I'm new to this forum as a posting member, though I've been lurking for many years. As was mentioned, I started my flute making journey with the Native American style flute, but in the last five years I've taken a strong interest in other kinds of woodwinds, and for the last three years I've been doing serious research and development around creating low whistles, Irish flutes and wooden head joints for silver flutes. The whistles were the first to be ready to launch, but the Irish flutes and head joints will be going public this fall.
I was fortunate to know some serious whistle aficionados who were able to assist me, in particular Kevin Reams. Kevin and I have known one another through the NAF community for some ten years, and I knew him to be an avid whistler with very high standards and an eye and ear for detail. I engaged him in the capacity of Ruthless Field Tester! I wanted someone who knew their way around a whistle (and who had played a wide variety of them) to play my prototypes and to be brutally honest with me about how they stacked up. His assistance proved invaluable. He was ideal for the job because he had a great, helpful attitude but I knew he wouldn't pull his punches or give me any praise that was not earned.
If they have any similarities to the work of Misha Somerville, there is a good reason for that
They are heavily influenced by his design, and I don't mind admitting that figuring out a way to approach that sort of design using wood instead of metal was...challenging
. That sounds better than "heinously difficult and frustrating", doesn't it? His work is superb and if I was going to seek inspiration from metal whistles then I doubt I could find better than MKs.
Hopefully some of the hard core whistlers will eventually try my wooden versions and be able to provide reviews and feedback (I appreciate hearing any evaluations, positive or negative).