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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:38 am 
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I take on board the advice of folks who have longer experience than I have.

The climate here is not dry. I also monitor room humidity. But on the advice provided I'm going to find a compromise; keep my flute assembled and on a stand during the day for ease of access, but dissemble and put it back in it's case every evening.

Live and learn. Thank you. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:42 am 
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To each their own, but I find it difficult to understand why anyone would leave a wooden flute assembled. Why tempt fate when it takes less than 1 minute to assemble/disassemble it, and if you play for more than 20 minutes straight, chances are you will need to disassemble it anyway to swab it because condensation starts affecting the flute's responsiveness as it builds up.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:36 am 
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If wooden flutes are truly that delicate, I am even more glad that mine is made from delrin. It stays assembled all the time and I can grab it multiple times during the day and quickly run a short tune or technique without worry.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:48 am 
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D Mc wrote:
If wooden flutes are truly that delicate, I am even more glad that mine is made from delrin. It stays assembled all the time and I can grab it multiple times during the day and quickly run a short tune or technique without worry.

Right :D. Personally I don’t think wood flutes are that delicate. If they were many would not have lasted. As antiques.

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Last edited by cavefish on Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:57 am 
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Same here, I noticed that my practice routine (multiple short sessions a day) is not really suited for a wooden instrument. So my lovely David Angus flute almost never gets played. Instead I honk away on the aluminium flutes I make in my workshop. More or less indestructable under normal use.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:29 am 
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Wooden flute maintenance isn't that big a deal, for me anyway. A daily disassemble and swabbing is probably less time each month than I spend changing strings on my mandolin, octave mandolin, and guitars. Although I probably do that more often than most.

For many of us it comes down to aesthetics. I've owned and played many musical instruments in my life, starting with piano as a kid, then kit drums in rock bands, then acoustic and electric guitars, finally mandolin and now flute (still playing mandolin). Every one of those instruments was made of wood. Well, I did have a fiberglass-back Ovation guitar at one point, but it was one of the worst-sounding guitars I've ever owned. So yeah, I like the look and the feel of wood under my fingers.

I would buy a Delrin flute if I needed one for travel, but I haven't done much traveling lately, even before the current crisis.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:56 am 
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gwuilleann wrote:
To each their own, but I find it difficult to understand why anyone would leave a wooden flute assembled.


Because I've never encountered or envisaged a problem. I guess climate has a lot to do with it?

But I am going to modify what I do in light of advice. Lowering risk makes sense.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:47 am 
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Conical bore wrote:
For many of us it comes down to aesthetics.

Very good point. I do like the look of a classical simple system flute myself. But I'd never do with it, what I do with my aluminium flute. I play it in the kitchen while cooking or waiting for the coffee, I play it in the bathtub, in the garden, I basically carry it with me all day, even when going on walks with my wife (which is the only activity besides grocery shopping for which we leave the property at the moment). But I do like the "Mad Max"/Steampunk-look of my instruments and the simplicity (and the sound and handling). But I guess the aesthetics are not to everybody's taste.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:21 pm 
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my 2 cents...
I have a Delrin that I play occasionally, but the tone of my wooden flute keeps me going back to it :) so, if I see the need to play if frequently, I remove the head after each play, and use a thread-attached-to-a-cloth swab I have and run it through very quickly 2 times. I leave all the other pieces attached.

Is this a good compromise? Is there any problem with leaving the whole body assembled and swabbing? Should I stop doing it? :)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:08 pm 
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tradlad123 wrote:
my 2 cents...
I have a Delrin that I play occasionally, but the tone of my wooden flute keeps me going back to it :) so, if I see the need to play if frequently, I remove the head after each play, and use a thread-attached-to-a-cloth swab I have and run it through very quickly 2 times. I leave all the other pieces attached.

Is this a good compromise? Is there any problem with leaving the whole body assembled and swabbing? Should I stop doing it? :)

if your going to swab it swab it,
i would not leave the "body section" together for any length of time other than a day or so, the moisture stays in the little section pockets of the tenons, constant water will soften wood,, if left unattended ,,, , if your going to swab it , do it right, :D , or just blow it out and at the end of the day swab it
my thoughts

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 12:36 pm 
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How quaint it is :thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:23 am 
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Among other instruments I play the double bass and have a nice big solid wood (not plywood) bass. One night I woke up to a loud cracking sound and found the one of the lower ribs had split. It was winter, which means well below freezing much of the time, and forced air heating. and you really can't humidify a double bass effectively unless you humidify the whole room. The repair was very expensive and involved taking the top off.

I have multiple guitars, several of which I made myself, which move a lot from winter to summer. I've done a lot of woodworking and have a fair idea of the effects of humidity changes on wood. So personal experience has made me leery of wooden flutes. Spend five minutes looking at used wooden flutes and the word "crack" show up constantly. It's probably the worst possible combination--warm moist breath on the inside, cold dry air on the outside, metal liner for tuning slide. It's like a recipe for cracking. This is why i bought an Ebonite flute--the memory of waking up at 3 am and looking into my bass through a big rib crack.

But flutes are much more easily humidified than guitars or certainly double basses, and I've got a mopane flute on order which I'll be cautiously humidifying once it arrives, with fingers crossed


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:24 pm 
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cavefish wrote:
tradlad123 wrote:
my 2 cents...
I I remove the head after each play, and use a thread-attached-to-a-cloth swab I have and run it through very quickly 2 times. I leave all the other pieces attached.

Is this a good compromise? Is there any problem with leaving the whole body assembled and swabbing? Should I stop doing it? :)

if your going to swab it swab it,
i would not leave the "body section" together for any length of time other than a day or so, the moisture stays in the little section pockets of the tenons, constant water will soften wood,, if left unattended ,,, , if your going to swab it , do it right, :D , or just blow it out and at the end of the day swab it
my thoughts


Just to remind you of my story above. I had a great Dave Williams flute which I thought I could keep together so I could just grab it. The place it cracked was the tenon joint between the G and F wholes. And it was a doozy in which a chunk of the flute above the tenon cracked so bad he ended up adding a half inch collar, and if I remember correctly some cracking in the tenon as well. (but my memory is fuzzy) It required a trip back to the UK, and months at his workshop while he brainstormed how to repair it.

My naive behavior was an insult to his work.

So is swabbing and leaving the flute assembled a good compromise?

Now, Just to play devil's advocate here... Most 8 keyed flute cases are made to store the last two sections of a Rudall style flute together since handling and twisting off those joints add to the stress on the keywork. Some would argue that less moisture makes it down that far unless you have been playing nonstop in a three hour session. In long sessions we'll often have drips coming out of the end of the flute. My compromise at home is to put it back in the case and set the case on its end like a book on a library shelf, so it drains. I have no idea if it is necessary, but I've had no issues.

I too resisted the act of actually putting away a flute, but developed the habit when I had that repair. It was also reinforced by the fact that I had three small children. It is literally a 2 minute or less event.

The best defense if you want to keep a flute out is a climate controlled room with even humidity away from pets, children, their friends who may think they are toys. If I am playing a long session and set down my flute I rotate it so the wholes are on the bottom. I have no idea if this makes a difference, but it is a habit that seems logical to me.

D Mc wrote:
If wooden flutes are truly that delicate, I am even more glad that mine is made from delrin. It stays assembled all the time and I can grab it multiple times during the day and quickly run a short tune or technique without worry.


I actually don't know of many instruments besides electric keyboards and metal whistles that don't require maintenance. Pianos, guitars, saxes, trumpets, clarinets, violins, guitars, and yes, stand up basses, all need climate control, string changing, pad care, humidifying, you name it. The delrin flute is a great compromise, but I have heard few that sound as good as their wood counterparts. I have a delrin flute that has lived in my car and currently assembled in my sock drawer, and did have a very good ebonite at one point with the idea I would leave it out to grab, but it ended up getting ignored.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:05 pm 
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busterbill wrote:
I had a great Dave Williams flute which I thought I could keep together so I could just grab it. The place it cracked was the tenon joint between the G and F wholes. And it was a doozy in which a chunk of the flute above the tenon cracked so bad he ended up adding a half inch collar, and if I remember correctly some cracking in the tenon as well. (but my memory is fuzzy) It required a trip back to the UK, and months at his workshop while he brainstormed how to repair it.

My naive behavior was an insult to his work.

Not to mention being careless with an investment. And I've been there myself in my own way, so I'm not pointing fingers here. Your case was particularly catastrophic, and a caution to all. If the flute won't be played for a couple of hours or more, disassembly and swabbing shouldn't be seen as a pain in the ass. It's an act of respect.

If someone insists on leaving their flute assembled long-term, I suggest Delrin or similar for the purpose.

Earlier someone asked if cracking can be due to climatic conditions, and my answer, without hesitation, is yes. PB+J's bull fiddle should tell it all. Many of us live in regions where humidity swings wildly with the seasons, and when the indoor average gets below 45% relative humidity, that is the time to start managing things. While my patch of Minnesota tends to be pretty humid when the weather's fine, winters are bone-dry - sometimes it'll even get as low as 10% RH outdoors - so humidifying wooden instruments at such times is an absolute must. I've had them crack when I didn't, and it's a common story hereabouts. Those who don't humidify during our winters are either inexperienced or foolhardy. You also need to take into account where a wooden instrument was made: finished structure is very much a product of the environment it came from, so an instrument made in more humid climes will absolutely need to be humidified during arid conditions. There's no getting around it. Unless you live in an environment with a fairly steady and instrument-friendly level of humidity, anything else is just relying on dumb luck.

Depending on its construction, I suppose it might be possible for a wood flute to settle into year-round desert conditions, but if it's not made there, I wouldn't gamble on it - especially if it's got a lined head.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:00 pm 
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Right it's simply not possible to keep our house humidified in the winter, and I don't have a hard case for the bass, so there's no way to keep it humidified. Even a guitar in a case is hard to keep humidified. I'm assuming I can manage a disassembled flute


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