I love making flutes! There is tremendous satisfaction derived from turning a stick, beautiful as it may be, into a musical instrument!
My effort is to leave as many of the sticks attributes as possible. Insect marks, knots and shape give each flute an identifiable uniqueness. Each flute is has its own personality, like people, yet there are qualities that I feel are important to be present in all of my flutes.
A full sensory experience is how I heard someone describe one of my flutes. This caused a great smile within because this is my effort…
Keeping the flute as close to the natural shape as possible allows a person’s hands to course over what was once a stick. They feel the curves and hills and knots–a journey for the hands. Sanding up to 2000 (sometimes 2500) gives the flute an extra “soft” smooth feel also.
I deliberately locate grain patterns, figuring and knots of both the flute and the saddle so that they enhance each other and compliment the overall line of the flute. I am able to accomplish this because my flutes are built from a hand-bored solid body. With no seam I am able to choose which surface will be pleasing for the eye.
When building flutes I incorporate the qualities that I look for as a flute player. Rich and full voice with balanced tonal qualities. This includes being able to reach and sustain the upper end of the scale of this flute. Utilizing a round sound mechanism gives the flute a soft mellow voice while at the same time not being a quiet instrument. While not being overly loud my flutes voice carry quite well.
When playing I also feel that being relaxed and centered is important. The round sound mechanism allows one to breathe into their flute rather than blowing into it thereby making the upper notes/octave easy to reach and sustain.
I finish the flutes with cold-pressed walnut oil which is purchased at a health food store. The oil protects the wood quite well, it lets the wood breathe and is non-toxic. Because the oil does not dry to a hard finish one can still smell and taste the wood. This oil if applied twice yearly will keep the flute healthy and over time a nice patina will develop.
When a flute is finished I again offer my thanksgiving for this gift of the flute and being able to build them. ~ Hawk