnish on my flute that seems after-market and a tad heavy handed in some places. Anyway just a thought, I have no idea how commonplace that would be, or if it is ever done? :-?

I can now play down to D quite well, but all of the keypads on the lower joints are no good except Eb :)

V

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:13 pm 
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Bravo!
Of course it could be the exact flute. . .or not. Mickey has been buying and selling flutes for a long time, as did his father. . .and it could have been 'restored' by one of his minions. And of course the late, celebrated, Paul Davies isn't here to be interrogated!

Bob

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:44 pm 
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an seanduine wrote:
Bravo!

Of course it could be the exact flute. . .


Highly unlikely I'd say. I found it in an auction house in South Australia, in not exactly the kind of condition I'd expect if had been purchased recently from a restorer at top price. Plus mine doesn't have the stamps that are visible on the Zekley flute.

I did query Mickie about said flute, but I only received a prompt but curt 'SOLD' in reply.

an seanduine wrote:
the late, celebrated, Paul Davies isn't here to be interrogated!


I'll have to read up on him, sorry.
The characters past and present in the flute game put the saxophone folk to shame! ;)

V

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:06 pm 
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an seanduine wrote:
....in looking at Rick Wilson's page, I see nothing like dubrosa22's foot joint. When Lot and other makers in France adopted the Boehm foot they used Boehm's mechanism in toto: post and axle pivots. Dubrosa22's foot has distinctive lever actuating touches for the c# and C keys. I've seen something like this before. . . reminiscent of some clarinet mechanisms, but I can't call it to mind. Blast! perhaps one of the makers in what is now Czechoslovakia. . .? Bob

I've been meaning to post this for a while and not getting around to it. You didn't look at the right page on oldflutes.com, Bob! ;-)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:04 pm 
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jemtheflute wrote:
an seanduine wrote:
....in looking at Rick Wilson's page, I see nothing like dubrosa22's foot joint. When Lot and other makers in France adopted the Boehm foot they used Boehm's mechanism in toto: post and axle pivots. Dubrosa22's foot has distinctive lever actuating touches for the c# and C keys. I've seen something like this before. . . reminiscent of some clarinet mechanisms, but I can't call it to mind. Blast! perhaps one of the makers in what is now Czechoslovakia. . .? Bob

I've been meaning to post this for a while and not getting around to it. You didn't look at the right page on oldflutes.com, Bob! ;-)


Indeed, those 1832 Boehm C-foot joints do look remarkably like my C-foot.
Image

Since they are conical I suppose they are essentially (acoustically?) identical.

Last night I manged to blow down to C# and C and then up an octave D, E , F#.
Still needs to be repadded and some corks here and there.

V

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:17 pm 
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The general mechanical idea of that foot-joint arrangement wasn't original to Böhm, mind you. But I reckon that's the inspiration for similar feet on later French flutes of whatever system (with more elegant French metalwork), prior to the adoption of the modern rod-axle design.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:47 pm 
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I once again disassembled and oiled the wood and bore and also polished the keys once more a bit more thoroughly in preparation for re-padding (with silicone until leather pads arrive from the US) and I found a curious hallmark on at least 4 out of 8 keys:
Image
Image

Not sure what this symbol is called, it's familiar but not so that I can name it. After some inconclusive Googling I found something like it: triskelion. Or maybe not.
Image

As I've mentioned earlier there are 'O's stamped on each key, an 'E' on one key and a '7' on another.
Image
Image

And a few have hand scored roman numerals "VI" which Terry McGee has made an attempt at chronicling here:
http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/Keymarks.htm
Image

Also there is a discrete 'E' and '4' stamped between the busy cluster of posts on the foot joint. Too small and dark to photograph well.

After the silicone set and the excess was mostly successfully removed I can now play into the second octave. I bungled the short F and Bb silicone pads though, not closing smoothly. Can't wait to re-pad properly with shellac and leather pads! :)

So far my repertoire has been scales and some transposed Jewish melodies I play on clarinet; I really need to start playing in earnest.
V

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:50 pm 
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Somewhere in one of Anthony Baines' books I ran across a mention of the French woodwindmakers having a network of craftsmen that they farmed out their keywork to, to be made on a piecework basis. This might provide a clue about the stampings on your keys. Not 'Hall Marks' as such, since the metal is base, but as identifiers of various contractors' work.

Bob

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:07 pm 
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Thanks Bob, it makes sense that there were common key forgers for multiple flute makers.
I'm reading lots online and plan on getting a few books. Music and history:

Early Flute by Rachel Brown
The Flute by Ardal Powell
The Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle - Grey Larsen
A Complete Guide to Learning the Irish Flute (aka 'Timber') - Fintan Vallely

As you can tell I get into the history of instruments and want to know all I can about their makers. I find it all quite fascinating!

Today I finally finished oiling, polishing, padding and corking! :D

Image

Getting on with playing. Low D and below is the biggest struggle, I'm assuming that's normal? I know that on tenor saxophone Low D and below can take weeks or months to play with any sort of consistency. Strangely Eb is dead easy.

V

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:55 am 
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Ah, you haven't removed the metal cladding on the barrel. That's a crack repair, right? It rather spoils the flute's looks, even all buffed up! Forgive the question, but you have checked everything there is sealing? And the stopper? Suck tests? The slightest leak up there would be quite enough to kill your bottom end regardless of embouchure development. Even for a complete beginner, yes, those low notes are the most difficult, but they shouldn't be completely unobtainable. Getting the foot key regulation spot on may be tricky, and open standing padded keys with leather pads can also be problematic even if the action is perfect because the pads don't get a good , permanent hole-rim impression in the same way as closed-standing keys. I always find I have to keep micro-adjusting and fiddling with the set-up of flutes I have restored for a good bit of play-testing before I have them just so......

Books-wise, to add to your shopping list, you should read Böhm's own Treatise (available online here: https://archive.org/details/flutefluteplayi00bh) because of the understanding it offers. Fitzgibbon is worth a read too, also available online (https://archive.org/details/storyofflute1914fitz). Philip Bate (https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qMTCQgAACAAJ) and John Solum (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6N8sAAAAMAAJ) also produced useful flute history works. Last but most assuredly not least, get hold of Rockstro's Treatise (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=VsAIAQAAMAAJ). It isn't in print nor, SFAIK, as yet available as a scan online, but you can pick up second hand copies. It's invaluable (and not cheap!).

If you want to know about the makers, none of the above will tell you all that much - just who was to blame for what innovation..... But there is a book (I haven't read it) about some of the great French flute-makers by Tula Giannini (https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=O74IAQAAMAAJ).

Of course, there's loads of brilliant stuff on Rick Wilson's and Terry McGee's websites, both of which you should read in their entirety!

If you're buying Irish flute tutor books, add Conal O'Grada's to your list. I haven't seen the new edition of Fintan Vallely's book, but the old one had some stuff in it (mostly flute history stuff rather than playing instruction) which was tosh. Useful and amusing book, but take with pinch of salt. Grey Larsen's book is always controversial. I'm sure it's useful, but if you search this forum you'll find lots of varied opinions about it.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:13 pm 
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jemtheflute wrote:
Ah, you haven't removed the metal cladding on the barrel. That's a crack repair, right? It rather spoils the flute's looks, even all buffed up!

First off I'm a rank amateur repairer (cleaning, pad and cork replacing etc.) so I didn't even dream of removing the sleeve repair on the barrel!
And maybe it's the sax player in me but I like the shiny silver barrel! :)
Image

It is indeed a crack repair, a hefty-sized one from the exposed wood edge that I can see (apologies for the poor photo).
Image

To remove the sleeve I imagine would only reveal some recessed, cracked, and potentially nastily glued wood? I can't imagine it looking more attractive in that state. Even if handsomely refinished it would lack its original and traditional 'barrel' shape, without adding substantial amounts of wood. I would love it to be original and wood, but it seems a step too far in my minor 'restoration'.

jemtheflute wrote:
Forgive the question, but you have checked everything there is sealing? And the stopper? Suck tests? The slightest leak up there would be quite enough to kill your bottom end regardless of embouchure development. Even for a complete beginner, yes, those low notes are the most difficult, but they shouldn't be completely unobtainable. Getting the foot key regulation spot on may be tricky, and open standing padded keys with leather pads can also be problematic even if the action is perfect because the pads don't get a good , permanent hole-rim impression in the same way as closed-standing keys. I always find I have to keep micro-adjusting and fiddling with the set-up of flutes I have restored for a good bit of play-testing before I have them just so....


I have checked all the pads with a leaklight and everything looks good, but not a suck/pop test. I'll do so tonight. Can one suck/pop test the headjoint easily?
I couldn't get my leaklight into the narrow foot joint beyond the Eb hole, and just like the majority of saxophone open keyed pads, I understand that the C# and C pads on a simple sytem flute are a real pain to get seated correctly. Once I receive my leather pads I will float them on shellac like a sax pad. Yes, the light pad rim indentations are tricky to achieve on open keyed wood chimneys.

Thanks also for your recommendation of books, Jem. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:51 pm 
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Yes, you can suck-test all the parts easily enough. The parts with keys and finger-holes can be a bit trickier to block off single handed, but it's do-able. I suggest to do them separately first, including separating the barrel from the head. Then assemble them first in neighbouring pairs, then cumulatively. That may require a spare hand!

For the head, take off the barrel, seal the embouchure with a finger and suck on the barrel. If it leaks, take out the stopper and repeat with the crown end blocked just to check, and also try sucking at the embouchure while blocking both ends. That way you can make sure there's no leak between the wooden and metal tubes (not too likely if the head hasn't cracked, but it can happen....). If all is sound but you had a loss of vacuum with the stopper in, then the stopper is the problem. Then test the barrel separately. I rather suspect it may have a leak. Close the socket end against your palm and suck on the tuning slide where it sticks out. Then try putting it farther into your mouth so your lips seal onto the wood below the ferrule and try again. Then swap ends. If it is sound, put it back on the tuning slide and test the whole head assembly as before to check the slide itself doesnt leak. If you do it with the slide open a fair way and you find no leak but you suck the slide closed, you may need to tighten the slide by expanding the head liner tenon a little.

As for the metal sleeve over the slide, of course I can't be sure, but I think it is highly likely the wood will be intact underneath it bar the crack. I very much doubt the repairer turned the wood down to end up with the same exterior dimensions in metal as the original wood had. The metal is probably simply a cladding. If the crack leaks, you will have to disassemble it all anyway to deal with that properly, so you'll find out! I did a similar repair last year - there are detailed photos in my Facebook photo albums here, which you should be able to see - let me know if not. The relevant photos of the barrel are quite early in the album. Do read the blurbs on each photo too. Yours will be a little more complex because of the lined socket, but not fundamentally dissimilar.

The metal inner parts of each half of the barrel are not joined at the step down in the bore from socket to slide - they cannot be. They just butt together and there can be a leak to the crack there. You may find, when you have removed ferrule rings and socket liner, that the tuning slide tube is flanged (spun out) over the bore step. If it also has an outer sleeve on the upper part, where the metal projects beyond the wood, you will have problems getting that tube out of the wood! But let's cross that bridge when you come to it. If the barrel passes a suck test, you may not have to go there.

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Last edited by jemtheflute on Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:24 am 
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Yup, that's the crack I saw in your first posting. Jem's advice is spot on, as usual. Barrel cracks, even with lined barrels, can leak at the socket joint to the LH section of the flute. Hopefully it wasn't "filled" with any kind of substance before the silver band was put on. Perhaps you will get lucky. Looks like a nice one, and worth all the trouble to set right.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:49 pm 
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Thanks for all of your help guys.
I've performed suck/pop tests on all the sections and all passed except for the foot joint.

The Eb key is my D problem!

The key needs its temporary silicone pad trimmed so it seat easily after pressing. Currently it seals well but 9 times out of 10 won't reseat properly after use. I may put a tiny bit more tension in its spring too.

The foot C and C# need redoing too. I'll wait until my leather pads arrive for those I think.

When it visits my woodwind tech next (with its sax and clarinet brothers and sisters) I'll raise the barrel sleeve restoration with him then.

Thanks,

V

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 2:43 am 
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dubrosa22 wrote:
Poor thing was dry, dirty and dusty so I gave it a good drink of bore oil

Remember to keep it in conditions of appropriate humidity too. Oil and humidification do two different jobs and there's a reason that barrel cracked in the first place!

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