What can we fix?
Our skilled staff have years of experience repairing every kind of instrument. Here are some common recorder problems, their solutions, and ways of preventing them.
Loose or missing cork:
Many commercial makers use a composite material (ground cork mixed with an adhesive and formed into sheets) and ‘butt’ the ends of the cork. Cork grease can sometimes work through tthe composite cork and cause the glue to loosen, or the butted ends can catch and tear or work loose. To replace the cork, we remove all the old cork and adhesive and carefully clean the tenon. A strip of solid cork is glued on, the ends lapped over and sanded smooth on a lathe so that they won’t tear.
It’s common for the thumbhole of a recorder to become worn after many hours of playing, especially for players who don’t keep their thumbnail cut short. Some wear is acceptable, but eventually the hole can become enlarged, making it difficult to control the aperture when ‘half-holing’, and the high notes become unreliable. When this happens the thumbhole must be ‘bushed’: an area slightly larger than the thumbhole is drilled out and a ring of harder material (usually ivory or bone) turned to fit exactly is glued in, milled flush, and the thumb notes retuned. As the bushing is made of harder material than the original, it will not wear as quickly.
When recorders are played, they accumulate build-up from moisture, mold, saliva, condensation, ‘lip goo’, and so on. This build-up can even occlude the windway of the recorder. In addition, this instrument has a dark, oily smudge on the surface of the labium where the player put his/her finger when blowing excess condensation out of the windway. In this case, there was no permanent damage to the labium, but see below…
And what can’t we fix?
A lucky dog got a very expensive chew toy; this head joint cannot be repaired, and must be replaced.
Excessive oiling and finger pressure (from putting the finger in the window to stop the sound when blowing out moisture) on the labium of this instrument have caused its delicate edge to warp inward. This gives the recorder a muffled and unfocused sound, and cannot be corrected.