The correct handling of your handpan in 6 points
1. Avoid undesired mechanical forces and pay attention to safe transport
In addition to dents, scratches and quirks, falls, bumps or any objects falling on the handpan can also lead to an immediate upset. It is therefore particularly important that you keep your instrument safe and, above all, out of the reach of children playing around when it is not being played. In fact, we've heard stories of out-of-tune sound fields from toddlers riding the handpan.
If you transport your handpan, we recommend a good security and stable protection. Both are fulfilled by our selection of backpack bags.
A soft case such as the Softcase Pro , Kita Softcase or SmartyBag with soft padding is sufficient for casual everyday use such as excursions into nature, taking it to work, to friends or to jam sessions. Our hard cases, such as the Evatek Pro or Avaya fiberglass hard case, offer the greatest security for your instrument. If you want to take your instrument with you on the plane, you should also get a flight case or appropriate inserts - these allow you to take your handpan with you in the hold without any problems. Our Flyroll Pro offers you maximum long-distance comfort.
If you want to be on the safe side against theft, you can protect all bags with our number code , which is even authorized for American flight security TSA-compliant and you can easily pass the controls without any worries.
2. Rust and patina: Only leave your handpan in a closed backpack or case for as short a time as necessary and avoid permanent moistureHandpans are made of steel, which has the physical property that when it comes into contact with oxygen (= oxygen ) and moisture, it begins to oxidize , better known as rusting. Basically, handpans are divided into two types of steel: Nitrided steel and stainless steel, which also includes Ember Steel as a special stainless steel alloy.
First, let's look at why steel rusts in the first place and what happens when it does. Normal steel consists of the basic chemical element iron (Fe) and a carbon content (C) of up to just under 2.1%. If this comes into contact with air (oxygen) and moisture, a mixture of iron oxides forms with the incorporation of water, which we know as a whole as rust. This has a very porous structure, which tends to flake off. Over time, steel can be completely decomposed.
The technical specification for stainless steel initially means all alloyed, unalloyed and rustproof variants that comply with a certain degree of purity. What is meant by this is the quantity of so-called iron companions that come from iron production, such as sulfur and phosphorus, which is below a limit value. In contrast, the colloquial term stainless steel always means the non-rusting variant of the technical specification for stainless steel.
How does stainless steel not rust and why can signs of rust still occur?
Stainless steel contains chromium (Cr) in a proportion of at least 2%. Instead of iron oxide layers, the reaction with oxygen and water forms a firmly adhering chromium oxide layer, which heals itself in the event of mechanical damage and protects against rust. This prevents "rusting" in the depths of the material in the case of rustproof stainless steel. The crux of the matter is that the protective layer can only form and remain on clean surfaces. Sulfur dioxide from exhaust fumes, salty sweat or water can damage them. If extraneous steel is applied to the stainless steel, for example in the form of dust, extraneous rust or so-called flash rust can form. Regular handpan care is therefore absolutely necessary, even for stainless steel handpans.
The higher the proportion of additional chemically more noble elements in steel, one speaks of a higher alloy, and vice versa. Nitrided steel is usually low-alloy steel. Nitrogen is added to this in a process for surface hardening at high temperatures, which is therefore also referred to as nitriding. Nitrides form in the material for high strength, which also provide protection against corrosion. It is therefore more rust-resistant, but not rust-proof per se like the chromium-based stainless steel variants. Corrosion can be prevented and prevented with appropriate care. Conclusion: Handpans made of both stainless steel and nitrided steel should be regularly provided with a protective film of oil.
Because it is rarely explained, one of the most fatal mistakes that many newcomers make is to keep the instrument in a locked bag. This can lead to very unpleasant surprises, especially in high humidity. The textiles and plastics that backpack bags are made of can store moisture. When closed, a locked handpan is permanently exposed to condensing moisture. This can damage the surface through oxidation. We therefore expressly recommend that you only keep your handpan in your backpack for transport or otherwise at least have the bag open so that the material can breathe freely. We think our handpans are so beautiful anyway that it is always worth exhibiting them in a special way and we have a whole variety of handpan stands and holders ready for you. For longer trips with the backpack bag closed, there are extra dehumidifiers that can simply be placed inside the bag. The pads or sachets are filled with moisture-wicking ingredients, such as rice.
Other long-lasting moisture, such as in damp rooms, should also be avoided. You don't have to worry if your handpan gets wet. We find playing in flowing water or in the rain to be a very touching experience, which we expressly recommend to you. Then simply dry your handpan very thoroughly, including the interior of your sound box. In the event of contact with chlorinated or salty water, thorough cleaning with alcohol and subsequent oiling as described under point 5 is essential in order to give unsightly stains on the surface no chance at all.
3. Make sure that your handpan does not overheat
Warnings are often given against leaving a handpan in the sun or exposing it to other forms of heating, such as placing it on or near a radiator. We generally ascribe an above-average tolerance to our high-quality handpans, compared to cheap Asian imports, mass-produced handpans or handpans made by inexperienced manufacturers, where there is actually a risk of immediate irritation from a single heating. We test our instruments for heat resistance and guarantee tuning stability even after regular heating processes.
On a physical level, when the material is heated, its molecular structure changes; it softens and expands. This causes an audible pitch difference in the sound fields for a short time and can sound out of tune if there is an uneven change. This is completely normal and need not worry you with our quality handpans. Because as soon as the temperature cools down again, the mood returns to its normalized frequency for room temperature.
However, it is important that you do not play on your handpan when it is heated to be on the safe side. Since the material is softer, harder stops can lead to even the tiniest of deformations, which can lead to premature detuning even when it cools down. Only play your handpan again after it has cooled down at its own pace and never shock it with cold water or the like, as extreme temperature differences in particular can have critical effects.
It cannot be ruled out per se that regular heating can lead to a shortening of the tuning period. With proper treatment, this natural period of time, in which the instrument retains its tuning, is between 3 and 5 years for our instruments, depending on the manufacturer.
4. Wash your hands before playing
This rule is as effective as it is simple! The surfaces of handpans, especially the protective layer of those made of stainless steel, are very sensitive to the salts and acids that naturally occur in your sweat. This can lead to discoloration and permanent stains. So it's a good idea to wash your hands before playing, especially after eating or doing any crafts involving chemicals. We recommend that you train a reflex right from the start to wipe your instrument with a dry, fine-meshed and clean cloth after each session. The more experienced you are in it, the more entertaining the movements become and the more automatically you protect your sound miracle on a regular basis. Because the best concern remains prevention.
5. Maintain your handpan regularly
You can find useful handpan care products and care sets in our special accessories for handpan care .
Clean hand pan
If a lot of grease, fingerprints and sweat residues have accumulated on the handpan, first remove them with a high-percentage rubbing alcohol*. This easily removes dirt, stains or old oil residues. In the case of normal soiling such as dust formation, a damp wipe is sufficient.
*Cleaning with alcohol does not apply to our Black Magic series as it has an extra anti-corrosion coating and this could react to alcohol and become detached. There is a special care milk for them that cleans and protects 2in1 at the same time.
Oil the hand pan
After each cleaning, a handpan must be oiled again. You can use high-quality vegetable oil, which, if used frequently, could also leave a sticky layer on the handpan, which is therefore uncritical as it can be removed again with alcohol. Ballistol oil, traditionally used to treat and protect steel and metals, can also be used for handpans. But this smells intense and is perceived by some as unpleasant. We offer you a professional alternative with care oils that are perfectly tailored to the handpan.
How do I oil my handpan correctly?
Spread a few drops of oil on the surface of your instrument. Over time, you will learn to correctly estimate the amount you need. Use a microfiber cloth to spread the oil evenly. The oilier your microfiber cloth already is, the less new oil is necessary for a fully covered shine layer. In the light you can control your result. You can take care of the upper and lower shell one after the other.
Leave the oil on overnight. This creates a protective film that prevents rusting and thus maintains the steel in the long term.
A brief summary of the cleaning in 8 steps:
- Never store your handpan in a bag. Textiles store moisture, which affects the steel of your handpan and can lead to corrosion and rusting. Therefore, store your handpan so that it can breathe freely.
- Wash your hands before every game. In this way you reduce the involuntary application of harmful substances such as salts and acids to your handpan.
- Remove dirt, grease, salts and acids from your handpan every 1-2 weeks with a high-percentage rubbing alcohol.
- After cleaning, apply enough care oil to the clean and dry surface of your handpan and spread it evenly with a microfiber cloth so that the entire handpan is covered with a shiny layer of oil.
- To remove stains, tarnishing and fingerprints, polish with a microfiber cloth.
- After oiling, let your handpan rest for about 12 hours so that the oil can adhere and a protective patina develops.
- If the handpan is still greasy after it has taken effect, simply remove the residue with a microfibre cloth.
- After each game, wipe your handpan with the still oily microfiber cloth to lightly oil the surface and remove salts and acids from your skin.
-> You can find comprehensive instructions for handpan care here
6. Play purely with hands and keep a moderate intensity in the attack
As the name suggests, we recommend playing handpans exclusively with your hands. We know videos from some low-cost suppliers of inexpensive mass products, in which the playability with clapper is advertised. In our opinion, mallets are only needed if the handpan does not produce enough audible tones due to manual touching and therefore rounds off the picture of immature instruments. Otherwise, we strongly advise against using even mallets with padded striking surfaces, since the feeling for the velocity is not nearly as good as with direct hands. We play intuitively with our hands, which means that the probability of damage to the instrument is much smaller. Should you have injuries or be restricted with your hands, mallets can be a valuable exception as a special aid. We would then like to invite you to be more cautious due to the increased risk.
A moderate playing style is also important with hands. It is true that our selected instruments are particularly stable. Even with our quality promise, a permanently too rough and firm attack can shorten the detuning time of each instrument. That doesn't mean that you can't try it out and use more intensive hitting techniques. At this point we want to invite you to be careful and slow, to learn to recognize the load limits of your handpan by feeling and hearing. The instrument reports back to you if you hit it too hard, in that the material overdrives and sounds uncomfortable.