The Flute Ferret – Available at Dawkes Music

30th January 2023

Many Flute repairers and flute players alike are aware of Stephen Wessel Flutes. Stephen made a name for himself as an extremely innovative Flute maker. He has made some of the lightest and most unique looking flutes on the market. He has also engineered a similarly innovative leak detector called the Flute Ferret, which gives surprisingly accurate readings. 

What’s Included?

The Flute Ferret consists of a water level Indicator made from two glass tubes secured in a holder. The Indicator stands on three steel legs and has two thin silicone tubes. One has a red mouthpiece tube at the end. The other is connected to the probe which goes into the flute.

The probe itself is a steel rod with a plastic head which has a hole where the air pressure is measured from. There are two rings of soft rubber on either side. At the other end of the probe there’s a knurled nut. 

Notes for Usage

When in use, the knurled nut compresses the soft rubber rings, which expands enough to seal off the tube of any concert Flute perfectly. This allows you to situate the white band underneath a pad, tighten up the nut to compress the rubber and completely seal the tube on either side of the tonehole. To read the pad, you simply put the mouthpiece tube in your mouth and suck gently while watching the water in the Indicator. The suction will move the liquid up the tube.

Once you’ve moved it 3-5 inches, you close the flute key using normal finger pressure and release the suction. If the pad seal is 100% air-tight the water levels will remain stationary. If on the other hand the levels quickly return to zero (equal) there is a large leak. The rate at which the levels change is a measure of the size of the leak. 

Our Thoughts

Once set up, the action is quick and handy. You can move the probe quickly from tonehole to tonehole to assess each pad. With some practice you can even use it to determine what type of leak you are dealing with. When testing this tool we found it was much quicker than using a feeler gauge or leak light. This is because the Flute Ferret assesses the whole pad at once, without much movement of the hand or the Flute.

You can of course use it during a new instrument setup, but it is also valuable as a diagnostics tool. It shows the player how the compression is lost where the pads leak. During testing in the workshop we also found it useful as a quick control test at the end of a service or repair.

The Flute Ferret requires no other power supply than your own breath, and the tool comes with thorough and clear instructions. It even has some practice tests to do and further info on how to determine the type of leak.

You can buy the Flute Ferret here on our website.

Please Note: This item requires filling with liquid and some assembly by the user. We ship the unit empty to avoid issues in transit.