Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spotlight on Conservatory Stringing - Steels and Posts

We stopped by the Conservatory stringing area recently and met with Elzbieta ("Ella") Lenarczyk as she was fitting steels on the footjoint of a Conservatory Aurumite flute.  When we followed the 14k white gold Custom through production a few months ago, we saw the very same steel-fitting procedure being done by Dennis Williams.  If you didn't have a chance to see the video of Dennis, click here to watch the clip.

So, whether it is a Signature, Conservatory, or Custom, the steel-fitting process is the same -- and a very critical step to making sure the mechanism will perform properly  Ella must cut the steels to length, shape the ends, and make sure they run smoothly (and straight) through the posts.  In addition to reaming the posts so that the steels go through easily, Ella must also "face" the posts. You may have heard of facing tone holes, which makes them smooth, flat, and level so that the key pads will have a level surface to meet when keys are closed.  Ella faces the posts so that they will all have nice, smooth edges for the steel to run through.  She uses a small device that spins against the side of the post to create the facing.  When it comes to the end posts, they must be faced so that the end of the steel fits perfectly.  The steel end of the steel is shaped to conform to the shape of the end post, and the end post is faced so that everything is nice and smooth -- with no gaps.  Take a look at the photos below, and you will see an overview of the post facing process...

Reaming the posts
Red circle around end post and small facing device on steel.
Facing the next post. 
Removing steel to reposition facing device.
Repositioning to begin facing the left side of the second post.
The tool in Ella's right hand is used to remove the device from the steel. 
Grabbing device with tool to remove it.
Posts have all been faced.
Steel is in place and flush with the faced end post!

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