We stopped by flute finisher Lindsey McChord's bench this week and found her working with French bushings and key pad washers -- although they weren't in the key cups yet. As you'll recall, French bushings help hold a French key pad in place. For closed keys, a washer with a screw on top holds the pad in place. We wrote a about bushings and washers in a previous post on our repair blog. You can click here to read that earlier post.
So, if Lindsey hadn't gotten to the pad installation yet, what was she working on? Well, before the pad installation, Lindsey prepares the bushings and washers. By "preparing" them, she smooths the outside edge of each metal bushing and washer. This step is critical, because if a bushing or washer is installed and does not have a completely smooth edge, it can snag and rip pads. In the case of washers in particular, Lindsey told us that often times when you unscrew the pad screw (just above the washer), the motion of turning the screw to loosen it might cause the washer to turn as well. If the washer does not have a smooth edge and then turns as the screw is loosened, the washer's edge might rip the pad.
With metal bushings and washers, Lindsey does a couple of things to smooth the edge. She uses a mill file initially and lightly files all the way around. She then takes a polishing compound and polishes the edge as well. The polishing step helps provide an aesthetically-pleasing finished bushing or washer -- and it also serves as a final step to ensure that the edge is perfectly smooth! Lindsey also ads a bit of melted wax to the inside of the bushing so that it will go smoothly on to the chimney of the key cup once the pad is in place. With any rough edges smoothed away, there should be no snags in the next steps of padding the keys!
|Using file to smooth edge of washer. Polishing compound block to the right of Lindsey's right arm.
|Holding a smoothed and polished French bushing.
|French bushing in key cup on the left, washer and screw in key cup on right.