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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:16 am 
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I've searched the archive here for clues on estimating date of manufacture of older wooden flutes but haven't found any information. I have fairly recently renovated (basic maintenance really i.e. cleaning-up and re-threading tenons, replacing head cork and oiling) a 5-key simple system wooden flute that I now play. It has no visible maker's mark. I acquired it here in England but assume that it is probably French? As a guess, it's probably at least 100 years old? It's in good shape and I love to play it - and if possible would like to know more about it's origin even if that's only to confirm country of origin and the approximate date it was made.

I have seen similar-looking flutes with no visible maker's mark where the seller confidently attributes a maker's name. Are there technical or style features that might give a clue or would narrow the date down at all?

Unfortunately I don't currently have photos to upload. It has a wooden thread inside the domed wooden end cap to adjust the head cork position and the cork is seated on a circular wooden disc integral to the thread with no washer at the lower end, just the exposed end of the cork. The head is brass-lined. The recessed bands on the tenon joints have fine turning to hold the joint thread. The metal rings are decorated with plain grooved lines.

Not much to go on but any guidance would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:01 am 
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Check out Rick Wilson's oldflutes.com page and click on the French 19th century flutes. Is it like one of those?

Also on the foot joint is there a metal cap on the end or a simple ring? The metal caps usually mean that these were German. Otherwise they are French if they have the same key arrangement where the C key tightly passes over the G# key.

I am learning a lot about these old French flutes. Commonly ther maker's stamp is on each piece but barely visible. You can sometimes find these in strong sunlight with a hand lens. If you see "Thib" and so forth then it is a Thibouville. These sell for about $400 or less on eBay. I am highly interested in these at this point and would be willing to trade for one of my $450 Folk Flutes perfect for Irish music, if that is your intent. Private Message me if interested further.

I am turning these into Cuban Charanga Flutes, such as played by Johnny Pacheco - using the exact same methods that he and other great players used. I have access to a collection of flutes played by most of the masters of the Charanga Flute Craze of 1960-1964. Here is one of the flutes that I measured being played in performance by the master himself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6kdbGbfH9c

Casey

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:32 am 
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Thanks for the pointer to Rick's fascinating website.

My flute has a simple ring on the end of the foot joint. No tuning slide either. It is similar to the four flutes in the top photo on Rick's French flute page. Most similar to the Noe and Tulou. The main difference is that mine has an extra decorative metal ring on the head section where the tuning slide would be. A small tubular metal 'pip' in the end cap. And no metal ring just below the 6th or lowest open hole.

I'm not looking to sell or trade. Just hoping for some basic history on my flute which came to me without any background info.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:47 am 
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Most of the features you describe are common to all 19th century flutes, so don't narrow the search down much at all. The G sharp key sometimes gives a clue as to country of origin. On German flutes it often sits diagonally across the flute body. On French flutes the key shaft is often perpendicular to the flute body and has a bend before the touch. On English flutes (and Austrian and Italian and many American) that key is often parallel to the flute body.

Are the keys post mounted or block mounted?

We'd be able to say much more with pictures.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:39 pm 
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The keys are post mounted. The G♯ key has a slight bend before the touch. It sits pretty much parallel to the body but the posts are at a slight diagonal. So it's not an exact match to any single of those descriptions.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:13 pm 
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It sounds to me (based on very little information, admittedly) that your flute may be a German style flute. Does the G# key look like the one pictured in the middle of this page?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:36 am 
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It doesn't look like that. But that's helpful too as it enables me to see what a fully diagonally-placed key looks like by comparison. From that I can see that my G⌗ key is the parallel to the body English style. My flute looks like the four examples at the top of Rick's French simple-style system page except that it has the small parallel G⌗ key instead of the larger, curved French-style key.

Maybe I have an English 5-key flute?

I don't appear to be able to upload and attach images here.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:32 am 
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If you are thinking it may be an English flute, it may be worth while to check out Terry McGee's website. If I am not mistaken, most of his historical flute studies tend to relate to English Flutes. One thing that comes to mind is that the keys may have some type of mark that could help identify the flute further. See Terry McGee's article on Flute Key marks: http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/Keymarks.htm

Here is Terry McGee's home page: http://www.mcgee-flutes.com. There is a lot of content on his page, but something there may be helpful.

For posting images, you need to sign up for some image hosting website; host the image there, and then you will be able to share the image through using the URL that is related to the image. Some examples of free services for this type of thing are Cloudinary (https://cloudinary.com) and Photobucket (http://photobucket.com).


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:44 am 
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Photobucket (http://photobucket.com).


Photobucket no longer provides a useful service since they changed their policy and no longer allow hotlinking of images for free accounts. Postimages.org is a useful, free, alternative.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:17 pm 
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Aaron thank you for the links. One thing for sure is that my knowledge of flute history is on steep upward curve at the moment. There are some great resources and knowledgable folks here. But given where I start from the only way is up.

I'm off to squint under my keys with the aid of a torch to see if there are any marks...

One supplementary question relates to key removal which I haven't done yet but intend to (and possibly re-pad). What is the suitable tool/method to use to press the pivot pins out to minimise slippage and unintentional damage? On an old flute that likely hasn't been maintained in years is it recommended to put a tiny drop of easing oil on the end of each pin first to help ease them out?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:25 am 
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Someone local to you who might be able to help is Dominic Allan. He used to make nice keyed flutes, though he gave it up to concentrate on bagpipes. He must be pretty close to you. He lives in Bruton and does repairs for the [url]allinstruments.com[/url] shops in Westbury, Wilts and Midsomer Norton, through whom you could contact him. I'm not sure about his knowledge of historic flutes but I'm guessing he knows more than most. Don Vosper in Farrington Gurney has also made flutes, though I can't say whether he has any experience with keys.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:38 am 
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In Poundland you’ll get a wee screwdriver set with like 50 little tips. One of the tips is just a rounded cylinder that is perfect for poking out key pins on post mounted key work. Sometimes pins are tapered and are easier to push one way than the other.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:46 am 
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Thanks for the heads-up on pin removal. This is what Poundland currently have on their website. I'll check this set out next time I'm near one of their stores and see if it includes the small cylindrical tip.

http://www.poundland.co.uk/tommy-walsh-precision-screwdriver-set

I was chatting to someone at Priddy in the summer who had a set of small pipes and Dominic Allen's name came up. Farrington Gurney is not that far from me. Nice to know there are flute makers and expertise here in North Somerset.


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