Last Updated on June 6, 2023 by Shanta Roy
Anyone who has a silver flute is familiar with the term ‘tarnish.’ And flutist always keeps their flute clean to remove tarnish. Daily maintenance can indeed stop your flute from getting discolored.
You can clean a flute and keep a polished body by employing various methods. For instance, experts suggest cleaning the flute with rubbing alcohol, and alcohol wipes and keeping an anti-tarnish paper in the flute case.
There are one more methods to polish, using a silver dip and silver polish. Frankly, it’s not recommended for users to polish their flutes using those substances because there are countless cases of people damaging their flutes by attempting to polish flutes using a silver dip and silver polish.
Yet, some people can successfully perform it at home with the right process and materials. However, if you would like to do it on your own, remember to go really slow and gentle. Here, we will tell you how to polish your flute. Read to learn about the process.
Supplies You Need
- 4 screwdriver
- 1 screwdriver
- Spring hook
- Smooth jaws
- Bench peg
- Silver polish
- Silver dip
- Plastic container
- Polishing cloth
- Hand gloves
- Silver cloth
- Rubbing alcohol
- Drill machine
- Wood post
Guide To Polish A Flute
We mentioned that with the right methods, materials, and patience, you could polish the flute by yourself. Considering that, you need to disassemble the flute completely.
And, by disassembling, we mean you will have to take out the keys too. This is the right way to polish a flute. Also, professional flute mechanics do it this way.
You need to take out the keys and separate the joints for polishing the flute correctly. Note that this is going to be a long process. Let’s start with disassembling.
Steps For Disassembling The Flute
This is not a tricky part of polishing a flute at home. You need to be very careful in the process. Read our instructions attentively, and take out the keys serially.
First, carefully detach all three joints of your flute. Then, take the foot joint and the no. 4 screwdriver. Check the key mechanism by the end-side of the foot joint. The keys are set in a long silver post; there is a notch by the side of the post.
Unscrew the post, and you can take the hinge out with the help of soft jaws from the post. Next, you can take off the key from the mechanism.
Now, let’s move on to the body joint. You will have to find the notch to unscrew around the thumb keys, C keys, G keys, D key, toe keys on the rod system, and G sharp key.
The keys are set one above another. We recommend you follow the serial we maintained in mentioned the keys to find the find notches.
Use the no. 4 screw and soft jaws again to take out the hinges and keys from the posts. And, we are done here disengaging the keys.
Steps For Polishing The Flute
First, wear gloves, and pour the whole bottle of silver dip into a plastic container. Next, the parts of the flute, and dunk in the dip one by one.
Hold on, don’t put the embouchure area in the silver dip. There is a cork in the head joint, and it will severely damage the cork. So, leave the area, and use some rubbing alcohol to polish it with a silver cloth.
Anyway, you need to leave the part in the liquid for a couple of seconds. The moment you take them out from the dip, you will see the difference in the color of the flute immediately!
The yellowish color and the tarnish will be gone right away. Still, you need to use silver polish later to polish the flute properly.
Next, you need to set the bench peg on a wooden post. Drill in an area, and install the peg. Then, hold it on a wall, and put on the joints on the peg. You hold joints on the peg with your stomach.
Please don’t put too much pressure while holding the joints; you might bend them. Once again, you need to be cautious as the whole process is complex and sensitive.
Now, tear the polishing cloth, and make some stripes out of it. Then, take some silver polish on the polishing cloth. Then, start polishing the joints one by one. Be gentle, and go slow with the polishing process.
There will be springs and raised areas of tone holes all over the flute’s body. If the cloth gets stuck in the spring, it might get bent or break as well. As a result, you will have to buy a new flute.
For thorough polishing, you can tuck the cloth to place it appropriately under the spring areas. To clean the raised areas of the tone holes, use your finger. Take the cloth with one or two fingers, depending on the size of the area.
The polishing is almost done. Next, take a clean polishing stripe. And clean the flute body once again because could be some excess silver polish on the flute’s body. Again, be careful of the spring while wiping down the silver polish. Here, we are done with the silver polishing.
Reassembling The Flute
This is another intricate task. But don’t worry! You can do it smoothly if you take time. To reassemble the flute, you should follow the same stages from the disassembling process.
You can start from the foot joint again. To include the keys on the joint, first, set the key on the post. Then, put the hinge in the post with the help of the soft jaw. Next, tighten the hinge with the number 1 screwdriver.
Follow the reverse serial of the disassembling process when you take the body joint to set the keys on it. Finally, you can attach three of the joints.
Generally, silver polishing is done by professionals. As you have seen, it’s a substantially complex process. Also, we can’t overlook the risks this process entails.
We have said in the beginning that if you want to do it, you have to be super slow and gentle. Otherwise, you will end up damaging the flute.
Besides, try not to overdo any of the activities. It would be best if you follow what we have instructed. We don’t want you to ruin your flute, and you also do want it to happen.