How to Repad or Replace Your Flute Pads
Replacing your flute pads might be an easy or DIY task, but to do but it properly requires some expertise and tools to ease up the process. If you are not aware of the usage of tools and new in the field, it is highly recommended to get the repadding done by a professional. Below is a basic guide to replacing your flute pads. Please note that we shoulder no accountability or cost for any kind of damage you might cause to any instrument, including your flute.
Working your way through the process is not difficult, you just need to have the right tools to facilitate and fasten your work. Before you begin with the process, spare some time and get the access to the tools you will need for the complete process of removing and installing the flute pads.
Tools You Need
Following are the tools you should have:
- Replacement flute pads
- Needle or Pad prick
- Flat nose pliers
If the flute pads require adhesive you will also need:
- Fire safety equipment
The optional tools are:
- Nylon pad plier
- Spring hook tool
Process of Replacing Flute Pads
Now that you have gathered the tools, let’s learn how to replace flute pads. The process of replacing flute pads has necessary steps that include removal of the keys and pads, installing the new pads and then placing the keys back in. But all of this is not simple. Let’s start with the first step and make sure that things go the right way without damaging the flute while completing the task at hand.
- Removal of keys – Trill keys are the first you will be removing. Here is the important thing to consider: you have to get the keys and screws back in the right place so to ensure that you must place all the keys on a clean soft towel or pad in the same order as you remove them. If you feel the need, many beginners film themselves while removing the keys to help them in the reinstalling process. Another way to be safe is to insert the screws back in place to avoid the confusion later. Besides all of these precautionary steps, sometimes it is also recommended to replace one flute pad at a time, this is helps in rightly adjusting the key besides removing the where-this-screw-belong confusion completely. Go the way you find it easy and compatible.
- Detach the flute pads – Now when you have removed all the keys, you get easy access to the pads. Remove the keypads. If the flute pads are bonded in, then you will have to heat the flute to remove the pads and the fire safety equipment. Lucky enough, many of the flutes have flute pads placed in with screws so there is a good chance you can avoid this melting part.
- Measure the new flute pads – After removing all the flute pads, compare and measure them with the new ones. Also, test them by fitting in the pad cup and if the flute pad is not fitting in comfortable or you need to apply force, then you need to get a small pad or in the other case if the pad is loose then you have to get the one with a bigger diameter. Another thing is the width of flute pad; if the pad is too thin then you can make use of flute pad shims and if the pad is too thick you would have to get the new one that is the right size. You would have to measure each flute pad individually and hence this work requires a good amount of patience.
- Installing new flute pads to the keys – Before you repad your flute, use the needle or pad prick to puncture the flute pads from the sides which will help the moisture to release during replacement. You would have to heat the flute pad cups to remove any adhesive left in them and then install the new flute pads. This part of the replacement is the most precarious one if you are using adhesive. When the pad cup is tidy, add 1-3 adhesive pellets in the pad cup. Heat it thoroughly. Make sure you have fire safety equipment ready. Heat the pellets till they melt completely but refrain from boiling it. Implant the flute pad and allow it to cool. You are now ready to repad your flute. Place the key back on the flute and apply a little adhesive to the flute pad cup. Allow the replaced pad to level on the respective tone hole. Check for seeps with a leak light or feeler gauge and if you catch one then heat and do the adjustments till you resolve the issue. Work with each key and install all the keys with new flute pads to the flute and check for leaks and make adjustments. Be very patient while working on keys one by one till you get done with all. The slower you go, the longer the pads will last. You’ll also be less likely to incur additional cost. Remember that having your flute pads installed by someone else can cost anywhere from $165-$580.
- Final Touch – Only carry this step if all the keys are perfectly leveled with no leaks. Dampen the front of the flute pad with a little water and pad slick. Use key wedges to shut the keys as you leave it to fully dry overnight. Work gently so you don’t damage any part of your flute the cork or bend the flute keys. If you have completed the steps correctly, a ring is supposed to foster on the flute pad. Allow the wedges to shut for a good 24 hours or so.
Flute pads typically last 3-6 years, depending on how often you do the maintenance. Make sure to keep your flute clean and dirt-free, and don’t forget to do yearly maintenance to improve the life of your flute pads and flute. This will save you future costs on repadding your flute.