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 Post subject: Cork vs threaded joints
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:36 am 
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Whenever I want to learn something about flutes, I read Terry McGee's website. Recently I was reading about the problems with threaded joints.

As it happens, I have a baroque flute with threaded joints. Right now I'm not playing it that much, but as the weather turns cooler, my friends' thoughts will turn more towards Baroque music.

I'm not planning to have my instruments buried with me, so I would like to think that they will get passed on to other musicians when I'm gone. I would like to consider how best to preserve them.

That leads me to wonder whether I should have the threaded joints replaced with cork. But I don't know what sort of a project this is. Is it something that a local general band music shop that can deal with clarinets and oboes could handle? Or, there is a shop in my area that works on early music instruments, not close by, but I could get there if that's what it takes.

I don't really have a feeling for whether this is a simple operation, or something that has many subtle aspects to it, that the average fluter would not anticipate.

I don't want to do it myself, so I'm not looking for DIY videos.

Thanks for any advice.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:37 am 
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Replacing thread with cork should be easily accomplished by any decent music repair shop, or you could just get it redone with thread, I don't think there is any advantage/disadvantage to either.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:01 am 
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I don't think if matters much unless your flute has a historic value. In that case I'd recommend you restore it to its original state. Perhaps there is a forum dedicated to baroque flutes you could ask for a second opinion. If it is a historical flute you could check with the folks on the Flute History Channel, a Facebook page dedicated to historic flutes of all types. Some of the posters on that page are active here.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:38 pm 
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No original baroque flute would have had anything other than thread-lapped tenons. It's fairly unlikely any modern copy by a reputable maker would either. If you own flutes by living makers the best thing to do is to enquire for their advice if you are considering changing to cork lappings. The job could be done by any competent woodwind tech, but whether it is a good idea is entirely another matter. I'd advise against. Terry's horror story can happen, but mostly doesn't, and the sockets of your flutes may not be made in a way suitable for cork lappings.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:55 pm 
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Also it sounds as though your flute is doing well enough.
If you're not having any problems with tenons,
perhaps its best to leave well enough alone. I play flutes with
threaded tenons, have for a long time. No difficulties.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 9:26 pm 
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jim stone wrote:
Also it sounds as though your flute is doing well enough.
If you're not having any problems with tenons,
perhaps its best to leave well enough alone. I play flutes with
threaded tenons, have for a long time. No difficulties.


Same here. I have no great experience with many different flutes, but the "modern" flutes from current makers I've bought have had no issues with threaded tenons. I like being able to thread a few wraps of thread on if a tenon feels a little loose, or remove a few wraps if it feels tight. Always with a little cork grease to make sure I know how the joints are fitting together.

That said, I wouldn't pass up a desirable flute I wanted if it had a corked tenons! These are just the two flutes I've owned that are set up with threaded tenons (a Windward and Aebi flute).


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:00 pm 
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I am fortunate to own a few flutes, some with corked joints and some with threaded joints. One of those is a Casey Burns flute with threaded joints beautiful made circa 1995. It looks and plays wonderfully. clearly, it is not comparable to a 100 plus year old antique...

I wonder if Terry McGee's reference is more toward antique flutes stored (or abandoned) for long periods of time where the wood is exposed to drastic changes in climate/humidity. Problems might occur with threaded tenons when going from a dry climate to a more humid climate where the wood would expand or increase in dimension over time.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2020 9:57 am 
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I've had flutes with cork and others with with threaded tenons. I wouldn't normally change a flute over from threaded to cork, but...

I notice on my threaded flutes that the top body tenon swells faster than the barrel socket, which makes that joint much tighter. It is definitely to the point where I need to separate the head rather than the tenon in order to place in my humidifier. After a time in the humidifier, the body and barrel can be easily separated. Refitting the next day, the tenon is almost too loose, so it isn't a question of removing some thread.

On my corked body tenons, this is not a problem.

Based on that experience, I would prefer that my body tenon was corked, even if threaded tenons are more traditional.

In any case, absolutely do NOT try to force the tenon to separate until it has eased. (But you already know that.)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 4:25 pm 
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Since I can't go anywhere at the moment, I'm not going to do anything right away, but I will keep monitoring the situation. When we get more freedom of movement, I will look into consulting a specialist.


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