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Distiguished SOTW Tech
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Discussion Starter #1
I am interested to know how others surface metal piccolo tone holes to create a flat surface for the pad to seat against. I currently use some very narrow fine files, but I am not happy with this technique because it is too easy to rock the file and get an arc instead of a flat. Flute tone hole surfacing tools are way too large to fit between the holes.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
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What type of flute tone hole units are you using matt, mine are diamond impregnated units, but the ones for putting the curvature back on inside and outside are stick on sandpaper units

Ive never found lighly warped tone holes on piccolos to be an issue, large pad coverage in relationship to the tone hole. So you can get away with a lot IMO.

If I had to do them, I would use stick on sandpaper attached to a flat disc with a central guide and a battery drill
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am currently working on an Armstrong 290 which is sterling silver cylindrical bore pic with straight tone hole chimneys. The key cups are not overly large compared to the OD of the tone hole chimney so the keys have to be alligned and the pads centered pretty accurately. I've been using JL smith pads which are pretty firm and flat so having a warped or uneven tone hole is not a good thing. I've got the music medic flute tone hole tools with diamond in the surface, but these are way too large to work on piccolo. Looks like I'm going to have to custom make a surfacing tool.

Thanks, Matt
 

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I prefer to use cork pads throughout on piccolos, but the toneholes do have to be dead level and blemish free.

It's pretty easy to make tonehole levellers - measure the diameter of the bedplaces and turn up some brass rods to those diameters, then face them off so they're flat and glue on a piece of abrasive paper (you can make them T-shaped so your fingers don't slide all the way down when using them).

If you want to make pilots to keep them centered, centre drill the face and tap out to fit an adjusting screw in them (eg. M2x0.4) and make pilots out of discs of around 2-3mm thick cut from plastic rod (delrin is good for this as it can be shaped easily) to loosely fit the various diameters of the toneholes with the centres drilled out, threaded and countersunk so the adjusting screws fit in them, then screw them into the tonehole levellers (these same pilots can be used on clarinets as well).

If you're levelling the toneholes on metal piccolos, you can use a coarser abrasive to inititally get them level and finish them off with 1200 grit. You will also want to remove any burrs that can result from levelling, so you can make a tapered version of a tonehole leveller that will work on all the different diameter toneholes or use a spherical reamer to make a very slight bevel on the insides of the toneholes.

Use the tonehole levellers by hand if you're not confident of using power tools or bench motors with them - I wouldn't recommend using power tools at all on wooden or plastic piccolos.
 
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