You’ll see on the product pages that each flute is in two pieces; the body and the block – and I always make sure to tell you which wood they’re made from. Now is when I tell you the characteristics of each wood that I have so far used, to help you choose your flute.
Ash, Maple, Sycamore
These three woods are all pale, almost white, very hard woods with pale brown rings in the grain. They’re a joy to work and produce a lovely sounding flute; however a lot of the time there’s not much detail to the grain and therefore there’s often no overt beauty to the wood itself. There are of course exceptions; look at Hanble Span in the catalogue which has an outstanding grain pattern.
Oak has a yellowish brown colour and dark rings; it’s distinctive because of the tiny holes in the grain of the rings. It’s a reasonably hard wood but works nicely with tools and flutes made from it have quite a distinctive sound. This flute is made (mostly) of European Oak, as are the tips of the bird.
Sapele has a distinctively deep reddish brown colour and is very hard; working it is particularly difficult as it’s extremely fibrous – when filed instead of getting smooth it releases fibres like a rubbed rope. However, perseverence is very rewarding as it has a deep lustre to its finished colour and sounds amazing to play. The centre section of the flute above is made of Sapele, as is the “Mourning Snake” flute in the catalogue.
Western Red Cedar (or “Hante” in Lakota)
This is a sacred wood to the Lakota tribe and they use it often to make flutes. It’s extremely light and strong; although it’s soft and the surface damages easily so needs looking after. It has a wide range of colours and grain patterns; some pale yellowish with strong, notable swirly grain; and some a deep red brown with straight lines for grain… and everything in between! It’s really easy to work with and is one of my favourite woods. Quite a few of the flutes in the catalogue are made from it.
Walnut is a delight to work with – cuts straight and true, has tight, swirly grain patterns, and has a lovely dark colour with a satin finish.
I don’t often work with pine because it’s so soft; but when I see a piece with particularly nice grain or colour I’ll use it. Wazican (in the catalogue) came from such a piece and because the wood is soft and the grain widely spaced, it has a wonderful, softened, rounded sound you can’t get from other woods.
Cherry is a reddish brown colour; sometimes with a hint of pink, and is quite a hard wood. It finishes like satin and makes a very beautiful flute.
Beech is hard, and has almost no “grain” for the most part – instead having a pale brown colour with dark red “flecks” scattered on it. It’s hard work but rewarding; the flutes are very pretty and sound great.
This is notable because I’ve only ever used it once; it’s a very exotic wood, very VERY hard (it’s like working granite) with an extremely pronounced, swirly grain in an almost white colour against a very very deep brown background. It’s captivating when you see it in person. There’s a flute of the same name in the catalogue.