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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:33 pm 
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This concerns the restored flute advertised on the Irish Flute Store
The embouchure hole is contained in a broad silver ring that goes
all the way around the headjoint. Why do they do this? It might be
in part to protect against cocus allergies, but one doesn't need to surround
the headjoint entirely to do that. I can't say I much like the aesthetics--silver
is fine but less is more, IMO. Also I wonder how the hole was crafted and voiced
in the silver. Any info?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:31 am 
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jim stone wrote:
This concerns the restored flute advertised on the Irish Flute Store
The embouchure hole is contained in a broad silver ring that goes
all the way around the headjoint. Why do they do this? It might be
in part to protect against cocus allergies, but one doesn't need to surround
the headjoint entirely to do that. I can't say I much like the aesthetics--silver
is fine but less is more, IMO. Also I wonder how the hole was crafted and voiced
in the silver. Any info?


Maybe a full lip plate was used in case someone approached the embouchure from the other side, like a left handed player?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 2:35 am 
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They probably did it this way because it is the easiest way to make a lip plate.
The wooden portion of the head is likely two separate pieces with the join between
the two hidden beneath the silver lip plate tube. Each piece would be simply turned
down to slide into the silver tube, and glued in place. The join probably does not pass
through the embouchure. The embouchure would be drilled and tuned with fine files
in the usual way. Doing it this way is easier that cutting a recess that precisely matches
the shape and curvature of a smaller, localized, lip plate.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:08 am 
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Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
I reckon you're right, Paddler. Oval-shaped embouchure plates are going to be much harder to set in.

I guess, in the name of science, we ought to try to prove the theory. But how? These sorts of flutes tend to have lined bores, so you can't see any join from inside or outside, unless the head wood cracks up or for some other reason comes apart.

I guess if anyone comes across such a head, and it's useless for some reason, it could be carved up to reveal its secrets. Forensic decapitation....

I must say I don't enjoy the sound of such flutes. But it worries me that I can't identify a reason. I just feel they seem thin in tone. Anyone agree or disagree? I'd like to be able to take this further, but am struggling for a way forward.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:56 am 
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FWIW, I have an old repair to RR #418x where the head was seriously cracked. My guess is the crack was filled and the embouchure was still not usable. A new embouchure hole was cut in an ebonite inset with the head joint then wrapped in a silver sleeve to hold it all together. This seems to be nearly as old as the flute itself.

This flute is a medium-holed model and is an excellent candidate for a franken-flute if anyone wants to give it a go. It plays well with an Olwell head (not included) and has that nice Rudall-y sound. Send me a PM if you might want to give it a go. Price would be attractive.
Lewis


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:43 pm 
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Quote:
I guess if anyone comes across such a head, and it's useless for some reason, it could be carved up to reveal its secrets. Forensic decapitation....


Terry, I just emailed you a photo of such a head, with the two wooden sections pulled slightly apart. The crown end is the shortest and slots into
the silver tube, so the join is well away from the embouchure hole. For comparison, the photo also shows a head with a missing oval lip plate, along
side the head with the tubular lip plate. Both of these are in my collection of partially repaired flutes.

I have been putting off repairing the one with the missing oval plate because making a new one that precisely matches the recess and
curvature of the old head is non-trivial. In fact, I'm not sure I can actually do it with an acceptable finish. Making a complete new head would be
easier.

These are both anonymous flutes, likely English, but I have seen American flutes with similar lip plate designs.

Oh, and I emailed you the picture in the hope that you could post it to this thread. I don't currently have a way to host images, otherwise I'd do it myself.


Last edited by paddler on Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:07 pm 
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Quote:
I must say I don't enjoy the sound of such flutes. But it worries me that I can't identify a reason. I just feel they seem thin in tone. Anyone agree or disagree?

Funny you should mention this, because I also dislike playing flutes with lip plates like this.

There are several things I dislike. I don't like the cold feeling of metal against my bottom lip, and I don't like the slight metallic taste/smell that I experience when playing them.

The full tubular lip plates add significant weight to the head, not as much as some of those old German flutes where the entire head is covered in metal, but the extra weight at
the head is noticeable to me. I tend to prefer playing flutes with a lighter overall weight, and especially dislike those that are head-heavy.

Finally, I find that the embouchures tend to be a bit unpredictable. This last point might relate to your feeling that the tone is thin.
My theory is that its because the chimney wall of the embouchure hole has three different layers: the metal lip plate, then the wood of the head, then the metal head lining.
Over time, and with humidity changes, these materials behave differently, so the surface defined by the embouchure hole's chimney wall changes shape compared to the shape
the maker originally produced and fine-tuned. Specifically, the wood component that is sandwiched between the metal parts shrinks back slightly as it dries, leaving the metal
edges to stick out a bit. If this is corrected to make it flush with the metal again, when the wood is dry, then when it gets wet and expands (during playing) it won't be precisely
aligned again. These changes are only slight, but flutes are notoriously sensitive to very small changes in the embouchure, especially around the blowing edge itself.

This is theoretically a problem both for the metal lip plate and the head lining, but can be solved easily for the head lining by filing the metal back out of the way, essentially
undercutting the embouchure hole. So long as the lining is not misaligned and has a hole that is a bit larger than the rest of the embouchure hole, things work fine. However,
it is not so simple with the lip plate, because the edge of the lip plate defines the blowing edge itself, and messing with this, even slightly, changes the way the embouchure
behaves and the tone produced.

For a flute with a lip plate to play well, the metal edge and the wooden surface inside the embouchure hole need to remain perfectly aligned, but over time, and with humidity
changes, they likely will not. I have seen this slight misalignment in antiques.

I have been slowing forming the opinion that lip plates (either tubes or ovals), with an embouchure hole cut through the layers, are just a bad design. I realize that they may be
necessary to help people with allergies, but if they are used I think it would be better to use an embouchure insert with them. If the insert extends all the way through the
head, the embouchure wall can be homogeneous, which solves the problem.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:13 pm 
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Paddler et al....

Herewith Paddler's images, confirming what we had thought in terms of where the join had to be in the full cylindrical sleeve type. (lower image).

The upper image also shows why I reckon those oval embouchure covers are harder to do. Presumably they made the cover, laid it onto the head and pencilled around, then excavated as accurately as possible (but still relatively crudely using hand tools) to the right depth to accept the cover with no obvious gaps around it. Any errors in depth can of course be taken up by glue, which was probably shellac stuck to the back of the plate, the plate put in place and then heated over a spirit lamp or similar until the excess shellac squeezed out all round, filling any remaining gaps.

Image

Note how the almost inevitable crack almost inevitably chooses the embouchure hole to aim for, thus following the broad set of principles set down by Murphy, in particular:

Murphy's Original Law: If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it. (Lined heads vs unlined heads)

Murphy's Law: Whatever can go wrong will, (Lined heads can crack, so will crack....)

Murphy's Constant: Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value. (....through the most valuable part, the embouchure hole).

Sigh....


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:37 pm 
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This discussion has been interesting, especially the discussion of the embouchure edge and the difficulties the 'laminated' tone-hole wall contributes. My question is regarding the use of an inset embouchure edge, such as is sometimes employed by Noy. Clearly this gives the opportunity to re-set and recut the 'target' if the maker feels he has made an error in shaping it, or even replacement if over time the edge is damaged or degraded. Could something like this help. or would it hinder the situation with a full cylindrical lip flate? Certainly a 'fussy piece of work' if attempted.

Bob

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The Beginner's mind has endless possibilities.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 1:45 am 
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I think it would help, although I have no experience fitting that type of insert.
What I had in mind was to just drill out the embouchure hole using an oversized
drill bit, then glue in a round section of wood, or faux ivory or ebonite, and
cut a new embouchure hole in that. Of course, you'd need to work the bore
side and the outside so that the new insert was flush with the surfaces, but that
would be easy to do on a lathe.

I've seen antiques that have ivory embouchure inserts like this, and they look as if
the embouchure hole has a white ring around it. I've also seen some German flutes
with metal inserts in the embouchure hole. I'm not sure if these were done to address
the laminate issue or simply to provide a harder material for a sharper blowing edge,
but I think a Noy-style or Shakuhachi-style edge insert could have the same benefits.


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