Thursday, October 10, 2013

Repair or Replace: Pads

We thought it might be interesting to look at a few components of the flute over a series of posts and examine whether they get repaired or replaced when a flute is sent to the repair shop.  Of course, we stopped in to see Powell's Repair Technician, Rachel Baker, to help us begin this series.  We wanted to start with pads, so we asked, "When a flute comes in, do you repair or replace the pads?"

Well, in the case of pads it's an either/or situation.  Pads can be "repaired" or replaced.  What would constitute a pad "repair?"  Shimming!  Rachel says that the type of repair most commonly done with pads is shimming.  Shimming is done to correct leaking pads.  When it comes to replacing pads, there could be a couple of things that would lead to this solution.  Obviously, if a pad is torn, it needs to be replaced.  Also, like anything else, pads age over time.  As they age, the skin on the pad can get brittle, and the pad would need to be replaced.  Brittle skin is more likely to tear, which (as we know) is certainly cause for pad replacement!

When it comes to pads, a "matching set" is very important as well.  Felt pads and Straubinger pads have different compression rates, so it is important to make sure that all the pads are the same type (or rather, "match") on the flute.  You don't want to mix the pads and have a few felt here and there and then a few Straubinger.  Definitely not a good thing.  If a flute comes across Rachel's bench and has "unmatched pads," well, some of the pads would need to be replaced.

So, in the case of pads, they may need to be repaired, or they may need to be replaced.  Visual inspections, play tests, and checks with the feeler gauge can all help determine whether the pad should be "repaired" or replaced.

This pad's edge has been "lifted up" and definitely needed to be replaced.

This flute has matching pads and is good to go!

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