With the help of flute finisher and headjoint cutter Lindsey
McChord, we’ve been learning a great deal about the art of cutting flute and
piccolo headjoints. After speaking with
her about cutting metal flute headjoints, wooden flute headjoints, and Profiled
piccolo headjoints, we started wondering -- what about different metals? Is the process different for cutting
headjoints made from different metals?
The answer is – yes, there are differences. The overall process is essentially the same,
but the technique differs. In fact,
Lindsey told us that she has a different technique for each metal – including
the different karats of gold (9k, 10k, 14k, and 19.5k). Of course, there are also platinum and
Aurumite (9k and 14k) headjoints to be cut!
The main factor amongst the metals is hardness. Silver is the softest, gold is harder, and
platinum is the hardest. With
each increase in karats gold, the hardness increases as well.
In regard to metal qualities, silver is the easiest to work
with from what Lindsey shared. She said
when cutting silver headjoints, the pieces come off evenly and smoothly in
strips – almost like pieces of curling ribbon.
Gold, however, is much harder, and the pieces come off in chunks. Because it is so much harder, Lindsey must
exert more pressure on the gold with her tools.
Gold headjoints also require more sanding and are so hard that they can
actually tear sandpaper in the process! That being said, Lindsey told us that her
sanding technique definitely varies from karat to karat in the gold
But what about Aurumite?
It is either gold on the outside and silver on the inside, or silver on
the outside and gold on the inside.
Well, the riser is where most of the cutting takes place. So, if the riser is silver, it would be just
like working with a silver headjoint. If
the riser is gold, it would be like working with gold. With the Aurumite 9k, the riser is
silver. With Aurumite 14k and Ruby
Aurumite, the riser is 14k gold.
It was great speaking with Lindsey to find out more about
this cutting metal headjoints. We knew
the processes for wood and metal were different, but it truly was eye-opening
to find out just how specialized the techniques are even within the metal
|Silver shavings definitely look like curling ribbon!|
|You can see silver scrapings next to the headjoint Lindsey is cutting here.|
|Close-up on shavings -- red circles around the chunks of gold.|
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