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 Post subject: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:56 pm 
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Hello all! I got my second 2-part Clare whistle, a nickel model, a little while ago, and fresh from the package, it wobbles when put together. It takes about as much effort to assemble and disassemble as my 2-part brass Clare (which has a rock-solid joint when put together), and as far as I can tell the wobble isn't affecting the whistle's performance at all. It's just distracting when a little wrist movement makes the whistle feel like it's bending while I'm playing it!

I contacted Clare about this to ask if they had any tips for fixing or otherwise dealing with the problem, and they said they didn't. I've been wondering whether filing a bevel into the bottom of the upper joint might make it seat better, or maybe giving the inside of the joint's socket a thin coating of wax might do the trick. I thought about taking the head off and putting the top joint in upside down, but the upper constriction of the socket is tight enough that it looked like it would strip off the nickel plating before the top joint would go in. I take that to indicate that Teflon tape is probably not going to fit, either.

Anyone else ever have this problem? Any suggestions to fix it?


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:54 pm 
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Brainstorming... M&E flutes used to ship with a small piece of toilet bowl seat wax in the days when they offered a no-cork polymer only instrument. It is a slightly gummy wax that has a bit of heft to it. It could do the trick. One toilet bowl wax ring will give you enough material for thousands of applications. HaHa. A bit of scotch tape wound around the exterior of the interior tube might be enough to insure a tighter seal, though it may be too much. Modern Boehm flute players sometimes use a special version of scotch tape when they switch heads on silver flutes when the tolerances are close but not perfect. Plumber's teflon tape has been used in a pinch on wooden flute joints when the cork or threading is getting worn and a bit of build up is necessary until the flute gets the proper attention it deserves. So there is that too.

Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:55 pm 
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Location: Campbell River, BC Canada
Here's what I do when I make a whistle with a similar design to a Clare. You need access to a vise with either wooden or plastic jaw pads. Squeeze the outer part of the joint in the vise until it is slightly distorted. Then rotate it a few times while it is in the vise. Check the fit and repeat, if necessary.

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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:50 pm 
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O'Brien wrote:
Here's what I do when I make a whistle with a similar design to a Clare. You need access to a vise with either wooden or plastic jaw pads. Squeeze the outer part of the joint in the vise until it is slightly distorted. Then rotate it a few times while it is in the vise. Check the fit and repeat, if necessary.


I do something similar. With a pair of pliers slightly squeeze the end of smaller part so it becomes very slighty oval shaped. When inserted into the larger end it will compress to a snug fit.
It only takes a small amount.

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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:32 pm 
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Location: Michigan
Teflon tape? I bought my M&E flute from someone here-- yes, no corks on it-- and he advised one joint was a bit loose and teflon tape worked great. And it does. (I've just never disassembled those two parts-- it fits into the case with them still together-- so don't need to keep replacing the tape every time.)

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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2020 4:18 am 
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If teflon is too much a mix of vaseline and beeswax is probably a good way, it's used on slides of flutes, the vaseline makes it slide, the beeswax stops the wobble and air leaks. A search will probably throw up the proportions to mix and method to do it.

A bit of candlewax will stop the wobble also.

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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2020 6:13 pm 
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Hello again!

Many thanks for all the suggestions! Unfortunately it's still wobbling.

Teflon tape was an obvious first step, but as I suspected it would, it just shredded on the way in. The problem there, I think, is that upper part of the joint is already quite tight: it feels the same as my brass Clare, which as I mentioned has a nice solid fit. So unless there's a way to get the tape into the lower part of the joint -- and keep it there during and after disassembly -- I don't see that that'll work.

I tried dental wax, which I expected to be similar to beeswax and candle wax, but it didn't do anything at all. I know it got into the right part of the joint, since I had a lot of wax pushed into the lower joint's bore (and therefore past the loose lower part of the joint).

One other thing that I tried that hasn't been suggested here (yet) was to take the head off the assembled whistle, hold it upright on an anvil (with a thin sheet of rubber covering the top and bottom of the whistle) and tap it carefully but firmly with a hammer, to try to force the mating edges of the joint together. On the plus side, I didn't damage the whistle at all; on the minus side, I didn't fix the wobble, either.

I'm a bit leery about the idea of squeezing the joint in a vise, especially given that the upper part of the joint feels like a good fit already. And (unless I'm misreading) it looks like O'Brien is suggesting working on the socket part of the joint, and Tommy is suggesting working on the part that goes into the socket. Working on the socket, I'd need to distort just the lower taper of the joint, I think, and I'm concerned that that might warp the upper taper as well. Working on the part that goes into the socket, I worry that I might make the joint not fit into the socket at all (assuming that I'm right about the upper part of the joint being a good fit).

So, any further advice on the vise approach? Or is my understanding of how the Clare joint works (i.e., it's really just the top and bottom of the socket that make contact with the other part) incorrect?

Thanks again!


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 6:30 am 
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Have you tried reversing the ends of the upper section? Tolerances are fairly tight, so it may be enough to make a difference.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 8:22 am 
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Alaskamike wrote:
Have you tried reversing the ends of the upper section? Tolerances are fairly tight, so it may be enough to make a difference.

This suggests that you have been able to remove the mouthpiece. I've tried (for tuning purposes) but have not been successful. If you did remove it, what technique did you use?

Best wishes.

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 9:34 pm 
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Alaskamike wrote:
Have you tried reversing the ends of the upper section? Tolerances are fairly tight, so it may be enough to make a difference.


I thought of that. However, the joint part of the upper section isn't plated, unlike the mouthpiece part. I couldn't get the upper section to fit into the joint, although I didn't try very hard, as I didn't want to damage it. Then again, if I did damage it and it turned out not to work anyway, the damage would be hidden by the mouthpiece. I might give it a more aggressive try if nothing else works.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 9:52 pm 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
Alaskamike wrote:
Have you tried reversing the ends of the upper section? Tolerances are fairly tight, so it may be enough to make a difference.

This suggests that you have been able to remove the mouthpiece. I've tried (for tuning purposes) but have not been successful. If you did remove it, what technique did you use?


Clare mouthpieces aren't glued on, so it's just friction holding them in place. So I just grabbed and pulled while twisting. The mouthpiece didn't come off very easily, but it did come off.

Actually, the colour of the mouthpiece makes a difference. I ordered an extra mouthpiece along with my nickel whistle, with the intention of muting it to make a practice head, and I asked for it to be in black. I was told that their black heads are much tighter than their red and green heads, and since I now have all three colours, I can confirm that this is true. In fact I couldn't put the black head on either whistle at all until I'd sanded the bore out a bit.

All of which is to say that if your Clare has a black head, it won't come off easily. Hot water will help, though, as the plastic expands more than the metal (this sounds wrong to me, but it's true). The red and green heads are much easier, and shouldn't need any tricks.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 7:21 am 
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Quote:
Actually, the colour of the mouthpiece makes a difference.


My whistle has a green mouthpiece, and it has a looser fit than any of my other whistles.


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2020 8:33 am 
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And I, unfortunately, got a black top and that sucker won't move. Tried just twisting, tried hot water, tried several incantations, tried several explicatives, and it still won't move.

Maybe I can get everyone to tune to me...

Best wishes.

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2020 2:59 pm 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
And I, unfortunately, got a black top and that sucker won't move. Tried just twisting, tried hot water, tried several incantations, tried several explicatives, and it still won't move.

Hmm... you could take the temperature-difference thing further. Put the whistle in the freezer for 5-10 minutes (assembled so that you've got more cold mass), *then* put the head in really hot (but still not boiling) water. (Of course you'll want to use a towel around the cold metal of the tube, and if the water is too hot or you keep the head dunked too long, you can warp the head enough to damage its ability to make sound, so be careful!) I *think* this method has helped me with tight heads, although it's also possible that I'd just been yanking and twisting at them long enough.

Another approach, which I believe is Jerry Freeman's preferred method, is to slide just a bit of the top joint of the whistle into a larger tube (conveniently, a C whistle is ideally sized for this), hold the larger tube by the end with the whistle in it, and then "throw" the larger tube with a quick snap of the wrist, like you're shaking down a mercury thermometer. The D whistle will slide into the larger tube and the head will hit the end of the tube with enough force that, in theory, you should be able to dislodge it.

That said, you're at a massive disadvantage with the Clare -- literally, in that there's less mass to the top joint, and it's the force (and therefore the mass) of the movement of the D whistle's brass tube that determines the force that'll pop the head off. And I never got this method to work with my (new) Gen D, which has a full-length tube (and therefore over twice as much mass). Still, there might be some way to rig this sort of thing up, to get a greater velocity for the top joint. That wouldn't be hard if you have access to a big enough centrifuge... not that you heard such an idea from me, of course....


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 Post subject: Re: Wobbly 2-Part Clare
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:41 am 
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So for the benefit of anyone else with a wobbly Clare: I finally got mine fixed!! It's got a rock-solid joint now, possibly even firmer than my brass Clare.

Here's how it happened: I was visiting my local instrument repair shop for other business, and brought along my Clares to ask if the guy there had any advice. (I brought both so that he could see could see rhe difference between the one that worked and the one that wobbled.) He'd never seen a Clare before, and was quite tickled with the 2-part idea. And then he said, "just a minute", took the wobbly Clare to the back room, and a minute later came back, with the joint completely fixed. He didn't even charge to do it.

He showed me the tool he used: a "spreader", which has a longish cylinder split into four wedges, which can be forced apart. I imagine it needs to be used with great care, since the open end of the tube still needs to fit into the socket, and so you don't want to overexpand it. But this guy's good, and as mentioned, the whistle's joint is just about perfect now.

I didn't ask him what the spreader is normally used for, but I'd expect it's standard issue for brass instrument repair. So, for anyone else with a wobbly Clare: bring it to someone who does good brass instrument repair, and enjoy the results!

Incidentally, the spreader can also be used at the mouthpiece end, in case you've got a whistle with a head that slides off too easily.

Cheers to all, and hope you're all safe and healthy!


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