Flute making Apprentices

The Chiff & Fipple Irish Flute on-line community. Sideblown for your protection.
PB+J
Posts: 1126
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:40 am
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: Hello. I'm a historian and musician living near Washington DC. I play the bass and guitar and focus on jazz. I'm interested for reasons I can't quite explain in Irish music. I play the flute.

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by PB+J »

A flutemakng retreat! Sounds fascinating. Open to anyone, or only experienced people?
User avatar
Geoffrey Ellis
Posts: 495
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:15 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: Crafting fine quality folk flutes from around the world since 1997, my goal is to create beautiful instruments that have the best possible voice, tuning and response by mixing modern methods with traditional designs.
Contact:

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by Geoffrey Ellis »

waltsweet wrote: If a person wants to make flutes, and wants to test several rates of taper for the reamer, but has no reamer, I have an alternative. Instead of making a reamer, make a smooth, tapered mandrel. Can be easily made in aluminum. To use, get a decent piece of wood; Mexican Rosewood is much cheaper than blackwood. Drill thru with clearance (step-drilling is even better; see below). Allow about a millimeter of clearance all around (check now, not after waxing). Buy the large tubes of 5-minute epoxy at Harbor Freight. Apply a thin coat of beeswax to the mandrel, and use it as a core: daub the mix into the big opening, and displace the resin all the way up. Cure overnight at least. If you have a drying box with light bulbs, it will help release the core (use a hammer or a press). Proceed making this into a flute. If the taper is wrong, make another mandrel and repeat. A hard, wooden bore is better than the epoxy, but only marginally. The main principles of tuning and acoustic will reliably be proved-out by using the epoxy method. Once you're happy with the design, you can commit to a reamer. To make the flute that's an excellent flute, there will be plenty of work regarding the physical scale (tonehole lattice), shape of the toneholes, length of head, cork placement and treatment of the blowhole.
This is brilliant! I've made lots of reamers and I've done cast-bore flutes, but I have not actually considered this method as a way to test a reamer profile before making the reamer! Soooo much easier to make an aluminum taper. Great tip.
User avatar
waltsweet
Posts: 159
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 4:01 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Location: Enfield, CT
Contact:

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by waltsweet »

The retreat would be open to all. Of course, I wouldn't have time to teach the very basics of using tools.
I'm afraid Mr. Covid has a lot to say about this right now.
User avatar
paddler
Posts: 557
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:19 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Location: Hood River, Oregon, USA
Contact:

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by paddler »

On the subject of step-drilling to save wear on your finish reamers, an alternate or complementary approach
is to use a "roughing reamer". I bought a couple of Chinese reamers on eBay that are perfect for this.

One is a bassoon reamer and the other is an oboe reamer (the large one). They are straight taper reamers with
dimensions that are very close for a range of Irish flutes. You can ream an under-sized, straight taper, using these,
being sure to insert only as far as necessary, and then finish the final profile using your own reamers.

The great thing about these is that they are made of High Speed Steel (HHS), which is extremely hard wearing,
and are multi-bladed, so they can remove a lot of material before dulling. They are very inexpensive compared to
making your own reamers out of HSS. Between the two I have, the dimensions are such that I can rough out sections
for a whole range of flutes in keys between F and low Bb, simply by marking the appropriate insertion length.

They are still being sold on eBay. This is the bassoon reamer is here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-blade-straig ... 459559875
And the relevant oboe reamer is here:

[url]
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Straight-flute- ... 4454018847
[\url]

Both have dimensions as stated and are well made. I've used both and they work very well.
GreenWood
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:00 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: To add to the renaissance flute discussion that is under way. Well, the rest of this field is going to be taken up by a long sentence, which is this one, because a hundred characters are needed before it is accepted.

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by GreenWood »

I sent this to admin, and I don't really expect a reply because I have a fair enough idea of what running a forum is - I'm asking for admin to take some responsibility for what I post for example:


"Hello.

I wanted to start a thread on flute construction resources, but I don't know where is better to post it, or possibly a thread like that exists ?

The rules would be that only respectful publicly available information be linked to, or own work and experience. In other words no posting of details or dimensions of flutes of existing other makers for example. It is a large topic, but searching the web is even more time consuming, and so a list of links and own examples or technical experience I think would be a help. It isn't like everyone is going to just go out and start making their own flutes, especially not wooden ones, in a way that would compete with existing makers (I don't sell flutes I make for example), but it might encourage some to learn or be creative, or gain appreciation, and a few might take up flute making as a vocation ? Terry's site is great for design ideas as well as offering a better view of actual construction , though you have to do some study to build up a full picture of @ dimensions for any flute, there is no reason for him to just publish free plans either - if someone is interested enough they will be bothered to do some work (else I think most are able to pay for the fine detail of plans). The thread though would be more aimed at technical ideas, construction process and so on, rather than actual design.

I don't know, I don't want to step on anyone's own setup either by starting a thread like that, so if you think that might be then just say so and I will drop the idea.

Kind regards
Greenwood."

So seeing as with this thread it took everything at least part way to a construction resource page (is there one now?) and as flute makers are participating on this thread... has anyone anything to say against my starting that thread ? It would be low tech experience, bore drill types and results, drilling jigs, a method of making reamers that involves no steel work , suitable ways to shape toneholes, pole lathes (actually bungee for own) etc.

?
User avatar
Nanohedron
Moderatorer
Posts: 36908
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: Been a fluter, citternist, and uilleann piper; committed now to the way of the harp.

Oh, yeah: also a mod here, not a spammer. A matter of opinion, perhaps.
Location: Lefse country

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by Nanohedron »

GreenWood wrote: Thu Aug 19, 2021 5:31 pm I sent this to admin...
I haven't received anything ...
GreenWood wrote:... I'm asking for admin to take some responsibility for what I post for example:
... but I'm willing to play. I'm assuming that the above somehow stems from your native language and its outlook (you have pretty good English, BTW). At C&F it is understood that admin's only rightful responsibility, broadly speaking, is as caretakers to the Board as a whole, and as occasional referees among the membership. Having read your following content, I'm led to suspect you are hoping for admin consent (yes, consent bears responsibility, but it's not included in the common meaning of "consent"). Per Board policy it is understood that the writer is solely responsible for their own content. Sometimes admin must intervene, but that's it.
GreenWood wrote:... has anyone anything to say against my starting that thread ? It would be low tech experience, bore drill types and results, drilling jigs, a method of making reamers that involves no steel work , suitable ways to shape toneholes, pole lathes (actually bungee for own) etc.
But it's good of you to ask. I personally applaud shared knowledge, but I have no stake in this matter, so I'll also dare to speak on Ben's behalf: Admin will leave this for the membership to sort out if that's what it needs. I'm sure everyone will do the right thing.
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano
GreenWood
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:00 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: To add to the renaissance flute discussion that is under way. Well, the rest of this field is going to be taken up by a long sentence, which is this one, because a hundred characters are needed before it is accepted.

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by GreenWood »

Thanks Nano.

"I'm assuming that the above somehow stems from your native language and its outlook (you speak pretty good English, BTW)."

On another forum I watched admin get drawn into a bitter dispute on content and emerge scathed simply because they had taken an initial stance. I thought though that I should ask someone before starting a thread like that? I'm sort of understanding how it works here and it seems much more straightforward, and respectful for it.

The mail went to Dale, sent from the chiff and fipple page, I have a copy in my mail.

My English is good, but I have lived in England only a few years in all, am Swiss born with one Swiss grandparent, Manx one side (so not far off ) and northerner ( edit for clarity - northern England) the other. Actually as family we are exiled from the UK "for the good of England" for going on a decade now (not that I have done anything wrong) , something another maker might understand somehow but I mention no names... that's just what being a pom has come down to nowadays, sigh.

Well, if no-one objects then I'll start that as a thread in the next few days.

Thanks again.
User avatar
Nanohedron
Moderatorer
Posts: 36908
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: Been a fluter, citternist, and uilleann piper; committed now to the way of the harp.

Oh, yeah: also a mod here, not a spammer. A matter of opinion, perhaps.
Location: Lefse country

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by Nanohedron »

GreenWood wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 11:02 am On another forum I watched admin get drawn into a bitter dispute on content and emerge scathed simply because they had taken an initial stance. I thought though that I should ask someone before starting a thread like that? I'm sort of understanding how it works here and it seems much more straightforward, and respectful for it.
At ChiffCo, admin are committed primarily to keeping the peace, and on occasion we find ourselves called to intervene and/or act in a judicial capacity. When info is erroneous, dangerous or otherwise not to the good, admin first tends to rely on the membership to establish this, and they usually do, for Chiffers are a knowledgeable bunch with a sense of community. Failing that, admin picks up the slack as best we can. What you are proposing includes questions of whether it infringes on proprietary matters, and acknowledging this is good, but for that we must have professional makers weigh in as to whether a hobbyist, disseminating how they make do in their workshop, actually does infringe on proprietary knowledge. TBH, I don't think it does, because pro makers themselves occasionally post on how they do things, but let's hear the pro makers speak their piece. If they remain silent or give consent, then the road is clear. All we ask is that people be reasonable with each other.

The problem with such consent is that there might be differing opinions between makers. That's where admin comes in, because then decisions have to be made. If anyone objects after the fact, we'll deal with it. It's what we're here for.

Here's your go-to resource for how we roll around here.
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano
User avatar
kkrell
Posts: 4535
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2002 6:00 pm
Please enter the next number in sequence: 1
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by kkrell »

I myself have no objection, although I'd like to see such discussion as a separate thread, appropriately titled. I will also direct those interested to perhaps join & view the Flutemakers list at https://groups.io/g/flutemakers . There is also an archive of all the posts previously made when it was hosted at Yahoo. Both lists have participation from pro & amateurs, so not exclusionary.
International Traditional Music Society, Inc.
A non-profit 501c3 charity/educational public benefit corporation
Wooden Flute Obsession CDs (3 volumes, 6 discs, 7 hours, 120 players/tracks)
http://www.worldtrad.org
User avatar
Nanohedron
Moderatorer
Posts: 36908
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: Been a fluter, citternist, and uilleann piper; committed now to the way of the harp.

Oh, yeah: also a mod here, not a spammer. A matter of opinion, perhaps.
Location: Lefse country

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by Nanohedron »

kkrell wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:15 pm ...I'd like to see such discussion as a separate thread, appropriately titled.
Yes.
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano
GreenWood
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:00 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: To add to the renaissance flute discussion that is under way. Well, the rest of this field is going to be taken up by a long sentence, which is this one, because a hundred characters are needed before it is accepted.

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by GreenWood »

Nano

"The problem with such consent is that there might be differing opinions between makers."

That is sort of what I am wary of, because I do not want to upset anyone. Also the site seems more towards the music and instruments themselves and so I'm not sure admin would want to be dealing with any arguments etc. , or just the extra work, of a construction page, when everything seems to work well as is.

Construction is a vast topic, and though what I intend is just some basic but detailed enough method on how to go about building a first simple flute, and some ideas for anyone to take it from there, it is possible a thread like that takes off. The idea is that someone interested is guided through some basics so that they can understand what has to be done, and that their effort is most likely to be rewarded. The information I would post is what I have learned over the past year making several flutes, making errors and finding what works best, and including links to the source of any ideas, all of which are publicly available. There is a more recent video online by someone with around 12k views, so people are interested, but that doesn't even explain how to drill the bore properly... not quite a toy flute because it is playable but he seals the end with a dowel ? It would be a completely separate thread, and just aimed at wooden construction - "Wooden flute construction resources" but equally I could pdf the info somewhere and just post "How I make wooden flutes, some basics and resources " with a link to the pdf and leave it at that. Either is the same for me.


Thanks for that link kkrell, I have applied and will browse. The reason I chose Chiff forum though is because it is open to read. I also write at academia.edu on ancient metallurgy and similar , and had thought of posting a pdf there, but it's not in line with my profile there.


I'll leave it for a week, if no objections I'll start that thread , if it gets taken down or locked so be it. There are lots of people with lots of different ideas and realities, so I won't take it personally.
User avatar
Nanohedron
Moderatorer
Posts: 36908
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: Been a fluter, citternist, and uilleann piper; committed now to the way of the harp.

Oh, yeah: also a mod here, not a spammer. A matter of opinion, perhaps.
Location: Lefse country

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by Nanohedron »

GreenWood wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:28 pm Also the site seems more towards the music and instruments themselves and so I'm not sure admin would want to be dealing with any arguments etc. , or just the extra work, of a construction page, when everything seems to work well as is.
I'm assuming you mean C&F. Personally, I don't think it's an intrusion. Often enough the Whistle Forum sees topics about whistle-making, and everybody seems okay with that, so why not the Flute Forum too? Any C&F forum, for that matter. You can only try and see.

Flute-making topics do exist, although they tend to be fewer than whistle-making topics; but this, I think, is due to the fact that flutes take a lot more care in building them, so you're going to find fewer hobbyists than in the Whistle Forum. Truth be told, I think you're more likely to see pros being helpful, rather than getting their hackles up. C&F's just that sort of place. But take your time and do what you think is best.
GreenWood wrote: There are lots of people with lots of different ideas and realities ...
Ain't that the truth...
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano
User avatar
kkrell
Posts: 4535
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2002 6:00 pm
Please enter the next number in sequence: 1
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by kkrell »

One problem I foresee is due to the complexity of the project. For instance, on the Flutemakers list, there have been long discussions just about reamers, their materials, cutting profile, use of, how to make, who to make them, lathes, etc. In a way, I would think a Maker's Forum, with different threads on such topics, would be more suitable at keeping things organized. That is probably too much to expect to host on C&F - should perhaps be its own Board (or a list like Flutemakers).
International Traditional Music Society, Inc.
A non-profit 501c3 charity/educational public benefit corporation
Wooden Flute Obsession CDs (3 volumes, 6 discs, 7 hours, 120 players/tracks)
http://www.worldtrad.org
User avatar
Terry McGee
Posts: 2375
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm
Please enter the next number in sequence: 1
Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
Contact:

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by Terry McGee »

I like the idea of having stuff on making close to other stuff of interest to the players. A well-informed customer base is in all our interests. As is a body of makers in good tune with their customers.

While, as kkrell rightly points out, this stuff can get a bit complex, GreenWood seems to be focusing more on the resources related to making, rather than the full horror, eg this little calculation snitched from Paul Dickens' thesis on flute acoustics:

Redge = −0.43(b − a)a/b2 sin2(kb/1.85− a/b)e^(−ikb[1+a/b(2.3−a/b−0.3(ka)2)]. Yeah, well we all knew that, didn't we....

So I'd say give it a go, GreenWood.
GreenWood
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:00 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: To add to the renaissance flute discussion that is under way. Well, the rest of this field is going to be taken up by a long sentence, which is this one, because a hundred characters are needed before it is accepted.

Re: Flute making Apprentices

Post by GreenWood »

"Flute-making topics do exist, although they tend to be fewer than whistle-making topics; but this, I think, is due to the fact that flutes take a lot more care in building them..."

Not my flutes :-D . Well I part agree because I expect you mean plastic or metal whistles , but wooden whistles ? I have not made many but to turn a slightly thinner wall, and most of all have to shape and direct the air channel and striking surfaces on wood properly for a whistle is not easy, and there are all sorts of variables for the window. I find the embouchure of a flute is less complicated though it is also quite a special task. I would post photos but all instruments have been either gifts or "proof of concept" , and my own flute is one that plays well for me but looks like it was made a few centuries ago and should be in a museum. I have to finish a Boehm conical bore and a large whistle first, both gifts, and then I will set to making another flute for myself and will post pictures of that... not sure what kind yet.

Even better, the Pratten style flute I made is not that much harder than cylinder in basic effort, and is completely one single piece for now because it is for playing by itself. To go from trial version to one that is in good all around order is another story though, because it means checking all measurements carefully and possibly adjusting the reaming dimensions slightly, which is possible - for now the cone is straight , as in a line of best fit for the original bore.

What I think is if anyone wanted to mass produce Irish flutes to take market share they would have done so by now, but obviously there is a difference in quality that is costly if not impossible to reproduce at scale , and the ideas I have are not going to bridge that. Instead I think a few people will prefer to make their own compared to buying cheaper versions, or not having a flute at all which is where I was at , and some hopefully will go on to learn to make quality flutes. I reckon that even with the skills I have, if I were to buy Terry's detailed plans, it would still take me many months to make a keyed flute anything near his level of craftsmanship (or that of some other makers) . It isn't that it would not be worth it as a project, but it just shows the distance and costs that need to be covered between a professional and an amateur maker.

Anyway, I'm having fun with it all , and actually documenting it properly is what is going to be slightly tedious.

"Truth be told, I think you're more likely to see pros being helpful, rather than getting their hackles up."

That is the impression I have also, or that all are very patient. It's kind of odd presenting yourself out of nowhere to a group of professionals though. I did the same here after finding new ancient (oxymoron?) mines, unknown mineral resources which I had to prove were workable by trialing them with ancient techniques...and the reception was very mixed, mostly guarded but not unfriendly...the academic world is a slightly different place though.

"Ain't that the truth..." ... I think it would be quite boring if everyone was the same. It reminds me of what another musician told me in terms of contrast , that the silence between notes counts as much as the notes. :-)

kkrell - Certainly, but that is sort of where I'd not plan the thread to go, it would be more some kind of introduction, and sure if someone wanted to add in a summary of how they make, or a pertinent link to a method, then fine, but it would not be meant as base for in depth discussion of technical comparisons etc. , more just suggestions of different methods . So how it stays as one not the other is harder to define.

Thanks Terry, and just that. Basically I had to search and read all over the web to find information, often a link within a link. The main article I actually used as advice I could not even find in search again easily, even knowing search terms. Few people would be motivated to look up the info because they don't know it exists even, and technical forums can be a bit much, with unfinished discussion, lots of scattered information and argument, that leave someone confused. So what I would present would be the most simple, reliable, that anyone can read it and think "I can do that" (or not as the case may be). As a project it is not particularly costly, just requires patience and I think you would agree that it is mostly fun, plus overcoming difficulties and errors helps build self confidence (and in the right way), while making something gives a sense of self worth, which is often sadly lacking in this world.
Post Reply