Friday, February 22, 2013

A Fallen Flute

It may be your worst nightmare -- your flute rolls off your lap and falls to the floor, or is knocked off a stand, or...  There are a number of circumstances that may result in your flute dropping to the floor, and it certainly makes every flute player panic!  We had two "fallen flutes" come into the repair shop this week and had a chance to catch up with Repair Tech, Rachel Baker, to find out what could be done.

Rachel showed us the flute that had the most visible damage.  There was one bent rib, one end of a rib that had come unsoldered, and a very loose mechanism tube.  So, how exactly will she she repair the instrument?  Well, there are a couple of steps:

1) For the bent rib, Rachel will put the flute body on a mandrel and hammer out the bend with a small hammer.  She will not hammer directly onto the rib, but rather hold a small piece of wood against the rib and hammer the piece of wood -- which in turn will press against the rib to straighten it out.  The rib is straightened because it is pressed against the hard, solid surface of the mandrel--as opposed to pressing against a hollow tube (the flute alone).  The straightened rib will then be resoldered to the body.

2) For the rib that has come unsoldered, Rachel will solder it back down onto the body of the flute.

3) Once everything is soldered back into place, Rachel will align the posts.  The mechanism tube that is loose has become that way because the posts which it lies between are misaligned from the fall.  Once the posts are properly aligned, the mechanism tube will fit  back tightly in the proper position between the posts.

The bent rib lifting off the body.
Rib that has come unsoldered.
Mechanism tubing is loose and not flush against the post.
Other end of the loose mechanism tubing.


  1. Rachel does fabulous work. The job she did on my #1732 in late 2011 has held up beautifully.

  2. I always tell my students "tell the truth about what happened to your flute. You're not going to get in trouble and it makes it easier for the repair person to fix it." Now I have a great blog post to direct them to so they can see just how cool people are about dropped instruments. Thank you!


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