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13 – Troubleshooting

I left this until last simply because the posts in this series have been long enough, without adding text about the problems you can encounter as you go along. 1. Leaks. If the bore is not completely airtight, the tuning will go wonky, the flute won’t play well, and things will be pretty awful in general. […]

12 – Final Finishing, and Marking

So – that’s it, isn’t it? The flute is tuned TO PERFECTION, and will play beautifully… sadly only for about a week. Now we need to “Finish” the flute to prevent environmental conditions getting into it and wrecking our carefully crafted wood’s shape and size. This has the interesting and fortunate side-effect of making our […]

11 – Fine Tuning

So – we’ve coarse-tuned – the flute was roughly correct when we left it last night, and it’s now been a good 12-24 hours since we did anything with heat. It is 18°C in our shop, and we’ve cut the block which our flute is going to run the rest of its life with. Play […]

10 – Cutting a Block

I’m putting this next simply because the shape and construction of the bird can make a huge difference to the sound and tuning of the flute… so until we have the flute’s final block, we can’t effectively tune it! But – here you’re only really limited by your imagination and one small rule; NO LEAKS! The block […]

9 – Initial Tuning

Tuning This is where we get more “mathy”. (Mathsy for us Brits 😉 ). There are a number of ways to work out where the holes go on a flute, and that’s just for “Minor Pentatonic”. There’s the “Flutomat” at Flutopedia; there’s an Excel Spreadsheet by Bob Grealish, also on Flutopedia; and there’s a nice “rule of Thumb” […]

8 – Initial Finishing

So – having done the basic shaping, what we now have is a flute-shaped tube with a gaping hole in the front surface; it is rough, unpolished and has no playing holes. The next parts could be done in either order – it doesn’t really matter… but I prefer to do the initial sanding now, […]

7 – Testing, Shaping and Final Key Selection.

Remove From the Clamps and Test Loosen your clamp from the centre outwards if possible (depends on how you’ve clamped). Do it nice and slowly and listen for any telltale “click” sounds from the joint (there should not be any). If you’re using a clamp like mine, then slide the flute carefully out from between […]

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6 – Cutting the True Sound Hole; and gluing up.

OK now it starts to get finicky, and you have the maximum potential for making a stick with holes in, as opposed to a flute. At every stage here you have to be ultra careful and use gentle taps on chisels, cut little and often, and line up twice, cut once. From the Outside Line […]

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5 – Cutting the Ramp & Flue

Finally! Finally we get to the part where we do some cutting! Edge Cuts Clamp the front half of the blank into the vice, with the outside uppermost. Place your 10mm chisel (flat side towards you) at the south end of the “box” – accurately – so that the blade lies along the line, running North […]

4 – Marking and Routing

Everyone I ever spoke to about woodwork says the same thing… measure twice, or three times, and cut once. Never was this more important advice than with flutes – most of the dimensions are critical to good sound. So when you mark, double check your marking before making any kind of cut. Marking Up First thing’s […]

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