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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 6:09 pm 
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Location: Sonoma County, CA USA
I've just acquired a used keyless David O'Brien flute, which I like a lot so far, but still getting familiar with it. It's got more wear than I'd expect from a flute made just four years ago (2016), but I suppose the previous owner played it out at sessions quite a bit. (It's got a nick on the ring at the bottom of the foot and some scrapes on the inside of the top tenon)

I decided to pull the cork out to get a good look at the condition of the head lining and found the cork to be really discolored on the sides and on the end that faces the tuning slide (pics below). I'm wondering if that's normal? The cork feels solid so maybe it's okay.

The other thing I noticed is that there are spots on the metal (not sure if it's stainless steel or what the material is) of the lining in the head. This is the first flute I've had with a lined head and tuning slide, so I'm new to all this. Would it be normal for water spots to develop on the lining and/or is there potential for corrosion if it hasn't been swabbed out properly after playing? I guess I expected to see a shiny metal finish in the head lining especially for a flute not so old. And is there a good method for polishing the lining, if that's done?

The O'Brien website is no longer active and I've sent emails to all the addresses I could find for D. O'Brien (including the one here on C&F) or else I'd first of all ask the maker about these issues. I'm intending on taking the flute to a (reputable) woodwind shop in San Francisco for a checkup soon, but was wondering what you experienced players/owners think. TIA

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 6:23 pm 
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Not the same as the David O'Brien, whistle maker in Canada, whose site IS active?

http://www.obrienwhistles.com/

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 7:13 pm 
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Not the same, Kevin. This David O'Brien is in Barefield, Co Clare. The old website was http://www.traditionalirishflutes.com/index.htm

I did find a phone number on another flutemaker's directory for him, so I've thought about giving a call after the new year.

This is the only mention of O'Brien flutes I could dig up in the archives.
https://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=64820&hilit=O%27Brien


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 6:03 pm 
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I'm not familar with his flutes, but you definitely have a moldy cork there if I am interpreting that white stuff correctly. I don't know if the dark color is a problem. If it isn't misshapen on the face you should be able to put it in after you clean it gently. I'm not sure what I'd recommend. Others can chime in here.

I've never had a moldy cork. You want to use something that leaves no residue you can"t stand to breathe so bleach or lysol would not be my first choice. I have heard a baking soda solution with water will kill mold. So some research on that might be good. But you can't rub it hard or it could lose its shape. Either the previous owner really liked to put the flute away wet or there is something about that cork. It appears to my eye to be a composite cork made from bits of crushed cork. If that is the case there could be something in the glue, ??? Either way clean out the flute well. If the metal is pitted I have no advice there, but make sure you've swabbed out any mold that might be growing.

Good luck and Enjoy!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 5:53 pm 
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@busterbill: Yes, it looks pretty bad. I just pulled out the cork in the 20 year old Burns flute I have for comparison, and it looks practically brand new or at least in excellent condition, compared to this one. So i don't know what to think. When I was trying out the O'Brien flute, I asked the previous owner about the cork position, and he said he hadn't even checked it since he bought it four years ago. In the meantime, a fellow C&F member was kind enough to forward me David O'Brien's current email address, so I'm waiting to hear back from the maker. In any case, I think I'll take the flute to the woodwind shop in SF for an overall inspection. I hope I didn't make a mistake buying this flute, but I'm hoping for the best, even if some repairs/reconditioning are necessary.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 6:46 am 
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I guess if someone never dries out the flute something like this might happen even in a short time.


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