(The Folk Flute)
|Casey's Flute Care Instructions|
Cases and Storing
I supply an appropriate case in which to store your flute. The flute should NEVER be stored in direct sunlight or near a heat source, and should be protected from extreme dryness (low humidity environments). Leaving a flute in a car on a hot, sunny day will result in damage! The use of an instrument humidifier (such as a Damp-It) is highly recommended. Generally, the sections should be stored separately. When you are done playing the instrument, disassemble and shake or gently swab out any standing moisture - but do not dry out the flute excessively! The point is to retard the drying rate, while leaving no standing water in the instrument.
Breaking in a New or Old Wooden Flute
When new, or when an antique instrument is to be played upon for the first time in recent years, it should be played only a few minutes at a time up to a cumulative amount of an hour a day. Also, an antique instrument will probably require careful oiling to precondition the instrument for use - the wood is usually quite brittle if the instrument hasn't been played on for years. After a month, the instrument can be played gradually more. The wood needs to get use to the cycle of wetting and drying. The flute should be oiled every 5 to 10 hours of playing time with Bore Oil, as described below. Both the insides and outside of the flute should be oiled.
Warming up a Cold Flute
If your flute is cold to the touch, such as from transporting it outside in a Midwest winter, allow the flute to warm up to room temperature for a few moments by itself before playing, or sudden cracking may result! You may also use some of your body heat to warm the flute by placing it near your body - but avoid placing it near a heater or heating duct! Occasionally blow some warm air through it while you enjoy a good pint, the music being played or the companionship of friends!
Cracks, unfortunately, are common with wooden wind instruments - but are usually not fatal to the playability, structure and cosmetics of the instrument. The woods that are commonly selected for tone have the drawback of being naturally brittle and therefore prone to checking. However, careful oiling of the instrument renders the wood more supple - wood is like leather. When it gets wet and dry, it becomes brittle - but keep it oiled, and it can remain flexible forever. Most cracks are due to not breaking-in the instrument properly, lack of oiling, and/or not paying attention to the tightness of the thread wrapped joints. Fortunately, cracks can be easily repaired by sealing them with a low viscosity cyanoacrylate adhesive.
After further review of oils and how people use them on their flutes, I am recommending regular commercial bore oil. I use fresh raw linseed in the workshop for the initial oiling, with the emphasis on "fresh". Others use almond oil with a little vitamin E added. I recommend this less as these oils still have a propensity for going rancid, even with the treatment. Never use a scented oil on a Casey Burns Flute as this voids your warranty. I cannot service instruments that are perfumed with fragrances as I am allergic or sensitive to many of them! Things like lavender, tea tree, musk, patchouli, etc.NEVER use the regular paint store variety of linseed oil - it's poisonous as well as inappropriate - it has driers which accelerate its polymerization, and can burn your house down if the rags used aren't burned immediately (A single paper towel soaked with this will self ignite within a few minutes!). Finally, avoid oil on the keys or their pads or you will end up with sticky keys. Brown paper can be used to soak up any oil that gets on these. You can also use some unscented talc to make the pads less sticky. Ask your pharmacists for some.
The Socket -Tenon Joint
I like to wrap the tenons with a good stout Linen or synthetic thread, such as #00 Reedmaking Thread (available from Forrests Music in Berkeley), and lubricate the thread with Red Ski Wax. This substance is the best thread grease that I have tried. Beeswax, melted together with some Vaseline, can also make a good thread tenon lubricant. Never replace threaded wrappings with cork or wrap them with teflon tape! This will certainly lead to cracked sockets and on my flutes results in a voided warranty. The use of cork wrapping stems mostly from ignorance and laziness! T his material is appropriate on a metal reinforced instrument (both inside and outside of both parts should be metal lined) only. Check periodically for tightness at the joints. If the joint gets too tight, pull it apart and unwrap a few turns of the thread. If the joints are too loose, they may be rewrapped, or a few turns of thread added - waxed dental floss works well for this purpose.
Servicing your Instrument
If you have one of my flutes, please send it to me for servicing a few years or so after purchase. I will rewrap the tenons, check the oiling (and chastise you for not oiling), and generally make sure that you are maintaining it correctly. I will also check the tuning and repolish the bore as well. Please send it insured and enclose return postage.