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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:21 am 
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I have found of late that some flutes require a thinner cleaning rod when swabbing out the bore after playing, as my standard cleaning rod, which has a maximum width of 10 mm, can be too wide to fit down the narrower parts of a bore, such as the footjoint. Do any members here own flutes where they have encountered this?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:58 am 
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No, but I use this:

https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YAC-1661P ... B0002F538M

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:03 am 
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That plastic Yamaha rod should work well.

The main thing is to ensure that whatever rod you use is made of a material that's softer than the wood from which your flute is made. You don't want it scratching the bore.

I pull just a bit of cloth through the eye-hole in the rod; there's no reason to pull half of the cloth through (which I often see), although sometimes I'll do that for swabbing out the headjoint.

One of my flutes has a cleaning swab made by the maker that resembles a chopstick (no eye in the top), and that has worked well for the narrow bits like the foot joint. Don't use a standard chopstick as those tend to be made of hard woods and could scratch the bore.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:33 pm 
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Uni Flute wrote:
I have found of late that some flutes require a thinner cleaning rod when swabbing out the bore after playing, as my standard cleaning rod, which has a maximum width of 10 mm, can be too wide to fit down the narrower parts of a bore, such as the footjoint. Do any members here own flutes where they have encountered this?


Now, keep in mind that you don't have to push the rod and the cloth through the thinner parts of the flute (eg. the RH section and foot). You can push it through the wider zones (eg head, barrel, and maybe LH), then reverse it and pull it through the narrow sections. That optimises the diameter of the cloth section to do the best job of removing the moisture from the various parts of the tapering bore.

Indeed, I'd suggest whenever you get a new flute, new cleaning rod, or new piece of cloth on said cleaning rod, always test by pulling through first. If it seems to pull through any section two easily, gingerly try pushing through, but be prepared to stop if you strike too much resistance.

I remember a clarinet being brought to me for attention, after several other people had already had a go. The owner had tried to push some cloth through with a chop stick (one of those square cross-section tapering plastic ones). When the stick became stuck, the owner pushed another one from the other end. Unfortunately, it slipped past the tip of the first one and they both became wedged. Then they tried another from the first direction, until it too became wedged. Nothing I could do would get the mess free. I ended up drilling it out!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:35 am 
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Do people not use something like a clarinet swab cloth for the flute body? That should solve the "need narrow rod" issue.

Just wonderin'

Steve

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:54 am 
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I used this, made by a clockmaker friend. It is a two piece, with a thread in the middle, for easy storage. Pencil for comparison only. :P

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:08 am 
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My clockmaker produces digital watches. She gave me this but I'm not sure it will work all that well.... (I couldn't find an electronic pencil for comparison.)

Disappointed Steve

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:56 pm 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
Do people not use something like a clarinet swab cloth for the flute body? That should solve the "need narrow rod" issue.

Just wonderin'

Steve

You still need something on a stick for the flute head unless you're prepared to remove the stopper every time to clean.

And the clarinet is cylindrical, so the same bunch of cloth works equally well all the way. Our flutes are conical, so it's good to offer a different approach for the wide bits and the narrow bits.

I make my "Improved cleaning rods" from 10mm Delrin stock for a number of reasons:
- to make it strong enough to be able to push the stopper out if it gets jammed
- to enable me to have some of the cloth sticking out the tip (to dry the stopper face and surrounds) and the rest sticking out the side to dry the bore in general, and
- to be a push-through in the wider sections and a pull-through in the narrower.

I also put stopper markers at 15mm, 19mm and 23mm to remind players there is no perfect stopper distance - you have to find what works best for you. It will vary with flute, player and range.

But that was all some time ago. Perhaps we should reopen the topic of what features the cleaning rod of the future should have? Any other examples of rods specialised to conical flutes we should look at?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:11 pm 
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Terry McGee wrote:
Perhaps we should reopen the topic of what features the cleaning rod of the future should have? Any other examples of rods specialised to conical flutes we should look at?

Just my $.02 opinion: it's not the rod, it's the material around it that needs thinking about.

I use a bamboo wooden chopstick, the longer type designed for cooking not eating. I wrap a single sheet of paper towel around it, very tightly at the smaller end for the first swabbing of the smaller flute parts. Think of how you'd wrap a marijuana joint, if you've done that before. :D

That works for swabbing out the lower footjoint and middle section. Then I pull off the paper towel, reverse it (so I have a dry end), and fold it much more loosely around the larger end of the cooking chopstick, kind of a loose "flute flag" shape. That works for swabbing out the headjoint.

There is always some paper towel covering the bamboo stick, so no risk of scratching the flute bore. The best part, I throw out the paper towel afterwards, so no chance of bacteria (fed by stray Guinness drops inside the flute!) being cultivated or re-introduced for the next swab-out by keeping a damp cloth and re-using it over and over. This works best with fine weave, cloth-like paper towels like the "Viva" paper towels I use here in the USA. That kind of paper towel doesn't leave any debris to clog up a keyed flute. I just have to remember to keep some spare paper towel sheets folded inside the flute case cover.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:44 am 
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As far as swabs go, I prefer the Hodge silk flute swab. It is quite thin but very absorbent. Wrapped thinly around a Yamaha stick it dries the foot joint quite nicely. A little thicker for the middle joint or joints (as you push it in and twist it, it takes on a conical shape). Wrap it over the top of the stick, and quite thickly around the stick for the head joint and stopper face. I prefer the burgundy colored swab because you can see the moisture on it and wrap the dry parts outermost for each new joint. I let it dry thoroughly before folding it up and sticking it into the case.

John


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:18 pm 
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What an amazing variety of solutions. FWIW here is mine, used since 1968 on all types of flutes (silver, baroque, Irish): pine dowels (I think 1/4" and 3/8"), varnished, and well-washed big 'Western (cowboy?) style handkerchiefs. No holes in the dowels (just wrap a bit over one end and then wrap or lay over the dowel (there is a Y/T video by Jem Hammond which shows how). With wooden flutes I also use first ear buds ('Q-tips') to wipe away any moisture that has collected at the bottom where the tenon goes in to the sections) and then a smaller (again very soft from repeated washings) handkerchief to dry out the cylinder parts the tenons fit into. More recently, after watching Steph Geremia do it on an OAIM video, I drop a shoelace through the bottom 3 sections (while still fitted together, although Steph took her sections apart first) and then pull a triangle-shaped length of first silk and then cotton cloth through. This may appear complicated but it all takes no more than a minute to do.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:53 am 
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Thought I should just throw this period example in. It's from Siccama. We see his cap (top left), his stopper (top right) and his cleaning stick (bottom). Note the little mark near the right-hand end of the slot. It should show up at centre of embouchure when the stopper is well located. Interesting he's bothered to do that, in that the engraved mark on the stopper indicator rod (top right) should also tell us the same thing. Siccama was obviously of the 'tell them you're going to tell them, tell them, and then remind them you've told them' type!

Image

Incidentally, Siccama's mark is at 17mm , not our popularly assumed 19mm (3/4"). There is no science that mandates 19mm. It might work for you, it might not. As I mentioned above, I put markers at 15, 19 and 23mm. Play around with it and see what you find!

So, a cleaning rod should clean your flute, possibly sometimes as a push through, sometimes as a pull through. It should help you check your stopper location. What else could it do?

(Rudall Carte cleaning rods concealed a jeweller's screwdriver perfect for removing the axle rods. Fortunately we don't need that on our flutes....)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:12 pm 
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One I made earlier.....

https://youtu.be/jNl5VOwDznw

I just use a plain piece of 1/4" dowelling.

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Last edited by jemtheflute on Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:20 pm 
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I bought a smaller cleaning stick at a music store that I think was meant for a recorder. It's just like the usual flute stick, but about 60% scale. Works great for my Eb flute.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:51 am 
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Terry McGee wrote:
So, a cleaning rod should clean your flute, possibly sometimes as a push through, sometimes as a pull through. It should help you check your stopper location. What else could it do?


I forgot to add that it can be helpful in pushing the stopper out if the stopper gets a bit tight (which sometimes happens). But, it has to be stout enough to do that without risk of breaking (!) and your stopper needs to have a hard face to push against (or you need to drop a coin in there first!).

I raised the issue earlier of "sometimes as a push through, sometimes as a pull through". I was at a session today and thought to take notice of what I actually do. I have an old, well-worn handkerchief firmly pulled through the end of my cleaning rod. I pull it through all three of the conical bits (LH, RH and Foot), and push it through and twirl it around inside the head/barrel combination. The whole operation takes only seconds.


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