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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:41 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 2:55 pm
Posts: 424
Location: BC., Canada
MadmanWithaWhistle wrote:
We probably hear, and actively search for, different things in our flutes.


Absolutely. Reading CnF through the years has lead me to that conclusion too.

Best, Keith.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:16 pm 
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Isn't it incredible that we have makers commenting on the "behind the scenes" and "nuts and bolts" about the art and craft (and economics) of flute making? This site is a treasure for players to have a glimpse into what the artists that make our instruments think about and do to make these finely crafted gems come to life.
Thank you, thank you...


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 12:27 pm
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Location: Kingston WA
I started making flutes a few years after I began making tools for violin makers and then lutherie tools in general. One of my first experiences of seeing the instrument making community other than Portland was at the Violin Society of America convention which was held in Salt Lake City in 1981 or 1982. There I became aware of all of the different camps, the "Secrets of Stradivari", the secrets and secret societies sometimes rife in that industry. Not too many were hiding their trade secrets but it was enough to be somewhat stifling. Everyone to this day has their pet theories of what and how the Cremonese makers in Strad's time made such great instruments.

Afterwards I headed to Fort Collins on the bus to visit a former housemate. We drove all night. The person sitting across the aisle from me said he was at the conference. It turns out that he was also a kind of a former housemate of my friend's back in Oregon. We talked all night. He was a biochemist researching these Cremonese varnishes and methods and had discovered Strad's secret. They went out and bought the varnish from a furniture varnish company that is still in business producing the same products. Reversible biochemical tests revealed the identity. The varnish really made no difference. It was the processing of the wood. Both top and back were carved much thicker, then covered in foil, then molded with plaster molds. Then the foil is removed and the wood is crushed into the mold using a polished agate burnisher. He discovered that some sort of process was used to mechanically compress the wood by examining some Cremonese violin wood in cross section (from instruments damaged beyond repair).

Few violin makers believed him. They are all frozen into their belief systems, camps, etc. To my eyes his discovery was as obvious as day.

When I entered the flute making world, I found a community of folks out here on the West Coast who were more than eager to talk shop, share their secrets and get me started. Doug Steinke, the late Baroque Oboe maker first got me going making keys then took me through the flute making process. Mark Minkler and Sand Dalton up in the San Juan Islands both welcomed me into their workshops. Actually, with Sand it was a little different at the beginning of the visit. He said to just get off the ferry and walk south and you will hear the oboe playing. I found him and he was about to take a break and a soak in a "hot tub" made from a large oblong galvanized tum with a fire right underneath it. So we spent the first hour of my visit talking shop submerged and fully naked! I also met Michael Hubbert and Rod Cameron soon after, and moved to Mendocino. My initial workshop there was one of 4 - next to me the wood turner and now great chef in Louisville Lynn Winters, cello maker Tony Rose and finally Rod Cameron.

Rod and I became close had this geographic peculiarity for many years: my mother-in-law lived next door to his current workshop for several decades. Whenever we were visiting I would spend much time next door, with Rod eager to show me his latest. Margaret passed away a while back but Rod and I are in almost daily contact. My wife and I hired him to perform our wedding 31 years ago on the Mendocino bluffs.

The generosity that I experienced of these Left Coast wind instrument makers while I was getting started overwhelmed me and propelled me. I remain kind of an open book willing to help others get started and share ideas, and describe here what this life is like sometimes in all its gory detail. This generosity was very refreshing compared with what I had observed in part of the violin making community. The Portland makers and fretted instrument luthiers in Portland were exceptionally open, however, and many have remained life-long friends, especially Suzy Norris who nudged me into the direction of making violin sound post setters which led to Doug and flute making.

It seems that the farther from this Pacific Coast one gets, the more secretive the makers. However, I have an abundant interchange of data and discussion with the Galician wind instrument makers, especially Oli Xiraldez, and can't wait to visit there someday soon!

Casey

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36+ Years as a Flute Maker!
Ergonomic Flutes for Small Hands since 1986
http://www.caseyburnsflutes.com
http://www.folkflutes.com


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:56 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:15 pm
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Location: Seattle, WA
Yeah, I think secrecy is overblown these days as far as traditional instruments go. The only thing I'm unwilling to give out currently is the actual STL file of my whistlehead, cause heck, someone could go print that and put me out of a job! (hand finishing aside).


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