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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:08 pm 
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I'm now thinking most recent 'blackwood' flutes are dyed or stained to achieve true black


I very much doubt a quality flute will be dyed. As I said above, after turning blackwood can be distinctly brown but turns to black in 6-12 months.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:11 pm 
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seems to tend more towards dark brown and even reddish brown, than coal black


From what I've read it it can vary from dark brown to almost black, also like other timbers it'll darken slightly with age. My flute started off red(ish) brown and has darkened over the years.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:16 pm 
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Who made the flute?

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:46 pm 
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hpinson wrote:
I just looked up African Blackwood, Grenadilla, and stock blanks that are available seems to tend more towards dark brown and even reddish brown, than coal black. Grain is similar to what is now exposed, so I think you are right Jim. I'm now thinking most recent 'blackwood' flutes are dyed or stained to achieve true black. Perhaps in the past true black coloration was more common. Maybe a maker could respond? I imagine with CITES it will become harder and harder to get.


I'll chip in here, hpinson, as a flute maker. Definitely no dyes involved around here! Blackwood is mostly pretty black in the dry stick, sometimes tending very dark brown or charcoal grey, or including some brown or dark grey highlights, but once turned, polished and oiled it ends up very black all by itself. I haven't tried the effects of beer on it, but wouldn't expect to see much.

I just went down to the workshop, selected a nice blank billet of dry blackwood, and scrubbed parts of it with rags soaked in alcohol (methylated spirits), acetone, petrol (gasoline) and water. No significant change noted from any of them.

The only thing I'm aware of that sometimes bleaches these woods are some player's body fluids!

Which then lead me to try the effect of rubbing some battery acid (Sulphuric Acid, H2SO4) on it. Still no effect!

I'm wondering if the flute in question is not blackwood, but dyed to resemble it?

I remember a maker (from London?) many years ago who painted his flutes to make them black.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:37 pm 
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Nanohedron, I prefer not to name the maker.

Terry, thanks for your insight. Yes, I suspect it was an alcohol soluble dye used to darken the timber. Regardless it is still attractive, just now the middle section and part of the foot is affected and I am going to leave it alone. I was just curious if dying wood is part of the making process, and it sounds like for you no, but for other makers you have encountered maybe yes. Either way does not really bother me - has no affect on playability. Just going to leave it be.

I can say that there was no claim to any particular type of wood when I bought it used. Whatever the wood is, it is solid, close-grained, and heavy.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:53 pm 
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If you dunk the whole instrument in beer, perhaps you will regain
the uniformity you lost. Happy St. Pat's, y'awl!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:19 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Who made the flute?


hpinson wrote:
Nanohedron, I prefer not to name the maker.


Never mind that, who made the beer? :lol: If Terry McGee can't get a similar reaction on the flute wood from Sulphuric Acid , I'd want to avoid a pint of it were I ever in your neck of the woods.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:10 am 
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We have a song in Australia, Irishmuse, called Bluey Brink, and it details just such a case:

http://folkstream.com/008.html

and, hpinson, exactly so. There are many timbers that work just fine for our flutes, so providing you're happy with the results, the particular species isn't important.

In my experience, the important features are density, fineness (which often, but not inevitably, go together) and water resistance. Not many timbers are naturally water resistant (blackwood seems to be one that is), but fortunately, we seem to be able to confer water resistance to many of those less naturally non-resistant.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:52 pm 
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Gotta second what Terry McGee wrote:

and, hpinson, exactly so. There are many timbers that work just fine for our flutes, so providing you're happy with the results, the particular species isn't important.

If the insrument suits you and performs well, it can even be a dyed Shesham-wood FLO from the sub-continent of southern Asia. :D

Bob

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:34 pm 
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"I remember a maker (from London?) many years ago who painted his flutes to make them black."
You could be thinking of Tom Ganley, of Loughglynn Co. Roscommon in Ireland. His later flutes actually improved (there was no other direction to go).


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:57 pm 
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Yes, indeed, Tom Ganley it was. For some reason I thought he was in London (perhaps he was for a while). And good to hear his flutes improved. I think whatever timber his early (painted) ones were made from was probably part of the problem. It was very light, and not fine, making it a very lossy container for the vibrating air column to try to thrive in.

Rather like my "Pine Prattens" - a very bad instrument I made to disprove the theory that the material a flute is made from doesn't influence the tone. If it's bad enough, it will. Reductio ad absurdum.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:00 am 
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Terry, did you ever try treating your pine Pratten with tung oil or any other penetrating coating that wouldn't change tbe bore dimensions?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:08 am 
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Terry McGee wrote:
(...)

Rather like my "Pine Prattens" - a very bad instrument I made to disprove the theory that the material a flute is made from doesn't influence the tone. If it's bad enough, it will. Reductio ad absurdum.

I would love to see that Pine Prattens... Is there a picture on your website?

I knew a guy who made a pine Fender Jazz Bass that was absolutely terrible too...


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:19 pm 
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It's an extraordinary flute, and I'm very happy with it. It saw its share of abuse this last SPD though. Besides the beer spill, the silver ring at end of the foot fell off and is lost. I never should have taken it out gigging.

I just oiled it, and that helps darken.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:23 pm 
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It had to be a great party :lol: :lol: :lol:

Well, I have a friend who used to put tape next to the embouchure, to fix it better, and after remove it, the wood changed it color.

After a few days the wood (mopane) recovered it original look. And I agree tha alchohol shouldn´t be a problem, beer has 6-8% of volume. Just wait some days and see what happens.

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