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- Subject: Re: Flute
- From: Robert Bigio <Robert@bigio.demon.co.uk>
- Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 00:06:57 +0100 (MET)
- Message-ID: <9D4671462@nrm.se>
Dana S Emery <email@example.com> writes,
> I would make a reproduction head joint in more suitable material for
> play, keeping the ivory for display. Ivory is great for looks, but
> wasnt really very suitable for woodwinds, especially for something as
> wet as a flutes head joint.
> When used to "reinforce" joints it invariably both cracks and
> damages the joint by crushing the underlying wood, often to the point
> of distorting the bore. If used for the main body it invariably
> cracks. If it also goes oval the bore will need recutting before the
> instrument will function as intended (not recomended).
Ivory is no less suitable for making wind instruments than any wood and is
probably much more suitable than most. I have compared a number of ivory
Stanesby flutes and found remarkable consistency in their current dimensions,
two and a half centuries after they were made. By contrast a boxwood flute by
the same maker, presumably made to the same dimensions, has warped and gone
oval to the extent that it is unplayable and impossible to measure.
If I understand correctly the flute in question has a headjoint lined in nickel-
silver. My experience and that of any number of other instrument makers and
repairers is that the lining causes the problem: the wood or ivory shrinks
while the lining does not, and the joint splits. Indeed it is quite common to
find a flute with a lined headjoint that has split. If the flute has a lined
tuning slide I would go so far as to say that it is rare to find the slide
As to the supposed crushing and distorting effect of ivory ferrules I would
say that having measured scores of instruments I have seen no evidence of this.
It may be possible to argue that ivory ferrules do not prevent a joint from
splitting (although one might then ask why virtually every maker used them).
However, I cannot imagine how an ivory ferrule typically a couple of
millimetres thick could exert sufficient force upon a wooden tube 5 millimetres
thick as to cause it to distort or crack.
Robert Bigio Robert@bigio.demon.co.uk
1, Doveridge Gardens Telephone (0181) 882-2627
London N13 5BJ Fax (0181) 882-2728
England (International +44 181...)