Does your recorder need freshening up or is there any aspect of its performance that could be improved?
Regardless of how old your recorder is, who made it, or which model it is – bring it, or send it in to our ”Recorder Clinic“ for an expert diagnosis. Our philosophy is to retain the essence of the instrument. We do not want to rebuild or change it, rather we will take measures to ensure, as far as possible, that its strengths are emphasised.
We can undertake the following work for you:
Optimization of voicing, sound, and tuning.
If your recorder has lost its original sound quality, or easily becomes hoarse, the cause is, as a rule, a dirty windway. Or the windway may have swollen through hours of playing, and must be returned to its original dimensions. To do this, the block will be expertly removed from the head of the recorder, and the windway and block carefully cleaned. The next step is to restore both windway and block to their ideal measurements, using the appropriate special tools, and then clean them again. After replacing the block the sound and voicing of the instrument will be checked. This procedure will be repeated as often as is necessary until the instrument’s optimal functionality is restored. If the tuning has changed, this can be the result of warping of the wood (the inner bore), whereby the size and shape of the fingerholes may also be affected. The tuning of a recorder is not absolute per se but is dependent on the conditions present in each different model and its construction. However, corrective work can sometimes be undertaken by narrowing or widening of the fingerholes. The inner bore can also be made larger if the wood has shrunk too much.
Renewal of the cork or thread binding
The joints of your recorder are sealed with cork or a thread binding. These are subject to considerable demands, sometimes causing the thread or cork to become damaged. Furthermore, the wood of the recorder might have shrunk so that the joint no longer fits neatly. To repair that, the cork or thread is carefully removed and renewed so that the joint functions properly again. It can also happen that the wood swells and the joint becomes too tight – the cork or thread binding rubs against the wood. In this case, in order to restore the neat fit of the joint, either a small amount of wood is cautiously removed, or the cork is sanded down.
The glueing and stabilisation of cracks
The wood of the recorder is stressed by both external environmental conditions and through the playing of the instrument. Depending on the nature and strength of the forces at work, the resulting stress can lead to cracks in the wood. Hard and less flexible fine woods such as grenadilla, palisander and rosewood are particularly liable to cracking. But softer woods such as boxwood, plum wood, maple and pearwood can also form cracks. In all cases cracks will be glued with special glue and sealed off with resin. In some cases it may be necessary to add a supportive sleeve or ornamental ring made from artificial ivory in order to prevent further cracking.
Over time the thumbhole can become worn due to damage caused by the thumbnail, leaving a deep groove. This is always detrimental to the tuning and voicing of the instrument. In the recorder clinic we will fit an artificial ivory bushing to your instrument that will restore the function of the thumbhole.
Oiling, Cleaning and Hygiene Check
Some recorders haven’t been cleaned or oiled for a long time. We can carry this out for you professionally in our recorder clinic. We will check the bore, block and windway of your recorder for particles of dirt. We will then clean the bore, exterior, block and windway thoroughly. Afterwards the instrument will be oiled – except for varnished instruments, which in any case should not be oiled.
Repairs and refurbishments of keywork
If some notes do not speak easily on your recorder the cause may not always be the block or windway. If your instrument has keys it may be that one of the these does not fully seal the hole. If a key only moves noisily or with difficulty there can be several reasons: either there is not enough oil on the spindle or the felt that controls the position of the key has been lost or has worn over time. Sometimes the padding is affected whereby it no longer properly seals the hole, or requires too much pressure. It may also have become hard or damaged and requires replacing. Our workshop has a dedicated department for keywork which specialises in the making and servicing of recorder keys. These specialists attend to replacing and refurbishing defect components, making sure the keywork will operate efficiently. Occasionally parts of the key mechanism become bent. In this case the key needs to be straightened so that it again works easily. If parts of the key have broken off they can often be repaired by soldering them back on. If you are looking for a complete refurbishment of your instrument you have come to the right place: in this case we remove all keys from your instrument, including the pads, felt and cork. The performance of all the key surfaces will then be checked and restored: previously highly polished keys are newly prepared and regilded in gold or silver. If the keys were originally lacquered with a matt finish, they will be cleaned, given a new matt finish and freshly lacquered. Finally, all keys will be fitted with new felt and pads – your instrument will shine again like new.
All makes and models
The Mollenhauer Recorder Clinic is versatile.
We are happy to repair instruments from other makers. In these cases we will clean and improve the instrument, correct the voicing etc. In many cases we can make good even very bad damage. However, if the labium has been damaged or keywork is missing, we will not be able to supply original spare parts. In this case you should contact the maker directly.
Repairs and how they are carried out
What do you have to do and what can you expect ...
Do you notice anything unusual in your instrument? Does your recorder clog up quickly, do the keys not function the way they should? Do you think something is not quite right with your recorder? Then you should send your instrument to the Recorder Clinic so that you can soon enjoy your music making again. If you would like to ask any questions about your instrument’s problems beforehand, please do not hesitate to call us on +49 (0) 661/9467-33. However, usually the recorder maker will need to see your instrument before s/he can make a proper judgement of what work needs to be carried out. We therefore recommend that you send your instrument as soon as possible. On arrival at Mollenhauer your instrument will be carefully unpacked and registered for repair. A ’repair log’ will be attached to your instrument so that we can keep a record of what work has been carried out. Once your instrument arrives at the recorder maker s/he will play the instrument to identify any problems. Any necessary repairs will be costed, and you will receive an estimate of the repair cost in writing (by email, fax or post). Once you have agreed, we will carry out the repair and return your instrument to you.
Repairs during warranty period
Mollenhauer offers a warranty of two years on all their instruments. During this period of warranty all repairs, eg. voicing, tuning and response, are carried out free of charge. Please include proof of purchase when sending in your instrument.
»Repair form«What faults have you noticed in your recorder? What repairs would you like us to carry out? Please fill in the ’Repair form’ on your PC, print it off and include it with your instrument when you are sending it to us.
Von Huene Service Europe
Certified by the Von Huene Workshop
As part of a cooperation agreement with the Von Huene Workshop, Boston/USA, Mollenhauer carries out repairs to all Von Huene instruments (apart from those undertaken whilst the instrument is in warranty). Our experienced recorder maker Erik Jahn, who works closely with the Von Huene Workshop and visited for an exchange, guarantees the quality of his service. In exchange Patrick von Huene offers a first rate service for all Mollenhauer recorders in the USA.
Contact the recorder maker
By phone: +49 (0) 661/9467-33
By fax: +49 (0) 661/9467-36
Or email your questions to: