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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 5:58 pm 
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I just saw the auction result for a one keyed Claude Laurent Glass Flute that sold in an auction at http://www.vichy-encheres.com today. The final sale price not including all the other costs was 22,000 Euros. There was another with a broken head joint - I haven't navigated their website to see the results of that and other instruments. My brain is too addled today from Oxycodone in an attempt to get this pain from a knee replacement surgery under control. There were also a number of Cabrettes and Cornemuses.

I have considered making copies. However, I long ago established to myself that acoustically these flutes were rather primitive or just not "evolved" much. Laurent was using glass instead of wood and all of its problems. In today's age he would have chosen a polymer such as Delrin (note - this is not a dig against that perfectly fine material). In the process of adapting it to flutes he invented or at least developed the modern post mounted technique used in all modern key systems.

I've considered making copies of Laurent flutes. If they aren't developed acoustically, they are still pretty and desirable as a collector's item. This may have been some of their charm when new as well - some are festooned with jewels such as rubies cemented to the silver key pads, or cut gems used in the end caps. Laurent's clientele included the top .01% of his time and included President James Madisin and Napoleon. It may have been simply the flute equivalent of a Rolls-Royce Sweptail. Such instruments for status are not unusual. These precious additions were added to a flute of dubious playing qualities and were so much lipstick on a pig.

Thus if I ever do this someday, I would use my own acoustical preferences. A question is if there would be a market. I know that any flute player growing up and reading the history of the instrument immediately wants one of these the first time they discover them. I certainly did. I almost got one a few years back for research purposes but stopped my bidding at $5000. The final bid was $8000. This was comparatively low but the seller was in Russia leading many to consider the eBay auction as fraudulent. Another C&F member won it anmd had it for a few years until he found himself seriously ill with cancer. He offered it to me but by then I was no longer interested in pursuing this.

Follow the money - after that auction, I may still be although I have another more useful secret project for a high end flute that is closer to the core of my craft. I do have the necessary resources at hand - the most important being the glass working technology needed. Seattle is one of the world's leading Glass centers now with Chihuly and others. Nearer to me is an optical works making lenses for laser surgical devices. My friend who runs that business and I have mapped the processes necessary and they are well within the range of something I could set up to do in my workshop for less than $5000 worth of tooling and machinery. I've actually started collecting various items such as cast iron rod for tooling. I groumnd glass telescope mirrors when I was growing up and this technology is not that dissimilar. Glass can be cut with rotating tools made from copper charged with diamond slurries. Reamers can be made from cast iron rods that are then diamond plated. Glass is available in solid rod as well as tubular rod in a variety of sizes and types of glass.

I suppose a good initial step would be to venture into the modern flute world discussion lists and see what modern flute players think. The question I have now for everyone is which list or what list? In my current drug-addled state (a good indication is that i am even considering this!) I don't seem to have the capacity to research that until the Oxycodone wears off.

Further to that, I am finding that Oxycodone not that effective for me for pain control. Time, icing and heating with a heating pad seems to work much better. Plus I want to be more present - I probably nodded off to sleep 5-6 times at least while typing this!

Casey (I think...)
my email address, somewhere on the Intranets...

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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 7:00 pm 
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Casey Burns wrote:
my email address, somewhere on the Intranets...

Or, say, on the little Image button below all your posts.

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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 8:21 pm 
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Oh wow! I didn't notice that.

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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 9:38 pm 
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No big decisions for about a week, old buddy


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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 11:31 pm 
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Hello Casey, from down here in Australia.

So glass flutes are your new secret project? Wouldn't they be subject to breaking when dropped? Not that it's a good idea to drop any flute... Or are you thinking of something like Corning-Ware? What would be the advantage of glass over other more easily machined materials such as Ebonite or Delrin? Do you think glass can make a better sound? Won't the undercutting and so on be difficult?

If you are making transparent flutes then I want one with LED's:

https://youtu.be/itJf0Gv0pyc

[My sister recently got a boxwood flute from you and it is so good that I have taken permanent possession of it, I think! It's fabulous, Casey.]


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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 12:13 am 
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I am trying out a new schedule on the Oxycodone (5mg every 2 hrs instead of 10mg every 4) and feel a lot more clear headed. However, its not doing much for pain relief (neither was the previous plan) so I am planning on discontinuing it altogether and trying a few other things. Tonight the heating pad and cold jell packs will be my friend.

No this isn't my Secret Project but it is one that I have considered. The LofC would prefer I make copies of the James Madison specimen but again I am not impressed with the acoustics and performance of these flutes.

Glass has advance very far since the days of the Laurent. For one thing, the glass can be heat treated so that if one drops it - it might get scratched but it will not shatter. Glass blowers do this regularly with their creations. In the kilning process for this the glass would go from a circular to ever so slightly oval profile in cross section. This is actually good for tone development. Undercutting on the old ones was done with conical shaped cutters charged with abrasives. One can get all sorts of inexpensive diamond points these days that cut through silica like butter.

As far as tone? I am skeptical that glass would be a suitable substance that recommends using it opposed to blackwood or boxwood. I don't have my dimensions right here in front of me but remember that these flutes are fairly stocky. The ODs are similar to a Rudall Rose but the bores are much narrower. A thicker wall is less vulnerable than a thin walled instrument. It is also much heavier - so many of the Laurents were heavily fluted on the outside to reduce weight. Going to a thinner wall and using the dimensions from a good Rudall, Rose and Carte might give a much better playing instrument and if the glass is heat treated it would remain stable against shattering. That might be the key to a good tone. There are further tricks such as leaving some degree of "tooth" to the bore that would make it easier to play. These are my hunches at this point.

LEDs would be great. If I used a Laurent inspired flute as a starting point - the silver could feature Guilloche engraving. Some light show features might be great in a concert setting where a live image of the player is projected above her so all can see. Some sort of sparks that fly when a key is struck. I know someone who is just down the road who could help with such antics. This is not the drugs working - after 40 years in the business of instrument making I still want to cut some more edges and leave a mark on the world. Making a glass flute using modern day equivalents of the early 19th century techniques remains on my flute making bucket list. At some point I have to be inspired by the impossible and make it possible. The new (to me) Rose Engine Engraving was the new thing to add these last few years. Very recently it was cast keys. These will save my hands - plus the resulting product is simply better in many aspects. I may start getting my bands cast as well. I have also wanted to exercise some crazy artistic license and design keys that have patterns cast or engraved into them. Get away from my simple IKEA-ish designs.

Re the keys - I plan to do some in Bronze as well. These will be for retrofits onto Folk Flutes. Just the few limited keys people ask for: Eb, short F and G# usually. After the summer.

Anon....
Casey

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 12:28 am 
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Here's an acrylic flute with LED's on ebay. I don't know how to make this link outlast the auction, but if you look within the next 24 hours it should still be valid:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/183809254323?ul_noapp=true

All I can say is, I want one!


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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 3:43 am 
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How about some type of blue clear resin?
You could maybe still turn it as normal.

Just watched a Facebook video of someone turning a clear resin ball on what looked like a normal lathe.

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 8:26 am 
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The whole point of this is the glass itself. That would be like asking Chihuly to make everything in plexiglass.

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 9:14 am 
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I saw this fine example of a keyed Laurent when at the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, NY:
https://www.cmog.org/artwork/silver-mou ... te?image=1

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 1:21 pm 
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I like the description of that flute as a "presentation piece" as opposed to an exceptionally playing flute. My humble $450 Folk Flutes okay much better than any of these. A question I have then is why bother making a copy? This is something I have pondered. At the same time, I grew up playing the flute, reading about the history of the flute, and caught the allure of these flutes at an early age. So in the sense of "Because its there" by Sir Edmund Hillary its something that I see as a worthwhile challenge. I am not looking at this in terms of assuming Glass as a superior material for flutes. In many ways it the opposite. I also would like to try other unsuitable materials and for instance have some fiddleback rock maple flute sets that were acrylic impregnated to make a few flutes with sometime tis year.

The maple will be relatively easy. Glass requires an investment in time and machinery and learning curve. Once I have proved the concept I would then be able to produce more than one instrument and perhaps recoup some of my time and investment. If that is a possibility this becomes a possibility and a worthwhile project. Thus - are people here interested in such a flute in glass? Keyless, one keyed, multi-keyed?

Also, getting back to my original question - what discussion lists similar to Chiff and Fipple exist for the modern classical as well as Baroque flute players. I know of Early Flute. What else is out there?

Casey

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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 6:44 am 
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Casey,

As a former glassblower and dilettante flute player I've always been interested in the Laurent glass flutes. I'm sure you already know about the lovely one in the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. I think that you are correct in your assessment that these flutes were most likely status symbols or collector's items as well. This being the case I can't imagine actually owning one (unless I hit the lottery or something).

I'm sure you have already done your research, but you might want to consider the following:

1. It is easy to get a glassblower to pull a tube that is already tapered. The difficulty comes in achieving a precise taper with consistent wall thickness. The most economical option will probably be to get a lot of tubing drawn out, then select the one that is closest and post-process with abrasive reamers. Depending on the type of glass selected a wide variety of colors could be added to the flute (though some options might cause trouble down the road when the tubing is cut). I know from a visist to Albert Paley's studio, that he has collaborated with Corning for the production of new glass formula that work better in combination with his metal sculpture. It is possible they have a glass type available that will work better than standard soda/lime/silica or borosilicate.
2. Any cutting, grinding or polishing in glass needs to be done extremely carefully to avoid cracking. Typically this is done using a coolant flush. Drilling long holes will be particularly tough.
3. Toneholes: Diamond hole saws (like core drills) with water cooled connections are commercially available and recommended. Final tweaking of toneholes could be done with rotary tools and diamond impregnated bits, but again keeping everything wet it probably a good idea. Sculpting the top of the tonehole for a good seal will be another challenge.
4. I'm not sure what treatment method you are outlining for making shatter resistant glass. If available it will most likely need to be done after all cutting and polishing work on the flute is complete.

Good luck on your recovery and please continue to post your progress on making these flutes.

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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 8:41 am 
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Casey,

Perhaps it would be a challenge for the folks at the glass museum in Tacoma?????

Piper Joe


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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 12:15 pm 
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The techniques of working glass for these flutes would be less that of the glass blower and more like that of the lens maker or telescope mirror maker. The shapes are cut from cast tubular glass and material is physically removed using diamond-plated cast iron tools in an aqueous slurry. Like normal flute making the bore would be executed first, followed by the outside. The outside shape would be generated using a profiling jig and a rotating diamond covered tool. Again there would be slurry to keep the glass cool and draw away the cuttings. Fortunately there are no sockets on these - so the bore shapes are cylinders or conical. Once the shape is ground the tune holes and embouchure hole are roughed out using diamond coring drills - or traditionally trepanning drills made from copper and charged in an abrasive slurry. The outside and to a lesser extent the inside is then polished through a long series of abrasives. In the Laurents undercutting was done by a conical tool that was drawn from the bore. One can see the circular striae from this process. Using a tough glass like pyrex or fused silica one can work with smaller diamond grinding points and then other abrasives to fine tine the voicing.

I knew a scientific glassmaker who heat treated all of his glass lab ware. It made it totally resistant to breakage. My glass expert mentioned this process - and so far all I know is that it can be done theoretically.

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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 12:17 pm 
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Joe - except they are probably clueless as far as flutes are concerned - besides have other priorities. Its also a task that I would pursue without any such involvement from the outside!

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