• Bamboo is sensitive to extreme changes in temperature and humidity. Stabilizing these conditions while storing your flute will help ensure its longevity. In most climates a cloth flute bag lined with a vapor barrier will work well and is what I recommend. If using a lined cloth bag, please be sure to clean out the interior of your shakuhachi and make sure it’s dry before storing.
• Do not leave your shakuhachi flute in direct sunlight or near sources of heating and air conditioning, even for short periods of time, as this will drastically increase the chances of your flute cracking.
• Do not allow your shakuhachi to become too dry. Applying pure walnut or tung oil three or four times a year will help stabilize moisture in the bamboo. A few drops rubbed into the bamboo will be fine. Important: Do not oil the inside of lacquered flutes. Wipe off excess oil to avoid having your flute become sticky.
• If the Shakuhachi is unbound, even a small crack should be dealt with promptly before it penetrates through to the bore of the instrument. Contact me as soon as possible to arrange for repair. Please do not try to seal a serious crack by filling it with glue, as this will make it very difficult to repair the bamboo properly later on.
If the flute is bound and a crack appears, it will usually stop near a binding. Though my flutes with bindings are guaranteed, it is often easiest to seal the split yourself if it is very small. Apply a small amount of low viscosity super glue into the crack, allowing it to penetrate and dry thoroughly. Remove residue with fine (#0000) steel wool. (Being careful not to scrape off the skin of the bamboo or damage bindings.) Binding the flute is the best insurance against splitting. *See my Guarantee below.
• Always run a tsuyutoshi (cleaning cloth) through the bore of your shakuhachi after playing. Moisture left on the inside of your flute will allow dust and grime to build up inside and over time, will affect the tone of the instrument. Important: do not use rubbing alcohol or any other type of solvent to clean the inside as this will damage the lacquer. Instead, if your flute needs extra cleaning, use a small amount of white vinegar mixed with water and lightly moisten a cleaning cloth with the solution. Place your thumb over the utaguchi to protect its fine edge, then carefully drop the weight and string in. Pull the cleaning cloth through the flute slowly and repeat if necessary to obtain a clean bore.
Questions? Please feel free to contact me