How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

Hi, I am going to oil my flute tommorow and I was wonder ing how to take the stopper off of my flute (Hammy Hamilton). I’ve looked around and I cant find any simple instructions. Help?

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Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

Is your headjoint lined?
If it is I wouldn’t bother. If not, mark the position on a wooden dowel with a pen or pencil .Use said dowel to push it out. Then after oiling push it back on with the dowel so that it is returned to its original position

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Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

I think there is some useful information on this page;
http://www.hamiltonflutes.com/Head_Maintenance.html

I cannot view the video at this time (don’t have the quicktime plugin) I think he does show something about positioning the cork, which dunnp explained.

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Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

dunnp said it right, that you must return the cork to its original position, at best. The position of the head joint cork controls so much of the tuning of a flute. This matter is nothing to be messed around with. Instead, I suggest that you leave the cork right where it is, not at all moving it, and just oil the flute anyway. That is by far the easiest way to go about what you are trying to do.

Otherwise, you could be in for a flute tuning experience such as you might not now believe.

Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

Leave the head cork alone. Absolutely no reason to take it out to oil the flute and I have never heard of anyone doing that. Never have seen it recommended, either.

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Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

@Ailin: “Leave the head cork alone. Absolutely no reason to take it out to oil the flute and I have never heard of anyone doing that. Never have seen it recommended, either.”

My flute maker recommends it – Windward flutes, Forbes and Yola Christie. Here’s what they say on the flute maintenance page on their web site:
http://www.windwardflutes.com/flutecare.html

“Swab and oil the head-joint bore. Pull out the end-cap assembly, swab out the moisture in the head-joint, and oil the headjoint bore regularly, after all, it receives the most moisture! Grease cork lightly if needed and replace it. CHECK THE CORK PLACEMENT at 19mm from the middle of the embouchure as marked on cork stick. See positioning the cork.”

The flute comes with a blackwood stick with a white mark that shows the correct cork placement. You shove that into the headjoint and rotate the cap, pulling back the cork until the white line is in the middle of the embouchure hole. So it’s dead easy to get the cork back in the right position.

I’ve done this (removing the cork) every time I’ve oiled the flute, which at this point is about 3 times a year. Adding a little cork grease each time, and swabbing out any excess. I think the idea is to make sure the cork *can* move easily if need to make an adjustment, and it doesn’t dry out and stick to the headjoint barrel.

Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

If anyone has the video plugin to view Hammy Hamilton’s DVD section on “Head Maintenance” he has it right there about measuring/setting the cork. I posted the link at the start of this thread.

I think it’s QuickTime. I just don’t have his video plugin installed.

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Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

Well, we could say that the placement of the face of the head joint cork could be so many millimeters or so much of a fraction of an inch away from the center (centre) of the embouchure hole, but that really is nonsense. The position of the face of the head joint cork plays a critical role in the overall tuning of a flute.

Yep, the correct positioning of the face of the head joint cork is where your mastery of flute tuning begins.

Why? Because I know from experience and I am not lying or misleading you.

Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

Conical Bore - Thanks for the info; it’s a first for me. I still see no reason to remove the cork, but I suppose it doesn’t hurt, if you are careful. I don’t believe it is a common practice, though.

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Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

My flute has an unlined head. I always take the cork out when I oil it. But then - I like playing around with the cork position…. 🙂

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Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

Flute players should know how to adjust their corks. No need to oil a lined head but unlined you can, but cork can move if it dries out or has been dropped. No need to be afraid of it. Every old flute I’ve done up has needed some adjustment or a new cork.
The thing is you can easily mark its current position with the dowel before you move it two ways both ends of the cork. One mark the far end of the cork in the head at the end of the headjoint by putting in the dowel and making a mark where it exits and two mark the centre of the Embouchure with the dowel against the face.
A player who has developed may want to experiment with cork position. Also one should never be afraid of mucking about unless a true beginner

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Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

“No need to be afraid of it. Every old flute I’ve done up has needed some adjustment or a new cork. - dunnp

An outright beginner on flute really should have their head joint cork placement adjusted by somebody who knows what they are doing and that is all to the benefit of a beginning student. But once a student has learned how to finely adjust the tuning of a flute by means of embouchure control then their learning of where to set the placement of the face of the head joint cork becomes most worthwhile.

Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

o’muirgheasain, why are you challenging dunnp’s clear description for positioning the head cork?
It’s not as critical as you make it out to be. And, unless the fluter is someone who has a difficult time
gauging things, there is little chance it won’t be repositioned properly.

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Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

Na éisc , I am not at all challenging what dunnp said. Using a measuring stick is a good way to set the approximate placement of the face of a head joint cork. But that method delivers only an approximation of just where that face should be. And the final placement really is a matter of a player’s skill.

Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

With all due respect, o’muirgheasain, the final placement has *what?* to do with the player’s skill.

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Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

Na éisc, yes, the ultimate placement of the face of a flute’s head joint cork is critical. It not only controls the tuning within any given register but it shows up even more when sliding between one register and another.

A measurement stick can approximate a correct placement but it likely might not perfectly do so.

Not for beginners but that is a skill a more advanced player really should learn.

Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

Actually, the placement of the cork is variable, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. The setting affects the relative pitch from one octave to the next, which you can determine with trial and error. It affects the pitch of the entire flute, since the fixed pitch is determined by the distance between the face of the cork and the last orifice from which sound is produced. You can also beef up the response in the lower octave, especially low D, by pulling the cork out a few millimeters. Flute maker Terry McGee, a member here, recommends up to 23 mm as opposed to the usual 19 mm. Whatever you do can be undone, so it is not a point to be worried about if you play with the cork. I still maintain, though, that it is unnecessary to remove it for the purpose of oiling, but since we’re talking moving the cork in general, you might as well know all that is affected by doing so. Have fun.

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Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

Sorry, meant to add this one: http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/McGee-Flutes-Care.htm (see the bit about the stopper - which I think is what Ailin mentioned).

I was playing tunes next to a lady with a nice wooden Boehm flute recently. I was admiring the top end of her second octave (we were up beyond the ‘top B’) and she was admiring the tone of my bottom octave. I think if you had asked us, or the makers of our flutes, us about stopper position you may have got different suggestions. Mine is still at the 23mm where Casey Burns put it and I drew a line on my stick.

Re: How to take stopper out of flute + what to do with cork inside

Ailin is right, that the position of the face of a head joint cork not only controls the tuning between the tones of any given register but also affects leaps between the registers, octave jumps and manoeuvers such as that. And there really is only one rule to follow in adjusting the cork, that the lesser the movement of a player’s embouchure then the closer the cork is to its optimal position. But that calls for a player to have solid control of their embouchure, a level of control that most players do not attain until they are at a solid intermediate level of playing skill. Actually, using a measuring stick is a good thing for all players to get started with as that usually puts the face of the cork in about the right position. But then there could be those occasions when after using a measuring stick a flute just does not “behave” quite right and that is where the rule I mentioned, as above, comes into play. Yep, a flute could be thought of as being a bag of many little tricks in order to play it, and that is just one of those many little tricks. One word of caution, however, do not use something pointy and sharp ended such as a pencil to move a cork as pushing on a cork with something like that could damage the cork, especially if the cork has become “welded” into its current position. But rather, go to your local lumber yard or hardware store and get a piece of round hardwood dowel rod that is just slightly smaller than the bore of the flute’s head joint, and then cut the ends of the rod so that the end surfaces are at a perfectly perpendicular angle to the length of the rod. And once you do get your cork correctly positioned then you could mark the rod at the center of the flute’s embouchure hole while the end of the rod is lightly touching the face of the cork, and then you will have your own measuring stick. Fortunately, wood dowel rods are not particularly expensive and a carpenter’s “square” could tell you how square the end of your rod is, and that way you are least likely to damage the cork.