Thursday, April 2, 2015

The "Stand In"

We stopped by the finishing department this week and saw something particularly interesting at flute finisher Matt Keller's bench.  It looked like a metal flute body with extra ribs going in odd directions. It was also on a flute peg right next to a grenadilla Custom flute that Matt was finishing, so we had to had ask, "What's this?"

Well, it turns out that this ribbed metal "body" is actually a "stand in" to polish the ribs that go on the grenadilla flute.  Matt needed to polish the ribs as part of the finishing process, but he could not polish them on the wooden body.  Definitely not.  If you think about it, metal flutes have ribs that are soldered onto the body. Since the body is also metal, the body and ribs are polished together on a wheel that is spinning very, very quickly.  Although the image below is a photo and not a video, it helps in visualizing the polishing process for metal flutes:

With the wheel spinning so quickly, it's certainly not a good idea to have the wooden body anywhere close...  Also, the ribs are screwed on to the body of the grenadilla flute, so they can be screwed onto the metal "stand in" body, polished, unscrewed, and then screwed onto the wooden body.  Matt and our Repair Technician, Rachel Baker, tell us that once the ribs are screwed onto a grenadilla flute or piccolo, they have to stay!  Why?  Well, taking them on and off again and again can really weaken the wood and lead to more problems.

Matt told us that all of the ribs for the grenadilla body and footjoint are all on the "stand in."  So, the "stand in" might look a bit odd, but it truly is helpful for polishing the ribs that go on a grenadilla flute!

Close-up of the wooden flute body (which is upside down),
footjoint, and the "stand in."

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