Thursday, November 1, 2012


We were in the flute finishing area, and the topic of "spuds" came up.  Although it may seem as if we were talking about potatoes, we were actually talking about a part of the key cup.  The "pad spud" is the part of the key cup where you secure the screw that holds the pad -- because obviously, the screw has to go into something!  This spud is a very small piece of metal as you can see from the photos below.  The spud can come loose after a while, especially on a key cup with an older solder joint.  There's actually quite a bit of tension on the spud from the screw and pad pulling against it when the flute is assembled.  If the spud comes unsoldered, the pad could then fall out.

When you send your flute to Powell for an overhaul, all pad spuds are resoldered as a precaution.  It's not good to wait until the spud is loose to have it resoldered.  With all the work that goes into an overhaul, it seems logical to make sure that these spuds are solidly in place as well.

Currently, pad spuds are part of the key cup with Powell flutes.  This started in the early 2000s -- toward the end of the 2100 series.  Powells with serial numbers 11,000 and above will have pad spuds that are part of the cup.  Our repair technician reminded us that this is a good thing because it is "one less thing to worry about!"  However, if your flute has separate spuds, and they come loose -- do not worry.  Send your flute in, and our repair technician will take apart the key and resolder the old spud (if you still have it) or replace it with a new one.  As she says, "Don't worry -- it's definitely not the end of the world!"  We were happy to hear that!

Pad spud (upside down).
Blue arrows point to pad spuds soldered in place in key cups.
New key cup with built-in pad spud

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