Bansuri is a pretty simple instrument and needs very little maintenance. However, some simple steps help maintain it longer.
After you play the Bansuri for a while, it helps to keep it open rather then putting it back in the case immediately. This helps dry the dampness created by breathing into the Bansuri. Keeping sachets of silica gel inside the case also helps.
It may be a good idea to oil the Bansuri once in a while. The frequency of oiling will really depend on where you live and how the climatic conditions are. If you live in a hot dry area, you may need to oil the Bansuri more frequently.
Traditionally, mustard oil is used to oil the Bansuri. Even though mustard oil has good preserving properties, I personally do not like it because of its strong odour. Some alternatives are – walnut oil, sesame oil or even linseed oil. I personally prefer linseed oil in spite of its rather strong smell, since it seems to season the Bansuri well. I have noticed marked improvement in tone of Bansuri after treating it with Linseed oil. You should use the refined linseed oil – similar to the one used by painters. Be careful as linseed oil is sometimes also available in much higher viscosity and it can make the Bansuri sticky. [amazon_link id=”B000GRQDD0″ target=”_blank” ]You can buy linseed oil on Amazon.com.[/amazon_link]
Create a swab using long wand (I use the wand used with window blinds) and attach a loose piece of cloth to it. Wet it with the oil that you want to apply. Apply a thin coat of oil on the inside of the Bansuri. Oil the Bansuri till about ½ inch away from the embouchure. Allow the bamboo to soak up the oil before playing the Bansuri again.
It is worth noting here, that some Bansuri players and Bansuri makers do not recommend oiling the Bansuri.
Bansuri is quite susceptible to length-wise mechanical shocks. A small surface crack can easily resonate and rip the bamboo apart. To protect the Bansuri against such shocks, it is customary to tie threads around the Bansuri to hold it together. These threads also serve as aesthetic enhancers. Usually the Bansuri flutemaker will tie these threads for you.
Bansuri is extremely susceptible to thermal shocks. If it is exposed to cold weather and then if you play it immediately, the shock created by warm air being blown it can crack the Bansuri. Bansuri must be protected against extreme temperatures. Before beginning to play the Bansuri, do make sure to warm it up with your palms if it is too cold.
Various types of Bansuri cases are available in the market. The essential component of a good case is the hard protection to the Bansuri. A PVC pipe is usually a simple and wonderful protector. Most cases will be built around a PVC pipe or similar hard protector. That is really what you need.
I also discovered that the cases used to carry Billiard Cue sticks work very well for Bansuris. They are pretty fancy looking, have the hard shell protection and are relatively inexpensive.