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 Post subject: Re: Thread or cork?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:43 pm 
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Posts: 25
Location: Pacific Northwest USA
Holmes wrote:
I always point out at his stage that if one were to buy a modern bassoon, oboe, clarinet with wooden tenons and pay many thousands of pounds
it will have cork on the tenons.

We "trad" thinkers are way behind in this respect.

Maybe so, and I'll defer to Terry's knowledge when it comes to antique flutes. On the other hand, I play a "modern" flute by a modern maker (Forbes and Yola Christie), which arrived with threaded tenons and instructions for maintaining them. Even some extra thread, wrapped at the tip of a blackwood rod with a marking to set the cork!

So with a quality modern flute of recent construction and designed for a threaded tenon, I see no reason to worry about this. It's been a few years now that I've owned the flute with no ill results from threaded tenons. Maybe that will happen sometime far down the road, but I'll let the next owner worry about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Thread or cork?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:41 pm 
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I have carefully read Terry's report about the effects of thread on wooden flutes. Its a very interesting and thorough study - like most of Terry's studies, which I greatly appreciate, by the way. While I don't dispute his findings, I do think that they can all be explained by the thread having been wrapped too tightly around the tenon. Clearly, this can present a danger to the flute, over time, and clearly it is easy to wrap thread too tightly without realizing it.

My personal solution to this problem when thread wrapping has been to use a bed of beeswax melted onto the tenon, and then loosely wrap thread into that bed of wax. The resulting wrap of thread and beeswax can move with the wood as it expands and contracts. It does not come lose, and is not affected by moisture. It can be fine tuned for fit, and a thin coating of cork grease prevents the beeswax from being too sticky. It looks good (depending on the color you chose for the thread) and traditional. So far, it seems to work perfectly well. I'll test it again after 100 years and let you all know how it holds up. :D

Having owned several (understatement) flutes, both modern and antique, and having restored a lot of antique flutes, I have come to the conclusion that both cork and thread work fine if installed correctly, and both can be problematic if installed incorrectly.

I personally prefer thread over cork for the following reasons. Thread is easier than cork to fine tune for a perfect fit, especially when dealing with a lot of different flutes with different clearances (as one would when restoring antiques). I don't have to use glues with nasty chemicals in order to install thread. I don't have to cut to precisely the right size in order to avoid a leak at the tenon. Thread is more robust in the face of frequent oiling of a wooden flute, especially when oiling the end-grain of tenons and sockets (oil can interfere with the cork glue and cause cork to come unstuck). I can select the color of thread to match the wood of the flute. I like the traditional look. These are mostly just my personal preferences and priorities.

Installing thread properly takes longer than installing cork, especially in a factory setting. I suspect this is the main reason why the majority of modern instruments have cork. Its just a cost issue - time is money. I don't mind spending time wrapping thread once in a while. Its therapeutic and I like the smell of melted beeswax in my workshop.

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 Post subject: Re: Thread or cork?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:41 pm 
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Conical bore wrote:
I play a "modern" flute by a modern maker (Forbes and Yola Christie).

A Buffet Crampon medium priced oboe (with cork tenons) Is around £8000, you can pay more for an oboe of this or similar standard but it will have cork (wrapped) tenon. (see link below)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_33KEr ... sp=sharing

https://soundcloud.com/holmesflute/tom- ... s-bb-flute

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 Post subject: Re: Thread or cork?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:54 pm 
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paddler wrote:
I have carefully read Terry's report about the effects of thread on wooden flutes. Its a very interesting and thorough study - like most of Terry's studies, which I greatly appreciate, by the way. While I don't dispute his findings, I do think that they can all be explained by the thread having been wrapped too tightly around the tenon. Clearly, this can present a danger to the flute, over time, and clearly it is easy to wrap thread too tightly without realizing it.

My personal solution to this problem when thread wrapping has been to use a bed of beeswax melted onto the tenon, and then loosely wrap thread into that bed of wax. The resulting wrap of thread and beeswax can move with the wood as it expands and contracts. It does not come lose, and is not affected by moisture. It can be fine tuned for fit, and a thin coating of cork grease prevents the beeswax from being too sticky. It looks good (depending on the color you chose for the thread) and traditional. So far, it seems to work perfectly well. I'll test it again after 100 years and let you all know how it holds up. :D

Having owned several (understatement) flutes, both modern and antique, and having restored a lot of antique flutes, I have come to the conclusion that both cork and thread work fine if installed correctly, and both can be problematic if installed incorrectly.

I personally prefer thread over cork for the following reasons. Thread is easier than cork to fine tune for a perfect fit, especially when dealing with a lot of different flutes with different clearances (as one would when restoring antiques). I don't have to use glues with nasty chemicals in order to install thread. I don't have to cut to precisely the right size in order to avoid a leak at the tenon. Thread is more robust in the face of frequent oiling of a wooden flute, especially when oiling the end-grain of tenons and sockets (oil can interfere with the cork glue and cause cork to come unstuck). I can select the color of thread to match the wood of the flute. I like the traditional look. These are mostly just my personal preferences and priorities.

Installing thread properly takes longer than installing cork, especially in a factory setting. I suspect this is the main reason why the majority of modern instruments have cork. Its just a cost issue - time is money. I don't mind spending time wrapping thread once in a while. Its therapeutic and I like the smell of melted beeswax in my workshop.


I like your style! Beeswax is a great idea. I use a little shellac, then wrap the first layer in that, I have had so many antiques with stuck sockets! The latest being a Zeigler, where the cork had deteriorated and prevented the tenon from coming out of the socket, of course the cork was 120 years old... My rule with antique flute and modern, if the flute is designed for cork, I will replace the cork, but thread is prefered.
You sill find that the $8k instrument has a reinforced tenon. Mic drop... :D

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 Post subject: Re: Thread or cork?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:57 am 
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If I may pick up the mic for a second...

As a consumer, the issue can be confusing, but what is helpful is to hear from a flute-maker "we've identified x as a potential problem, therefore we have mitigated it by doing y". Whether the final solution uses thread or cork is irrelevant, it is that the potential issue has been identified and addressed one way or another. (I like when I can find this type of information. In fact, I am buying a flute from Terry McGee because of the amount of information I could get regarding why he does what he does in regards to flute-making; and I didn't buy from other makers because they didn't explain their choices.)

To me, it sounds like the main potential problem is being addressed. I myself prefer to know the problem has been dealt with and mitigated by the flute-maker; as I don't particularly want to worry about it myself.


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 Post subject: Re: Thread or cork?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:47 pm 
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AaronFW wrote:
If I may pick up the mic for a second...

As a consumer, the issue can be confusing, but what is helpful is to hear from a flute-maker "we've identified x as a potential problem, therefore we have mitigated it by doing y". Whether the final solution uses thread or cork is irrelevant, it is that the potential issue has been identified and addressed one way or another. (I like when I can find this type of information. In fact, I am buying a flute from Terry McGee because of the amount of information I could get regarding why he does what he does in regards to flute-making; and I didn't buy from other makers because they didn't explain their choices.)

To me, it sounds like the main potential problem is being addressed. I myself prefer to know the problem has been dealt with and mitigated by the flute-maker; as I don't particularly want to worry about it myself.

I am sure Terry has made his flute to specs, to be able to take cork on the tenons. I come from a restoration, of original flutes, so usually don't alter the flute for a personal preference, if it had cork originally, Monzani, French flutes, etc. I will replace it with cork, if not I stick with the original material.

Here is a good example of a joint I would consider made for cork, reinforced tenon, as most of the antiques I work on have cracked tenons, socket lined to take the increased pressure of the cork, especially when the flute is thinned to this degree:
Image

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