Saturday, June 6, 2015

Replacing Headjoint Corks

We stopped in to the headjoint room as flute finisher and headjoint cutter, Lindsey McChord, was installing a new cork in a piccolo headjoint.  She showed us how to install it and how to remove it, which was pretty interesting -- especially in contrast with the flute headjoint.  We say this because after we watched Lindsey remove the piccolo headjoint cork, we were anxious to see how it compares with the removal process for a flute headjoint cork.  In both cases, Lindsey had a special tool to remove the cork.  However, she told us that when you remove the cork from a piccolo headjoint, it is removed in the opposite direction than it would be with a flute headjoint.  In other words, when you remove the piccolo headjoint cork, the cork is pushed up toward the crown and out through the top of the headjoint. This is because of the metal receiver at the bottom of the headjoint (this receiver attaches the headjoint to the body tenon). As you can probably imagine, the cork assembly would not be able to fit through the hole in the middle of the receiver (see photo below):

However, when it comes to flute headjoints, the cork is removed by pushing it down through the bottom of the headjoint.  The flute headjoint tapers as it goes up toward the crown, so it's not possible to push the headjoint cork up through the top without severely damaging the headjoint -- which you do not want to do! Take a look a the photos below to see the process of removing the corks.

Lindsey uses a special tool to remove the cork.  She starts by placing it in the headjoint, starting from the bottom

This tool is also used to check the positioning of the cork, just like a swabstick.  There is a line in the tool that will be exactly in the middle of the embouchure hole when the cork is positioned properly.

Lindsey pushes the headjoint downward toward the bottom of the tool.

And the cork pops up through the top!

A different tool is used for the flute headjoint cork. 

Lindsey removed the crown and inserts the tool in through the top of the headjoint.

With the headjoint upside down, Lindsey pushes it down toward the ring on the tool.

The flute headjoint cork is out -- having come through the bottom of the headjoint.

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