Saturday, July 26, 2014

Building the White Gold Flute - Part 7

In our last post, we followed the white gold white flute into the polishing room, where we had a chance to see Alex and Galina. Galina was the finisher for this flute, so after the polishing was done, we spent time with her at her bench.  In the video below, you will see one of many steps in the finishing process -- hand shaping corks.

The finisher plays an important part in the process of bringing the flute to its finished, playable stage. We've written a two-part overview of their role in previous posts which you can read by clicking here for part 1 and here for part 2.  We've also written about many other parts of the finisher's role, including leveling keys and tone holes, undercutting tone holes, fitting keys, installing springs, and fitting the headjoint and footjoint.  One of the central parts to finishing the mechanism is padding and shimming, which you will see in the video below.

The photo below shows the flute as it looked after Galina finished it.  You'll notice that the blue protective tape is still on the keys. This is because the flute was on its way to testers for play-ins and play testing, and the tape protects the keys from any cosmetic damage during those processes.  If the testers find that the flute needs additional adjustments, it goes back to the finisher for the adjustments to be made.

Finally, a flute would certainly not be playable without a headjoint, so we met with JoJo as she brazed the riser and lip plate onto the headjoint and cut the headjoint to length, as you will see in the video below.  After this, the headjoint is sent to a "headjoint cutter," who is the person who hand cuts the headjoint to the shape and specs of the headjoint style (Signature, Soloist, Philharmonic, or Venti).

Music Credit:
Powell Artist Joshua Smith
Robert Schumann  - 3 Romances, Op.94: Nicht schnell 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Building the White Gold Flute - Part 6

Last week, we spent time in the stringing department with John Colvin as he fitted the keys and began building the mechanism. This particular flute has engraved keys which went to our engraver, Weiling Zhou, after John soldered the key cups to the key arms.  After the keys were engraved, they were sent back to John to be fitted to the mechanism.  In the video below, you will see a compilation of photos of the engraved keys and John finishing the mechanism.

Once the keys and mechanism are built and fitted to the body, the mechanism components (keys, mechanism tubing) are sent to the polishing room.  The body and foot joint are polished at this time as well.  The keys go through a pre-polishing step followed by two additional polishing steps.  Between each step, the keys are cleaned in the ultrasonic cleaner.  In the photo compilation below, you will see the the polishing process with Alex polishing the body and footjoint, and Galina Lavrishina polishing the keys. Galina is also the finisher for this flute, so we will take a closer look at the finishing process with her next week...

Music Credits:
Video Clip 1: Powell Artist Paul Edmund-Davies
J.S. Bach  - Sonata In A maj, BWV 1032: III.Allegro

Video Clip 2: Powell Artist Aldo Baërten with Laurine Phélut
J.S. Bach - Sonata, BWV 1031 (Arr. Michael Langer): III. Allegro

Friday, July 11, 2014

Building the White Gold Flute - Part 5

This week, we follow the white gold flute into the Custom flute stringing department, where stringer John Colvin works on building the mechanism.  Building the complete mechanism takes quite a bit of time, but we had a chance to capture a bit of the key making process.  For each key, John must take the individual arm and the individual cup, prepare them for soldering, solder them, and then fit the finished key to the mechanism.  In the video below, you will see John preparing a French (open hole) cup and arm. 

After everything is prepped, it's ready to solder:

For the cups with pointed arms, we have a few photos below of the soldering process.  The actual arm and cup are separate (just as in the videos above), so they must be prepped and soldered as well.
Demonstrating how the arm fits onto the cup.
Using a fixture to hold the cup and arm in place for soldering.
Soldering the cup and arm.
Arm and cup are soldered.