Last week, we stopped by the Conservatory and Signature stringing department and watched Stefania Iamandei building a pinless mechanism for a Conservatory flute. This week, we had the chance to catch up with Ranjana Ranjana as she was building a pinned mechanism for a Signature flute.
The pinned mechanism allows for different movement of multiple keys on one steel by using pins to hold keys in the proper position on the mechanism. The pins run all the way through the key, mechanism tubing, and inner steel and then exit through the mechanism tubing on the opposite side of the point of entry. This allows everything to stay in place. The pins are very small, and you may not even notice them! In the photos below, they are a little easier to see because many of them have not yet been cut to their final length -- and for the ones that are cut to length, we tried to zoom in with the camera!
To build the mechanism, Ranjana pins certain keys and solders others. She also solders the spring catches so that the finishers can install springs. Just as we saw with the Conservatory, every part of the mechanism must fit and function properly, with the keys opening to the proper heights. In the photo below, we see several sections of the mechanism: left hand section, right hand section, trill keys, c key, G# key, and thumb keys. We've also circled one of the spring catches.
Ranjana showed us how the left and right hand sections fit together:
Right and left hand sections from a different angle:
The pins and pin holes can be very difficult to see, so we pointed them out in the photo below. The yellow arrow points to a pin that is in place and cut to length. The blue arrow shows a pin that is in place but not yet cut to length , and the green arrow points to a hole for the next pin.
Once everything fits and functions properly, Ranjana has some aesthetic elements to create, like the beveled edges of the key tails:
If you have a Signature flute, take a look and see if you can find the pins. It's difficult to capture them all in one shot, but in the photo below, you will see a finished Signature with red circles around the pins. The one exception to the circles is an arrow, which points to a pin that is not visible because it is on the key below the Bb shake.