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 Post subject: Help with Peloubet flute
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:20 pm 
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Location: Beaverton, Oregon, USA
Approximately 50 years ago, my mother gave me a wooden flute. She said it had been in her family since before she was born (1920) and that she had inherited it from her uncle. If she told me more about who bought it when, who played it, etc, I don't remember. I think she probably didn't know. Her family were of Scots-Irish stock, settling in Staunton, Virginia, USA, in the early 19th century.

I do not play the flute. But I did play clarinet 60 years ago in the school band, so I can see a few problems with the instrument. And I know it is unplayable in its current condition. But I am hoping to find out if it is worth fixing up and, if so, how to find someone with the required skills.

Since I am new to this forum, I am uncertain as to how photos are handled, but my intent is to attach several. Anyway, here is what I know so far:

The flute has a stamping on each wooden section. Four of the stamps, on the mouthpiece section through the next to last, read "C.PELOUBET" and "NEW YORK" (two lines). On the last section the stamp reads "C.PELOUBET", "NEW YORK", "FACTORY AT", "LOOMFIELD", and "N.J" on five lines. The flute breaks down to four sections. There is no case although I remember a deteriorated cardboard box that appeared to be sectioned off for this particular instrument. It is long gone.

The mouthpiece end is lacking an end cap. When I received it, a whisky cork was performing that duty. It is long gone at this time. The mouthpiece end consists of two wooden sections, lined with a metal pipe. The wooden section with the blowhole is loose on the pipe and can be moved and rotated. There appears to be a gap between the two wooden sections of this piece. Each of the two wooden sections of this piece have a longitudinal crack.

There are four metal keys with black patina. Three of the keys work well but one has either a weak spring or perhaps patina is inhibiting its motion. All four keys will need new pads. The seats (and all six finger holes) appear to be in good shape (also the mouthpiece blowhole).

At least one of the joints will need to be reconditioned, probably all three. Currently the joints are waxed heavy guage thread. There are white ivory or ivoroid rings at each joint, at each end of the instrument and between the two sections of the mouthpiece end. The mouthpiece end ring is cracked, coincident with the longitudinal crack. One of the rings has two very dark brown discoration spots, about 3/8", that appear to be in the "ivory", ie, not surface spots.

As noted before, my main question is this instrument worth making playable and if so, how to find a reputable repair person. I live, with said flute, near Portland, Oregon, USA. I have full resolution photos in addition to the following two.

Image

Image

Many thanks for reading and for any responses.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:34 am 
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Well, I'm not a technician, so I don't have expert advice to offer, but IMO, that's a very salvageable flute. If someone gave me that for free, I'd be thrilled.

However, I might not be rich. If making money is your focus, put it up as is on ebay and take the 100 bucks you'll get for it. Getting it into playing shape will take some dollars. I'd recommend Jon Cornia of this parish, or in the UK, jemtheflute, also of this parish.

Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, pitch standards varied widely. If your flute plays well in A=440 hz, then you win. If it doesn't, you have a nice 4 key flute that in perfect shape might be worth 500 clams. If it does play in concert pitch, double that. There's a way to tell from the distance between the embouchure hole and the D (lowest open) hole which you have. No doubt someone will chime in to tell what that is, but if not ask.

BTW, do I know you from the mandolin cafe? Welcome to the chippy nipple, if so.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:32 am 
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Totally restorable flute. Wood cracks pretty much easy-peasy. Ivory rings can likely be repaired or replaced (either with ivory or imitation ivory).

I also recommend Jon Cornia in Southern California. PM & Email below, or he's on Facebook as Jon Cornia.
memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=522


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:54 am 
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Thanks for the thorough description and pictures. Similar to s1m0n, I am not a technician, but I also agree with him that it appears to be a very salvageable flute. From my observation and reading elsewhere, the condition of the flute is pretty typical for a flute of that age and from that period. That is to say, I believe most people who repair flutes and make flutes should be perfectly familiar with how to resolve those issues.

Regarding the question "Is it worth fixing up?" What is the flute worth to you? I don't think it is a historically significant flute but it may be something you'd want to keep in the family. Repairing the flute would at least make it playable and may keep it from further damage over time. ... That is to say, some of the damage now is likely caused by how it was made: the natural movement of the wood being conflicting with the metal barrel.

In regards to finding someone reputable, there are a lot of reputable repair people that hang around Chiff&Fipple. s1m0n recommended two and I am sure there are many others. I personally appreciate Terry McGee (homepage: http://www.mcgee-flutes.com), I think primarily because he provides a lot of information on his website regarding his own flute research, for example, here is one example of his of repairing a cracked head: http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/headcrack.html. (His contact and information regarding his claims on repairs: http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/repairs.html).


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:25 am 
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Hey honketyhank,

Welcome to the forum.

I've had two Peloubet flutes in the past and they were both lovely players with very reasonable tuning! :thumbsup:
The distinctive double rings are to my knowledge unique to Peloubet (bit like a Trademark).

As per what to do with it. I ask what do you want to do with it? Restore it and learn to play it? Put it back into storage? Sell it?...

The only choice above where I would have the flute repaired is if you wish to play it.

The repairs are simple enough.

Further John Cornia (http://macgillivray.smcgrdes.com/grdes65/summer-2011/holguin-final/index.html) would also be my first recommendation for repairs and as a bonus he also likes Peloubet flutes very much.

Best of Luck!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:54 am 
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Peloubet flutes are nice players and will probably play well at modern pitch. Its definitely worth repairing if you want to keep it and play it. You would probably have to spend quite a bit more to repair it than you would get if you sold it. If you sold it you would certainly get more than $100 ... I'd give you more than $100 for it!! But you wouldn't get more than a few hundred, and with the ivory rings you'd have to be careful about selling across state lines etc. You'd have to spend a few hundred to have it fully repaired if you wanted to keep it and play it in top condition. A repair could have it playing and looking as good as new.

The repairs are totally doable and it would come out nice, but would take quite a few hours of labor to pull the head liner, tuning slide, glue and re-ream the head, reassemble and perhaps turn some new rings from faux ivory. There is also some risk in doing these repairs, because it is an invasive process. I've done a lot of these repairs myself, and I work in Portland and live in Hood River. However, I do this more as a hobby. Jon Cornia is a great choice if you are looking for someone who does this kind of work commercially ... and well.

Jon

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:28 am 
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s1m0n wrote:
Well, I'm not a technician, so I don't have expert advice to offer, but IMO, that's a very salvageable flute. If someone gave me that for free, I'd be thrilled.

...


BTW, do I know you from the mandolin cafe? Welcome to the chippy nipple, if so.


Yes this is the same ole HonketyHank. There aren't many of us.

I am a new member, still on probation, so I can't access the PM system. But will reply to your PM when I can get into my inbox. Thanks for the welcome.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:51 am 
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Also Dave Copley (search online Dave Copley Flutes). I agree with everybody who says the flute is almost surely
fixable.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:18 am 
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honketyhank wrote:
There appears to be a gap between the two wooden sections of this piece.

It's not a 'gap' as such. It's the tuning slide, and most tuning slides look like that (metal of narrower diameter to the wood), so quite normal. Could still be a ring missing... I don't know.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:08 pm 
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By the way, if you want a more complete/detailed list of the work that would need to be done to restore this flute to its former glory, I'd be happy to send that to you. If you look at the "Who am I" link below you will be able to find email contact information for me and we can talk directly. I could potentially do the repairs, but we'd have to discuss terms since I don't normally do this commercially. The nice thing about doing restorations on my own flutes is that I don't have to worry about the consequences of trashing someone else's treasured instrument! Not that I have trashed any instruments, but its always a risk with these kinds of restorations.

I would also be interested in an option to buy this flute if you decide you'd rather sell it, so please let me know if that is the case. I have a small collection of antique flutes that I have restored, that now includes a fairly comprehensive collection of flutes from American makers, so I have quite a bit of experience and interest in this type of flute. Also, if you do decide to sell it, watch out for the CITES regulations that govern selling ivory across state lines. People do still sell flutes like this on eBay, but the new regulations make much of that trade illegal.

Aside from Jon Cornia, another good commercial restorer is Kelly Roudabush. Both do excellent work and charge based on time and materials required to do the job ... which can't always be pinned down precisely ahead of time, but they can usually give you a rough estimate.

If neither of those two work for you, my suggestions above are some fall back options for you.

Jon

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:02 pm 
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If you do decide to have it repaired, and intend to learn to play it, now is the time to buy a tin whistle. The fingering and technique are the same, so learning to play whistle is where you start learning Irish flute. If you're thinking of bestowing the flute on a grandchild, get whistles for both of you. At 10-15 bucks apiece, it's the most affordable instrument you'll ever buy.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:10 pm 
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Should be a easy repair. I put carbon fiber under the broken ivory ring and bore out the ring to close the crack.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:05 pm 
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Jon, can you hazard from the pics what wood that's likely to be? Is that very very brown cocus? It looks quite a bit like mopane, but I'm not aware of any used for flutes in that era.

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And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:11 am 
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s1m0n wrote:
Jon, can you hazard from the pics what wood that's likely to be? Is that very very brown cocus? It looks quite a bit like mopane, but I'm not aware of any used for flutes in that era.

100% positive it is unstained cocuswood.

Looks a lot like the cocus I used for this flute:
Image

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:12 pm 
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Thanks for the great response to my query. Based on all the above, plus a little bit of self examination, that the flute is a serious musical instrument and given its provenance it is worth restoring, keeping, and (hopefully) playing. And while that may or may not be true in a financial sense, it is true in a sentimental sense.

It is already on its way for restoration at the hand of Jon C.

My first post here has the 'Before' pictures. I will post the 'After' pictures in a few weeks.

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