Flute Repair Guide

Flute Repair Guide

Repair Guide (A brief guide through the maze of repair terms, and levels of repair)

Regulation and adjustments (setting an instrument to good playing order)
This requires different levels of attention depending on the quality of the instrument. As a general rule, the more expensive the instrument, the more delicate and time consuming the adjustments will be. As well as the work outlined below, joint fittings and head cork are checked and adjusted as necessary.

Realignment of keywork where necessary
Shimming of pads to ensure instrument is airtight
Adjust mechanism with cork/felt/paper/leather as appropriate.


This procedure should be carried out every one to two years, depending on how often the instrument is played and how well it is cared for. Regular servicing will keep an instrument in top playing condition and prolong its life.

In addition to all procedures outlined in Regulation and adjustment (set to good playing order) above, this comprises the following:

  • Strip instrument (without removing pins)
  • Clean and polish keywork, body, head and foot joint
  • Clean rods and pads
  • Check and adjust mechanism and spring tension
  • Re-oil mechanism (this has two functions – the protection of the steel axles against corrosion and wear and the elimination of noisy keywork)
  • Change damaged pads or felts as necessary
  • De-pinning of all pinned sections if deemed necessary

 Complete Overhaul

After a certain time (anything from two to twenty or more years!), the pads and corks and felts will have exceeded their useful life span and an overhaul will be necessary. This procedure will restore the instrument as close to new condition as possible.

In addition to all procedures outlined in a service above, this comprises the following:

  • Strip instrument (including removal of pins)
  • De-greasing and re-oiling of mechanism
  • Removal of excessive mechanism movement
  • Thorough cleaning and polishing
  • Re-padding
  • Re-felting and re-corking
  • Removal of small dents

Other work, which doesn’t normally come under the above headings, is quoted for separately or added to other procedures.  This could include:

  • Heavy tarnish removal
  • Removal of serious dents
  • All accidental damage
  • Fitting of joints (other than normal adjustment)
  • Spring replacement
  • E Rings
  • Structural alterations
  • Call for details about re-plating

Glossary of Terms

Inserting partial paper washers of an appropriate thickness (shims) behind pads to ensure that they seal properly. In top condition, pads will seal the tone holes with minimum effort when the keys are closed.

Regulation of keywork
Ensuring that two or three keys, which must close simultaneously, will seal at exactly the same time. (Some keys are not closed by direct force from the players’ finger but are closed by the action of other keys by way of linking mechanisms).
Tapered pins that secure certain keys to the steel axles (usually found on the right hand, left hand and trill key sections of the main body joint).

This is a further stripping down of the pinned sections of the keywork and is required if; the mechanism is binding, the rods (axles) are bent or if the sections need to be re-oiled.