If you want your flute to be in perfect shape, it's important to take good care of it by waxing and oiling it on a regular basis. This will protect the flute from drying out, enhance the sound, and it will bring back alive the colours of the wood.
1: Waxing the outside of your flute
As from 2022*, all Prana flutes are finished with a 100% natural Tung oil and hardwax finish. This exterior, low-satin finish can be maintained by waxing your flute, enhancing the sheen and vividness of your flute over time. If your flute has a Tung oil and hardwax finish, it was shipped with a container of Prana Flute Wax for maintenance.
During its first year I advise to go through this waxing process every 3 months. After one year, ideally you should continue waxing once every year, or if the flute starts to look 'dull' to you.
It's ok but not necessary to wax your flute more often however if you do so, please wait at least 4 weeks between every waxing so the last layer of wax is fully cured before adding another one.
How to wax the outside of your flute:
1: Gently untie the leather strap and remove the totem from your flute.
2: With a piece of cotton apply the Prana flute wax to the totem and outside of your flute, working in circular motions. Be extra careful not to scratch or damage the shallow track and sound holes that normally lie underneath the totem.
3: Let the wax dry on your flute for 15-20 minutes.
4: Strongly but carefully, buff off the wax completely. The friction will create some heat for the wax to be applied even better.
5: Let your flute rest for 24 hours.
(5b): Optionally oil the inside of your flute following the description below.
6: Clean the outside of your flute and totem with a paper towel or a piece of cotton.
7: Tie the totem and leather strap to your flute and make sure it is positioned correctly.
TIP: Always make sure your container with wax is sealed properly after using it. If not, the wax may dry out and become unusable.
* If your flute was crafted before 2022 it was finished with Shellac (high gloss) and doesn't need any waxing.
2: Oiling the inside of your flute
Native American flutes have two separate chambers: the Slow Air Chamber (SAC) on the side of the mouthpiece, and the main bore that has the playing holes. Both are kept in good condition by oiling it, but the SAC is most important to oil frequently, as it will get in touch with moisture every time you play it.
When used very often, it is recommended to oil the SAC once every month, and the bore once every six months.
Oiling the inside of your flute will prevent the wood from drying out (and in rare cases even crack) and it will also prevent fungi and bacteria to start growing on the inside of your flute.
My recommendation is to use sweet almond oil. This oil is a natural product that is effective against fungi and bacteria. Furthermore sweet almond oil is widely available since it's used as a cosmetic product.
A) How to oil the SAC of your flute:
0: Do not play your flute for at least 24 hours to make sure it is fully dry.
1: Gently untie the leather strap and remove the totem from your flute (or, start 24 hours after waxing the outside of your flute while it is still open).
2: Hold your flute horizontally and put a fair amount of oil into the SAC through the round hole next to the shallow track (normally covered by the totem).
3: Seal the mouthpiece with your finger and position the flute upside down, so the oil will flow towards your finger.
4: Twist the flute approx. 60°, place a finger (other hand) on the round hole that was used to administer the oil (do NOT touch the rectangular hole), sealing it as well, and flip the flute so the oil will now flow towards your second finger. Do not worry if a little bit of the oil escapes from the SAC.
5: Repeat twisting and flipping the flute until the oil has touched the entire inside of the SAC.
6: Clean your flute with paper towels (always taking extra care not to damage or scratch the rectangular hole) and place your flute upside down. Let the remaining oil flow out and let it sit like this for 30-60 minutes.
7: Clean the flute with paper towels and now place your flute in upright position, slightly leaning towards a wall (or on a flute stand), with the entrance hole to the SAC facing to the wall. This will give chance for the remaining oil to come out. Let it sit like this for 30-60 minutes.
8: Clean your flute with a paper towel and let it dry for another 24 hours, or continue oiling the main bore of your flute.
9: Tie the totem and leather strap to your flute and make sure it is positioned correctly.
B) How to oil the main bore of your flute:
1: Gently untie the leather strap and remove the totem from your flute
2a: Hold your flute upside down and drip some oil in the main bore, rotating the flute until the oil comes out of the rectangular hole. You can repeat this several times to make sure the whole bore was oiled. Or:
2b: Place a piece of cotton into a flute cleaning rod, generously wet it with oil, and use it to oil the main bore.
3: Let your flute stand in upright position for about 30-60 minutes for all the oil to come out.
4: Clean your flute with a paper towel and let it dry for another 24 hours,.
5: Tie the totem and leather strap to your flute and make sure it is positioned correctly.
That's it. Your flute is now in perfect shape again. Well done!