Every winter term, we have a class on maintenance and emergency repairs. Those who are so inclined can follow up with beginning padding, but the point of this class is to get everyone to a stage where they can do adjustments themselves and can diagnose problems. We take the flutes we play on (not junk flutes, because you need to learn how your instrument works) apart, and then put them back together, several times. While doing this, we learn what keys do what, what it should look like and how to deal with broken, bent, jammed keys and ripped pads etc.

This class can be taken for a whole winter term credit, a half credit, or no credit at all :)

Dates to be arranged pending Alexa's schedule, but normally near the end of winter term.

Just in case you are worried, Alexa is Straubinger-pad authorized installer, has done silver-smithing classes, has done her own work and repairs for others since she was about 16, and she is always learning more stuff!

Supplies required for Flute Stripping class:

A working surface: a smooth textured (not a towel) cotton or other absorbent material to place on the table to work on top of, i.e. an old pillow case, a used linen or cotton kitchen towel, the front or back of an old T-shirt etc. This should be something you can stain, it should be freshly washed to be lint free, and soft enough that it will not scratch your flute. This will act as a catching spot for things you accidentally drop. Tiny screws etc may otherwise bounce or roll off of a hard surface. Goodwill or the student recycle center might be a good place to get this item.

Styrofoam block or piece that is large enough to write on and stick screws into. Imagine a florists' foam block for sticking flower stems into to make a flower arrangement, but made of a material that does not shed. You will use this block to stick your screws in, labeling each to avoid confusion and to keep the screws safely away from dirty surfaces. Some screws are less than a quarter of an inch long. Some can be longer than 5 inches depending on the flute. A good place to obtain styrofoam is garbage/dumpsters; take or chop a piece from packing materials. You can also buy styrofoam or Balsa wood blocks (a nicer/fancier version) in craft stores. Choose a piece that is too big rather than too small (you can make it smaller), because it should sit flat easily and without any assistance (you need both hands).

Oil container:

1) A very small waterproof container, big enough to hold about a teaspoon of oil that I will provide. This should also stand up by itself (you need both hands). The Bead store next to the college bookstore may the best place locally to find this, or you may have a small container left over from lip goop etc. This container must be very clean and dry.

2) A long then needle that you can dip into the oil bottle to transfer very small blobs of oil from the bottle to your flute mechanism. (The bead store also stocks needles)

Spring hook: A very fine lace-type crochet hook, with a hook that looks both big enough the to "hook" a spring and thin enough to fit in between and around the spring wires and the mechanism. The knitting shop next to Gibsons or Ben Franklins may be a good place to find this item. I will use my Dremmel to add a "pushing" groove onto your crochet hook.

Screw drivers: 2 or 3 very small screw drivers. Dick Smith electronics carry inexpensive sets of "jewelers' screw drivers" or "electronics screw drivers", usually coming in a set of 6 to 10 various sizes held in a cheap plastic case. Some hardware stores also carry miniature screwdrivers.

If you can purchase screw drivers in person, it is best to take your flute with you, to ensure that the screw driver ends will actually fit your flute's screws. Screw drivers are vastly easier to use and much less likely to do damage to your flute if the screwdriver fits tightly into the screw you are adjusting.

Note that your flute may have two to four different screw sizes, and some are even Philips head (a cross shape) rather than the ordinary plain slot head.

Note also that screw drivers are also much easier to use if they are long, so if you have a choice, definitely choose a longer handle. Try to avoid wide and short handles.

Pliers: this will be used for holding/grabbing rods etc when finger strength isn't enough or when your fingers are too big. In the long term you will want to purchase what are known as parallel pliers (the jaws close in parallel, as I will demonstrate in the class) but as this tool retails for around $40, a suitable alternative for now is a small, needle nose (long, thin jaws) pliers with preferably smooth (not serrated) jaws. If you cannot find smooth jawed pliers, please glue thin leather onto the face of each jaw so that there are no serrations to scratch up your flute bits. (The bead shop sells some good tools too)

Pipe cleaners (cotton is best), found where people buy stuff for smoking pipe tobacco.

Cigarette paper.

Alchohol swabs (available in a small box by the hundred for about $2 in a drug store or supermarket pharmacy (diabetics supplies)

Pen and paper to record what you learn as we go. A camera or being prepared to use your phone to take pictures may also be extremely helpful.

Glasses if you need them :) and your flute!