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Flute expander & shrinker

2854 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Gordon (NZ)

Not a sax question but a flute question. I am going to order a flute expander and shrinker. I'm trying to decide between the ones from Allied (T1408 and T1409) or Ferree's (H62 and N77A). The shrinker costs about the same from both. The expandor from Ferree's cost more, but the one from Allied seems to have a more comfortable handle. I am going to make orders from both places anyway so can get one from each.

Any suggestions? Does it matter at all?

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I usually don't like to comment on things I have not personally used. However, I do use the Votaw Gorilla Expander on sax necks. It's the best expander I have used and I have tried all the others that are readily available. When I got it, I sold my Allied expander that week. I have to imagine that the Flute expander from Votaw is just as good. It's a lot more money though.

Votaw has a trial policy and Carl has always been easy for me to deal with.
I am happy with my Ferrees expander, after getting it hard chromed, to reduce friction and prevent rust and wear.

I made my own shrinker, from a catalogue picture. However it finished up with greater outside diameter, which was good...

I like to grip these tools in my hand rather than hold them in a vice, for better control of alignment.

In order to get better torque without ripping the skin off my hand, I have increased the diameter of the gripping part of both tools, by gluing thick composite cork around them.
I agree with both Gordon and Curt. Depends on your budget and how often you will use them, and for which makes and models.

Keep in mind also that Ferree's sells flute tenon sleeves, each with various ID's to accomodate various manufacturers tubing size, to use on the OD of the tenon, while you are using the expander to expand the ID. These sleeves will keep you from over-expanding the tenon, which means you will not have to constantly switch back-and-forth between expander and shrinker.

Ferree's also offers a "T" handle replacement for those old round, knurled end-knobs on their expanders.
I've had good luck with the Ferree's/Allied expanders and tenon dies used in conjunction. Although if I had the dough, I would probably go for the Votaw offerings. They are expensive, but I've seen them both work, and they seem to be easier and much more precise.
The Gorilla expander is on my wish list for sax.
I'm quite happy with more basic tools fro flute. Flute tenons are much easier to adjust than sax.

I can see no point in the T-handle... just in the way? I do adjustments while the expander is OUT of the tube, so no extra torque is needed.
Thanks Curt and everyone else. I might buy the Gorilla expander... eventually. For now I need the smaller type of expander and shrinker like the ones I mentioned. Trial policy is not much of an option for me since I'll have non-refundable but very expensive shipping and tax.... This is mainly the reason that I ask those things on the forums, so I don't end up with things I want to return.

Gordon, do you have Allied catalogue and see the different handle on the expander? It looks more comfortable. I'll probably use your suggestion to put cork on it to make it more comfortable to hold.

clarnibass said:
...Gordon, do you have Allied catalogue and see the different handle on the expander? It looks more comfortable. I'll probably use your suggestion to put cork on it to make it more comfortable to hold.

I see Allied's T-type handle. I want to hold the BODY of the tool in my hand, and wrench around with it, so I am pretty sure that handle would be in my way. If you were holding the tool in the vice, then the handle is no big deal.

In either case, the normal method (as I understand it) of using this tool is not to insert it and then force an expansion with the handle. It is to set the tool to a suitable diameter first, then work the tool into the tenon.

after all, considering the way it is built, it is only the end few mm of the tool that actually does the expanding, so the tool has to be worked along the inside of the tenon anyway.
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