The Healy Flute Company offers extensive repair services for simple-system wooden flutes, Boehm flutes, fifes, and piccolos. Instrument repairs are priced on a per job basis with a shop time cost of $100/hour. All repairs come with a one year guarantee starting on the date that the instrument is shipped back to the customer.
When To Call a Professional
This depends on what kind of performance you demand from your instrument, how much time & interest you have to tinker with your wooden flute on your own, and (most importantly) your comfort level with do-it-yourself (DIY) repair.
As a rule of thumb, if DIY repair requires that you bend or force anything on your flute, or if it means bringing anything sharp or hot in contact with your instrument, then you need to be very confident and capable. Otherwise, skip it and contact a qualified instrument repairman immediately. Using glue & adhesives to repair your instrument is a gray area. Some people are perfectly capable of repairing a minor crack with Crazy Glue, while others...well...truly aren't.
Before you attempt any home repair, you should seriously consider the cost of your flute, fife, or piccolo and whether or not a botched repair job could either destroy the instrument or result in a much more expensive repair job. If you find yourself with any doubts or reservations, then at least ask a few questions before going any further.
Acceptable Do-It-Yourself Flute Repair
If you go to sessions regularly, then you've seen the wooden flute player whose instrument is held together with friction tape, elastic bands, and spit. The fact is that there are many minor repairs and workarounds that you can perform on your own instrument without damaging the instrument or greatly impacting your playing.
Minor / Hairline Cracks For very minor cracks, we recommend wrapping the affected area with friction tape (a.k.a. plumber's tape) as a temporary solution. Bear in mind that this won't fix the crack or stop it from getting bigger, but it will keep your flute playable until you get the crack repaired permanently. Many experienced players fix minor cracks themselves using Crazy Glue and fine grit sandpaper. If you've never done this before or if you don't have access to someone who knows how and can show you, then we recommend against going anywhere near your wooden flute with a fast-acting adhesive.
Loose or Tight Tenon
A tenon that's slightly loose or tight can often be fixed at home. We wrote a Skip's Tip about repairing cork-wrapped tenons. You can read it here. For recommendations on how to fix a loose or tight Healy tenon (metal-on-metal), please email us.
If you notice you've got a key that's leaking air, then first try playing for a while to see if the problem goes away on its own. Sometimes you just need to fill the flute with a bit of moisture to get everything sealing correctly. If the problem persists, then take a rubber band and wrap it loosely around the key cup. This pushes the pad down harder onto the key hole and closes the seal. This also means that you probably won't be able to use that key anymore. If you really need that key, then take your flute to a professional for repairs ASAP. Yes, we know of several experiences players who re-pad their own keys and are even willing to tinker with the key mechanisms. We do not recommend that the inexperienced or average wooden flute player attempt this on their own without some training and supervision first.
In conjunction with the world famous resort community of Arosa, Switzerland and their "MUSIK-KURSWOCHEN" (music course week), I will be teaching a week long series of classes on Irish flute and tin whistle music. The program will take place JULY 22nd - AUGUST 2nd, 2014. I will be posting information and videos about the event very soon!!! Imagine, learning about traditional Irish music high in the Swiss Alps, staying in a beautiful hotel called "Hotel Hohe Promenade" a 3 star hotel with AMAZING food and service...