The best quality of filled, natural cork, synthetic cork, and synthetic felt is used to ensure quietness and consistency of action.


The best quality cork and synthetic pads available are use for oboes and clarinets as well as white leather for the lower notes. A similar quality of leather is used for bassoons and saxophones. Great attention is paid to ensure that the surface against which the pad is seated, is flat. In the case of flutes and saxophones, special files are used. In the case of oboes and clarinets, special cutters are used. Bassoons require a different approach, but the end result is the same: excellent contact between the pad and the pad seat. 

Cork and synthetic pads are seated to an accuracy of 0.01 mm.


Even the synthetic oil used to lubricate the instruments is specific to the size of the instrument. Oboes and piccolos require a finer (less viscous) oil than saxophones. In most cases I use a combination of Optimax oil and Moebius clock grease.


An ultrasonic cleaner is used to remove dirt from the tiniest crevices.


When repadding student flutes shims of .004” are used (I still use thousandths of an inch: easier to work with); thinner shims are used for better quality flutes.

© Birch Woodwinds 2012