Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pinning Keys

You may have read about the pinless mechanism on Powell Custom and Conservatory flutes.  It is a type of mechanism that uses small "bridges" to allow the keys to move independently, as opposed to a pinned mechanism, which uses pins that run through the key, tubing, and steel to allow for this independent motion.  We have a series of posts on the pinless mechanism that you can visit to read more.  Click the numbered sections the right to follow the link to those posts: Part I, Part II, Part III.

However, all flutes (pinned or pinless) will have pinned trill keys.  We caught up with flute finisher Lindsey McChord as she was pinning the trill keys on a Conservatory -- as you will see in the photos below.

The trill key pin is very small and can be difficult to see, so we circled it in red in the photo below.
From the outside of the key, you can see a very small hole at the end of the key arm where it attaches to the mechanism tubing.
The pin will go through the outside of the key through the inner steel (hole in steel circled below in red) and back out of the mechanism tubing.
Much like making springs, Lindsey cuts a pin that is just a bit longer than she needs and places it through to mark where it should be cut.
Pin is all the way through now.
 She uses a blue Sharpie to mark the correct length.
 Cuts the pin
 Oils the mechanism tubing
Runs the steel through the tubing
Attaches the keys and positions the pin in place.
She then pushes the pin just a bit forward.
The pin needs to go in further -- but this cannot be done by hand alone.
So, Lindsey uses a small device that will help hold it and push the pin through.
She puts a piece of velvet under the key to protect it and positions the key in place.
Then, she uses a small mallet to very gently tap the pin into place -- and then it is done!
In the photo below, you can see a pinned trill key in place on a 14k Custom.

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