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flute headjoint
design story
  Overhaul ‘professional flutes’

Reflection on the pads: my vision.

As professional flute player and engineer, I have been fascinated by the technical aspects of the flute throughout my entire career. During many work placements in Belgium as well as abroad (Amsterdam, Jan Hoving, N. Carolina, Chris Abell, Clifford Tretick) I have always been in search of newer and more stable materials, in order to improve the weakest point of the flute: the pads.

Many flute builders have been searching for a stable production process, in most designs however, some of the basic parameters have not been sufficiently elaborated. For example: often, pads with a diameter that is too small occur, which leads to the fact that they often rotate inside the key or that they tear because the membrane is way too thin. The consequences go without saying.

Through years of experiment, I have developed two pads that come up to the required qualities. These pads are being made personally in my atelier, in a way that a clockwork precision can be reached, both in form and stability. One of the advantages of this way of working, is the fact that every flute is being padded perfectly on the intrinsic diameter of each key: most flute builders, namely, use a key system with different diameters, who often do not correspond with the pads on hand nowadays.
I work with the most durable materials, such as felt with a woven core from Germany and the enclosing membrane from Argentina. This way, the most perfect padding (with an accuracy of 0.1 mm) available at the moment is being developed.

“The sonorous qualities of a flute are in proportion with the quality of the padding. One can only judge a flute on its merits when it closes 100%.”

Every mechanical movement causes endplay, also in the flute. As a precision engineer, I am capable of re-aligning every mechanism.

After the overhaul, the instrument will remain in the atelier for a fairly long time, in order to restore the balance between every new component by playing in the instrument intensively.

This is ‘a sine qua non’ of every good overhaul.