Following are guidelines for taking care of your shakuhachi flute:
• Do not subject the instrument to extreme changes in temperature. Never leave your shakuhachi flute in direct sunlight or near sources of heating and air conditioning, even for short periods of time.
• Bamboo is sensitive to extreme changes in temperature and humidity. Stabilizing these conditions while storing your flute will ensure its longevity. In most temperate climates a lined cloth case will suffice and is recommended.
• Do not allow your shakuhachi to become too dry. Applying walnut oil two or three times a year will help to seal in moisture. A few drops rubbed into the bamboo is sufficient. Wipe off excess. Do not allow the surface of the
flute to become gummy.
• In the event of splitting, don't panic! If the bamboo is unbound, even a small crack should be dealt with immediately before it penetrates through to the bore of the instrument. Contact Hosetsu Shakuhachi as soon as possible to arrange for repair. Do not attempt to seal a serious crack by filling it with glue. 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 at either end near a binding. Though Hosetsu flutes with binding are guaranteed, it is often easiest to seal the split yourself. 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.) Binding the flute is the best insurance against splitting. See my Guarantee
• Always run a tsuyutoshi (cleaning cloth) through the bore of the shakuhachi after playing. Leaving moisture inside the flute allows dust and dirt to build up along the bore and will affect the tone of the instrument. Be very careful when cleaning the bore. Place your thumb over the utaguchi to protect its fine edge, then carefully drop the weight and string into the flute. Pull slowly until the cloth enters the bore without allowing the string to drag against the top as this may damage the blowing edge. Pull the cloth through, then clean again.