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Flute Care

Caring for Your Thunder Bear Flute

While playing your flute and when finished playing, removing moisture from your flute is VERY important to the continued health of your flute.

Cracking is most often caused by humidity-induced stresses in the wood that occur when the inside of the flute is wet and the outside dry. DO NOT let your flute get soggy on the inside. When playing, fling your flute dry about every 10-15 minutes. If your flute gets soggy, stop playing and let it dry. No wooden instrument should ever be played more than two hours per day.

After playing your flute an exceptionally long period of time, remove the block and let the flute air dry; but first,  fling your flute. To fling your flute, remove the block, grab you flute opposite the mouthpiece and make jerky up to down movements. This will fling the moisture out the mouthpiece (best to do this in an area where you do not care where the spittle lands). Then, with a piece of cotton material swab out the inside of your flute.

Oil Your Flute

Interior:  If you intend to play a Thunder Bear flute for more than 5 minutes, place a few drops of oil into the mouthpiece end to prevent moisture from saturating the inside of the air chamber. Oils applied to the interior of a flute acts as a partial barrier to help prevent moisture from penetrating the wood. The application of oil to the mouthpiece (bore) of a flute helps to prevent cracking. When oiling a bore, first make sure that the wood is dry and hasn't been played for a few hours. Lightly wet the flute with oil, using a dowel rod and a cloth soak with mineral oil taped to one end. Run the dowel up and down the bore a few time then, let the flute air dry. Overnight drying is usually sufficient. I recommend that you oil your flutes low air chamber once every 1-2 months (depending on use and climate). Use mineral oil or some other natural type of oil. DO NOT use vegetable oils, they can go rancid. (note: IF your flute has a number of 1322 or higher your flute has been soaked in General Salad Bowl Finish and there is no need to use any oil for the inside of your flute if you like you can still use a few drops of mineral oil in the mouth hole to help absorb the moisture that is up to you and it will not hurt your flute. )

Exterior: I also recommend lightly oiling the exterior of your flute. Whenever the exterior appears dry or the finish becomes dull, apply a light coat of oil to the outside with Clapham’s Beeswax Salad Bowl Finish. Let the flute sit over night and then lightly buff out the next day.

Climate Changes

Do not expose your flute to sudden extreme temperature or climate changes (heat, cold, wet, dry). Wood is very sensitive to the elements. Under normal use, your flute will not crack; however, pay attention not to subject the wood to quick temperature and climate changes. Always warm your flute before playing. A cold instrument will condense your warm breath faster than a warm one. A cold instrument being warmed by playing will also be unstable in pitch while warming. Warm the instrument slowly by holding it in your hands or under your arm. Playing a wood instrument outdoors on a cold day is NEVER recommended. The hot breath passing through the wood will make too drastic a change in temperature in too short of a time resulting in sudden contraction of the wood - instant crack!

Avoid Storing Flute in Drafts

The moving air originating from an open window, electric fan, or air-conditioner will quickly dry out an instrument and increase the risk of cracking.


Do not let lipstick or ink come in contact with your flute. Wood is very absorbent. A permanent stain will result if an instrument is used by a player wearing lipstick. Ink from a fountain pen or ball-point pen will also leave permanent marks on a wood instrument.

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