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 Post subject: Wobbly joints
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:17 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 1:37 am
Posts: 14
Location: Melbourne, Australia
I'm new to wooden flutes. I have recently obtained a very beautiful African Blackwood keyless D flute by Sam Murray from McNeela Music. The tenons are wrapped with waxed silk embroidery thread in the traditional manner. I found when playing the flute would suddenly wobble at one or both of the body joints (a four part flute). It's most disconcerting. So I assume that as received the thread is slightly shy of ideal for whatever complex reason of shrinkage etc.

I tried adding more thread - some was supplied by McNeela. Finding the end was a challenge. How do you do that? With the modest amount of additional thread the tenons became very tight, so I took a bit out, being scared of splitting. Now they still wobble.

I could not find any information on joint wobble on the internet. Is this a common problem? Is something wrong with my instrument? How do I learn to do this correctly? Is my flute defective? All help appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly joints
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:50 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:19 pm
Posts: 375
Location: Hood River, Oregon, USA
The flute probably dehumidified a bit during transport and also due to lower humidity where you live than in Ireland.
This would introduce some play in the joints.

You should be able to add some thread to fix the wobble. When you do this, make sure that the thread wrap is not
thicker in the middle of the tenon than it is at the ends, because his can make the joint wobble even when the thread
wrap is pretty tight.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly joints
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:17 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 1:37 am
Posts: 14
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Ah, thanks paddler. Down here in Melbourne Australia it's pretty dry and hot. We recently had about 15% humidity and 33 degree days, just when the instrument arrived.

I'll try your suggestions.

In the meantime I found a superb document by Jem Hammond on thread lapping on his download site. Most valuable.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly joints
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:39 pm
Posts: 2740
Location: Kinlochleven
Andro wrote:
We recently had about 15% humidity

Make sure to keep that flute properly humidified!

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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly joints
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:07 am 
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Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 1:37 am
Posts: 14
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Peter Duggan wrote:
Andro wrote:
We recently had about 15% humidity

Make sure to keep that flute properly humidified!


Hi Peter, yes! The flute has come from cold damp Ireland to hot dry Australia. I am terribly nervous about it. I started another thread about oiling the bore, as McNeela recommends in their care sheet not to, and I am somewhat perplexed.

I am nursing it carefully, and have a small piece of damp sponge in the case.

Terry McGee reckons to eat an orange and keep the peel in the case.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly joints
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 2611
Location: Sweden
Yes, Andro, keep the flute humidified. That's more important than oiling I'd say. In Sweden it gets very dry during the winter months, and often it's necessary to keep the central heating on inside. So I keep an eye on my flutes, both the Victorian ones and the modern ones. A small piece of moisturised sponge or something similar, in the case, works. I had a Sam Murray flute a few years ago, and the barrel cracked. I left it with Sam for repair, but alas, the flute apparently shrank so much that, well, it just disappeared.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly joints
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 16639
An option is getting the tenons corked. That works and simplifies things.
Do you have a hygrometer? Worth getting. I use a humidifier to humidify
my flutes and myself. Best not to take chances with dryness.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly joints
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:19 am 
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Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 1:37 am
Posts: 14
Location: Melbourne, Australia
paddler wrote:
You should be able to add some thread to fix the wobble. When you do this, make sure that the thread wrap is not
thicker in the middle of the tenon than it is at the ends, because his can make the joint wobble even when the thread
wrap is pretty tight.

Hi paddler, thanks so much. This was the issue. I carefully added thread to make it very uniform along the length of the tenon, and behold, the wobble is fixed. Feels much more secure!

Most appreciated. I would not have thought of this aspect myself.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly joints
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:12 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 8:06 pm
Posts: 154
It sounds like you got your threading issue solved. But you definitely need to humidify. In the midwestern United States we have wide swings of humidity from summer damp to heating season dry as a bone. Where you are you may be dry all the time which might or might not be easier on the flute. Terry McGee would probably be a good source for advice. Thread adds the advantage of easy adjustment when conditions change. I have a couple of corked flutes and don't think there is any advantage. I have a small item filled with water in my case in the dry season. The company who makes these is Humistat USA, and it is a Humistat Model One. It is perfect. It is easily refilled, doesn't leak, and it is easy to see when it needs refilling. It may seem a little pricey for a piece of plastic the size of a lip balm, but it is worth it.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly joints
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:47 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 2:06 pm
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Location: Dartmouth, Massachusetts, USA
busterbill wrote:
...I have a small item filled with water in my case in the dry season. The company who makes these is Humistat USA, and it is a Humistat Model One. It is perfect. It is easily refilled, doesn't leak, and it is easy to see when it needs refilling. It may seem a little pricey for a piece of plastic the size of a lip balm, but it is worth it.

My variation on this theme is a soap dish with small holes drilled in the top and a sponge cut to fit. A smaller option is a pill box, again with holes drilled and sponge cut to fit. This based on my Yankee frugality....

Best wishes.

Steve

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"[Some flutists] place the flute between the upper lip and the nose, blowing the instrument from below. This position does not prevent good playing, but it does not look graceful."
~ Antoine Mahaut, 1759 in a tutor for playing the transverse flute ~


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