a period of time the oil on woodwind keys will thicken and collect
dust and small amounts of metal worn from keys, rods and screws.
This not only causes the key action to become sluggish but also
contributes to premature wear of parts. For a flute to give long
and trouble-free service all the oiled parts must be cleaned and
my experience every wind instrument should be cleaned thoroughly
every year or so depending on usage, humidity, etc.. The flute
is no exception. Contrary to popular belief in some circles, it
is not possible to do a good job of cleaning and oiling a flute
without completely disassembling it.
will need the following tools, etc. to work on flute keys:
to fit all pivot screws and screw rods
pin driver (can be made by grinding down the shank of an old
drill bit to a blunt point)
block (made by drilling holes of a size to receive screws and
screw rods in a block bf wood-see diagram
oil (preferably in a precision oiler)
bench where disassembled parts will not be disturbed
or cloth to work on (to keep small parts from roiling away and
to provide a scratch-free surface on which to work)
you disassemble each part of the flute place each pivot screw
or screw rod in the screw block in order and lay out each key
on one side of the work bench in the same relative position as
it fits on the flute. Then you won't get confused about what goes
where when it comes time to reassemble the instrument.
the spring hook, release the springs from the catches before attempting
to remove the keys on which you are working. It may be necessary
to partially disassemble a section before it is possible to reach
all the springs in That section.
the keys in the following order:
Right hand section
may find it difficult holding the pinned key steady while holding
the pin driver and striking it accurately with the hammer. If
this is the case it may be helpful to get someone to hold the
key steady on the lead block while you drive the pin out.
must never be interchanged. Always be sure to keep pins separate
and organised in such a way that they always go back in the
on one section of keys at a time. Remove the pins, clean and re-oil,
and reassemble the section before going on to anything else.
drive the pin out from the bottom of the key as the tapered pins
are always inserted from the top. Place the key on the lead block.
Hold the pin driver directly in line with the pin and exactly
centered. Strike the pin driver sharply with the hammer and the
pin will be driven out of the hole into the soft lead. Set the
pin directly in front of you (perhaps on a magnetic strip) so
that it deos not get lost, until you are ready to reassemble the
key section you are working on.
the old oil off the rod with a cloth and clean out the key rod
tube with a pipe cleaner. Put a drop of oil in the end of the
key rod tube and a drop of oil on the end of the rod. Turn the
rod back and forth as you insert it into the tube to spread the
oil. Line up the
pin hole and drive the pin back into its hole, being careful not
to damage the key with the hammer. Wipe off any excess oil as
this will eventually get into the pads causing sticking problems.
you finish with each section of key work, set in back into position
on the side of the work bench. When you are finished cleaning
and oiling all the keywork and wiping off all the pivot screws
you may like to clean the body of the flute. This can be done
by immersing it in warm soapy water using a cloth that will not
scratch the surface. If you use silver polish after cleaning in
water, be sure to clean out all the key post holes with a pipe
cleaner before reassembly.
the key sections in the reverse order to the disassembly. Put
a drop of oil at the end of each key where a pivot screw fits.
If the pivot screw doesn't fit snugly. it may be necessary to
use a drop of fingernail polish on the threads to hold it at the
adjustment necessary to achieve free but not loose key action.