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STEPHEN BUTLER
Specialist Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone Repairer.

 

Clarinet Care

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When assembling the instrument try to not grip the mechanism tightly as this will cause the padding to go out of adjustment as well as bend the keywork. There are occasions when the keywork has to be gripped but there is a right and wrong way of doing this. Here are some pictures to help you.

 
How not to assemble a Clarinet
  The correct way to assemble a Clarinet

 

Clarinets should always be thoroughly dried out after playing as they are prone to cracks and joint swelling. Also skin pads will rot if the instrument is left damp. The bore of the instrument should be coated very sparingly with almond oil, the best way to apply this is to put a few drops on your pull through.

If the clarinet is assembled in the way shown in the first image; the C key will be bent down causing the adjustment between B-C to be out of regulation. Also the long Bb linkages will bend because of the left hand ring key having not been depressed. If the clarinet is assembled in the way shown in the second image; the B-C key cups are held down allowing enough grip to assemble the instrument without bending the C key. If the left hand ring key is held down as shown; the two linkages can move across each other as they are in a different plane.

The safest place for the clarinet is in its case. When a clarinet falls over the weakest part breaks; usually the tenons. With a clean break the tenon can be replace but occasionally the damage can be much worse requiring a completely new joint.

This Clarinet required a new top joint

 

Below is an example of what can happen if you accidentally sit on your clarinet. The clarinet in question is a Boosey & Hawkes 926. This damage can be repaired by replacing the tenon.

 

 
The broken tenon is still lodged inside the socket   Part of the G# tone hole has snapped off with the tenon. The tone hole will need to be re-bushed.

 

   
A new tenon has been made on the lathe   A recess has been cut into the bore to take the new tenon   Repaired

 

 

Flute Care

 

When assembling your flute and piccolo try to not grip the mechanism tightly as this will cause the padding to go out of adjustment as well as bend the keywork. You have to be particularly careful with piccolos that have been cork padded because heavy handling will split the edges of cork pads. Here are two pictures to help you.

 

 
How not to assemble a Flute
 
The correct way to assemble a Flute

 

Below is an example of the sort of damage that can happen to a flute.This is a rare Rudall Carte Alto flute that ended being taken for a joy ride by thieves in the boot of a stolen car. Then once discovered the thieves used the flute as a hammer to further damage the car.

 

 
Badly damaged Alto Flute
 
Finally repaired

 

 

 


Stephen Butler specialist woodwind repairer for Flute repairs, Clarinet repairs, Saxophone repairs,

located in Bromley Kent, London suburb, South East England.