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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:04 am 
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I'm now on the waiting list for a keyless flute in D by Olwell. I'm thinking of choosing Cocuswood, but if he doesn't have it in when my turn, I guess I'll go for European Boxwood. Here's some things I wonder a lot about and hopefully you could help me out with some thoughts and ideas, preference and experience. First of all, I would like my flute to be made out of one piece of wood, for quality and look. But I wonder what I should go for when it comes to the mid section? One piece or two pieces? Any preference amd thoughts? I think a one-piece- midsection would look nicer and is maybe also stronger? I will go for one of his smaller flutes, so we can take that in consideration. This leads to my second question.....Should I go for the Rudall & Rose or Nicholson model? I'm leaning towards Rudall-Rose since it's his "smallest" model(not that small though at the size of 8 on the holes). I have small and square hands, and I would like an instrument that I feel comfortable with, that leads to playing flute a joy. I mostly play Irish and Folk songs. But I've hear that the Nicholson model is a very nice flute that is more close to his Pratten model, just not so loud. Any input are welcome. And now my last question, and I feel it's little important, maybe. What head to choose? Should I go for the Regular or French style Silver-Lined Head, that is fully-lined or half-lined? I was thinking of the French style, since it's lighter, but, I read that Patrick like the Regular. So I'm thinking maybe that would be the best choice if it's him who will make my flute. I just want the best out of it since this will probably be the only flute I ever buy. I love my whistles, and now I finally took the step for buying a flute, and I think I choosed the right one for sure. Now I just want the rest to be on place to. Looking forward to hear your opinions.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:10 am 
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I would ask to have it made in boxwood, since it’s not a rare or vulnerable species so far as I know.

As to which model, I have no idea!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:20 am 
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PB+J wrote:
I would ask to have it made in boxwood, since it’s not a rare or vulnerable species so far as I know.

As to which model, I have no idea!


I've thought about it, seriously. But I REALLY want a flute in Cocuswood. It's been a dream to have that "perfect" flute, made by my dream maker and dream wood. But it might be that my consciousness will go for Boxwood. Anyway, this is my dream, so I'll go for the best options possible.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:57 am 
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I wonder what you are playing now? What do you like or not like about it that you would want to keep or change in your new flute?
Would be a shame do buy such a nice flute and realize you like something different in a year or two.
My only thoughts on Boxwood is its moisture absorption issues.
EZ


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:18 am 
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I have a keyless Olwell in African Blackwood with a fully lined (silver) head joint. It's a Pratten model with a two piece body. t's a very good flute. Has plenty of volume if needed and looks nice. That said you'll get plenty of volume out of a Rudall or Nicholson model flute also. It's up to you the player. With two middle joints, instead of one long body, you can vary your left hand, right hand finger positions by adjusting/turning the joints to suit yourself if need be.

I see you live in Norway ( I'm in Sweden) so you may want to take into consideration the long dry winter months. Keep your flute humidified and go easy on the central heating.. I'd choose African blackwood or cocuswood if possible, more stable as Mr. Gumby said, than boxwood. I think perhaps the Olwells keep their cocuswood for their keyed flutes?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:21 am 
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I would suggest the olwell nicholson, which is something of a combo of pratten and the rudall and a powerful flute. I like boxwood but I like the sound of grenadilla in these flutes. It has more bite and projection than boxwood, and perhaps it matters when playing in sessions. For similar reasons I prefer the fully lined head. I play both cocus and blackwood and, to my ear, whatever the virtues of cocus, blackwood is very good too. So I would go with blackwood, which is, in fact, a terrific flute wood (as is cocus). I think you may find that what will matter to you in the long run is how the flute sounds and
handles.

Above all, Patrick O is making light, playable, beautiful flutes in every respect. It is hard to go wrong. I've seen (talented) women with small hands honking away on the Pratten. I think the Nicholson is a better bet for people with less big hands. It will take some getting used to but such are flutes. Things that may seem nearly impossible become second nature. Finally, if you have persisting questions along these lines, you might call Patrick and ask him. A fine fellow.

FWIW, here's a blackwood Olwell Nicholson with a fully lined head.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKJAjQGrwFc


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:43 am 
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What flute is going to work for you is going to be VERY subjective. I can give you a bit of information from my own perspective, but what I'm looking for in a flute and what you are looking for may be totally different. That said, it's always nice to get more information out there since I went through the same stuff when buying my Olwell.

For reference, my hands aren't very big and I got the Pratten. From wrist to the tip of my middle finger is 7.25in/18cm. My palm is 4.25in/10.5cm long...middle finger is 3in/7.5-8cm long. Tip of thumb to tip of pinky when stretching as far as I can is 9in/22cm.

Given the choice between the two I'd probably go for the Nicholson personally. Not because I don't like the way Rudalls sound, or any bias I have against them. This is a very subjective choice, so take it with a grain of salt. I just think that Patrick is known for his Pratten models...and to a lesser extent the Nicholson since it seems like everyone who is worried that the Pratten might be too big for them seems to get the Nicholson. I've heard that the Pratten and Nicholson are very similar, but the Nicholson has it's own unique voice and isn't quite as loud. There are other makers who are more well known for their Rudall style flutes. If I was considering a Rudall, I'd probably go for someone who is known more for that style. Again, not to disparage Patrick's Rudalls. I've never seen or heard one, and I'm sure they are great flutes since the Olwells are masters.

As for the head joint, I went fully silver lined since that seemed to be the most common option and what Patrick said was his favorite. It IS a little top heavy. It's not anything you can't get used to, but I assume the French (or even unlined) would be lighter and more balanced and maybe a bit easier to play from that perspective. I've never played an Olwell with the French Style head-joint though. I'm happy with what I've got. I think I would've been happy with the French style head-joint as well to be honest. I know that doesn't help much, but that's the only input I can offer.

As for the wood, I went with African Blackwood. I might've done Cocus if it wasn't SO much more expensive and rare. I'm on the list for a keyed flute and may try to go with Cocus for the keyed flute...but we'll see. Boxwood is supposed to be a great wood for flute, but personally I don't love the light color of boxwood so I'd be going with Cocus or Blackwood.

My flute, being his Pratten, has a 1 piece body section. I'm happy with it. I could see the advantage of a split body section flute. The box wouldn't have to be as long and the ability to slightly offset the sections might make it more comfortable to play. Personally I think I'd go with a split body flute if I was getting a Rudall, just because that seems to be "typical". I like the look of the extra ring, but that's just me. I'm fine with my 1 piece body though since it's, again, more "typical" of a Pratten-style.


Last edited by PlanxtyPipes on Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:34 am 
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My $.02.. First, I would advise caution about the idea of buying your "one and only, forever" flute. A point Terry has made here (paraphrasing), is that we each have to find the flute that best fits our own embouchure and style of playing, and it may take more than one attempt. It took me two high-end flutes, so I'm probably lucky to find my perfect flute on the second attempt. I thought my first one was great, until I tried another one. Olwell flutes have a great reputation, so it's certainly not a bad place to start the journey! :)

WRT Cocus wood... my flute is Cocus, a Tom Aebi 8-key Rudall type (two piece mid-section). The head and two mid-sections are from the same piece, the foot joint and end cap are from a different blank, but you'd have to look close to see that. I can't say that Cocus is inherently better in tone than my previous Blackwood flute because that was a Pratten-ish design, but I do like the dark brown color of Cocus and the historical association with 19th Century flutes. The only drawback of Cocus for me is that, together with the 8 keys, it suggests a more competent flute player than the one actually playing it. My previous Blackwood flute was more low profile. Anyway, I'm trying my best to eventually do it justice.

In theory, a Cocus flute is easier to move across international borders than Blackwood, because it's not under CITES protection. It was completely logged out, years ago. You just have to hope that a customs agent doesn't think it's Rosewood, which is visually similar but seldom as uniformly brown.

My flute has a fully line head. If you're absolutely sure you can maintain good humidity control, both in your home and avoiding playing out in dry indoor locations during Winter, then you shouldn't have problems. I take the extra precaution of making sure the headjoint and other outer surface of my flute is very lightly polished with cork wax now and then, to slow moisture movement. Take this advice with a grain of salt though, because I live in a fairly damp climate without extreme Winters. Winter in Norway is more extreme, so you'll have to be more careful with a fully lined head.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:56 am 
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Any wooden flute is going to need to be humidified when the air gets dry, of course, and no question that fully lined headjoints are more vulnerable. However I think Patrick has the fully lined headjoint down well enough that his are genuinely durable and tough, given standard precautions. I have never had one crack (I lived in a dangerously dry place during the winter) and generally I have never heard from anyone who did. I once had the barrel on an Olwell Pratten crack on account of a flaw in the wood. P fixed it for free. Before he found the flaw, he told me that this was the first time he'd had something like it happen in years, and he accused me of Flute Abuse! The balance on the Nicholson with a fully lined head is excellent, IMO. Again, the fellow really knows what he is doing.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:33 pm 
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I have two blackwood Olwells, a Rudall-Rose model with an unlined head and no tuning slide (but silver rings), and a Nicholson model with a fully lined head and tuning slide. The heads are in fact interchangeable, and I mostly play them with the Nicholson head on the RR body and foot and the RR head on the Nicholson body and foot. I like them both equally and play them on alternating days. The RR is sweeter, takes significantly less air to blow, and has a much smaller dynamic range. FWIW I have a delrin Pratten by Rob Forbes, and that seems to take quite a bit more air than the Olwell Nicholson. Again FWIW, I have a 19th century cocus wood flute (small-holed), and while the wood is indeed very beautiful, I much prefer the smoother bore and sound of the blackwood flutes. Cocus wood is quite a bit less dense than blackwood (although denser than boxwood and I believe denser than rosewood). I live in Canada and deal with the dryness by keeping the flutes in a plastic storage box (not a large one) in which I keep the humidity around 60 with tangarine/clemintine/orange peels changed usually every other day. I keep a hygrometer in the box with the flutes. Also oil them monthly.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:31 pm 
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cac wrote:
Again FWIW, I have a 19th century cocus wood flute (small-holed), and while the wood is indeed very beautiful, I much prefer the smoother bore and sound of the blackwood flutes. Cocus wood is quite a bit less dense than blackwood (although denser than boxwood and I believe denser than rosewood).

Is Cocus actually "quite a bit less dense than Blackwood"? I thought they were roughly equivalent? The wood-database.com site lists the two woods like this:

Cocus:
Average dried weight 72 lbs/ft3,
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .92, 1.16
Janka Hardness: 3,720 lbf (16,550 N)

African Blackwood:
Average Dried Weight: 79 lbs/ft3
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): 1.08, 1.27
Janka Hardness: 3,670 lbf (16,320 N)

Compared to Mopane:
Average Dried Weight: 67 lbs/ft3
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .88, 1.08
Janka Hardness: 3,390 lbf (15,060 N)

Or Boxwood:
Average Dried Weight: 61 lbs/ft3
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .68, .98
Janka Hardness: 2,840 lbf (12,610 N)

Cocus seems pretty close to Blackwood to me, very slightly less dense but harder? And yes, this is just from one web site and wood is variable. I think it's worth taking into consideration that any blanks of Cocus in newly made flutes are reworked from furniture or other old stock, aged 100 years or more from drying compared to Blackwood being sourced today for new flutes. My Aebi Cocus flute made perhaps 15 years ago from some old source wood, has machine cuts and bore as mirror smooth as the Windward Blackwood flute I bought previously.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:18 pm 
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I have no idea what you will like. But it wanted to put to rest the myth that the Nicholson is not as loud as the Pratten. I have been in rooms with the players of both and perceive no volume difference. That may fall into the "only dogs can hear" category. Both of them can be played with great power. I have never heard his R & R style so I cannot comment.

If you like cocus make sure you are not allergic. I love cocus and have two cocus flutes. I have had no reaction. Some people do. I am not sure how you would test this. I have spent a great deal of time in a session with a player of a Olwell Pratten flute in Cocus with a lined headjoint as well as many Olwell Pratten Blackwoods and one Olwell Nicholson both lined and unlined headjoints. I enjoy the slightly different tone of the cocus, but, honestly, in a session setting lots of tonal details are lost. The subtle differences are more noticeable in a solo or recording setting.

I have also heard Olwells with and without headjoint linings and find the difference minimal, again in a sessions setting. If you are in an area with fluctuation of humidity I'd go with the unlined.

And it appears likely that the Cites II wood restrictions are about to be lifted, making cocus and blackwood equally shippable across borders. So YAY on that one.

Others with experience in boxwood can speak up. I have none.

Only you know how small your hands are. Mine are pretty small and I have successfully played all three of the models mentioned above. It is not always the size of the hands as much it is the stretch. I'd ask the maker on that one. They will likely want you to measure your hand completely stretched if there is any concern.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:00 am 
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[quote="busterbill"]I have no idea what you will like. But it wanted to put to rest the myth that the Nicholson is not as loud as the Pratten. I have been in rooms with the players of both and perceive no volume difference. That may fall into the "only dogs can hear" category. Both of them can be played with great power. I have never heard his R & R style so I cannot comment.

Thankyou so much h for your reply and understanding. I really want Cocuswood, it's now become a must for me. There's a lots of reasons why. First of all, the beauty of it. Then, the weight is lighter than Blackwood. I have also a feeling that it will be maybe my only chance to get a new flute made by cocus. The history behind it, and for future value. I'm sure it will hold a nice value in case I need to trade or sell it for another flute that might suit me better. But I hope, and think that this will be my only one, if I only give it time and learn to know it. If that's the case, why bother with another flute? And for the music I play, I really don't need keys. I just want the best flute possible, and for me, it's an Olwell. I just hope he will have a large piece of Cocuswood, so my flute can be made out of one piece. That's not only for the beauty, but also for the strength. I'm little ambivalent if I should go for a one-piece midsection or a two-piece. I have now decided to go for the Rudall-Rose model, since I have small and square hands. To feel comfortable with your instrument is really important for me. It makes so much more joy and lust to play it. And I'm pretty sure that the man himself makes a fantastic flute of this model. And as we all know, even if it has the smallest holes, it's pretty large compared to the older instruments that was around 6-7 in size compared to 8. And since I go for a keyless flute and live in Norway, I am now sure of choosing the French, half-lined head. It makes a nice balance to the keyless flute. Back to the midsection, maybe a two pieced would be stronger, and you also have the possibility to twist it to fit you hand, and it's also more correct to the original Rudall & Rose models. But I'm also thinking that a one-piece- midsection would look very nice, and I'm sure that I don't need the twist option. I like to play an instrument as it should be, originally, in case I get another one. Then you have the muscle reminder for an accurate flute, not something that is turned around here and there, if that makes any sense. :)
As we all do, I guess, I really want the perfect flute made out of the best material possible and classic. And that it feels comfortable and desirable to play. Therefore I'm now leaning to an Patrick Olwell flute in D, Rudall-Rose model, French head, silver lining and Cocuswood in a nice, wooden case. It sounds really nice, doesn't it? But now, my last choice is to choose either a one-piece-midsection or two-piece. It can be that they doesn't have such a large Cocuswood to make a one piece. And I'm also in doubt about what's the best quality and has most strength? Any thoughts about that would be much appreciated.
While I'm at it, thankyou all for your input and knowledge. It has helped me very much. And I'm still open to hear more opinions about everything, from an Olwell and it's setup and other flutes. But most of all I would really like to hear someone who has the Rudall-Rose model and how they like it and what they don't like about it.
To have such a forum as "chiffandfipple" is fantastic. I don't know what I would have done without it, seriously.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:03 am 
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Quote:
But most of all I would really like to hear someone who has the Rudall-Rose model and how they like it and what they don't like about it.

[Leste du ikke hva jeg skrev? :)]
Quote:
The RR is sweeter, takes significantly less air to blow, and has a much smaller dynamic range.

The Nicholson model has significantly greater possibilities for tonal quality -- one can vary the sound from a Conal O'Grada-like sound to a sweeter Tara Diamond or Steph Geremia sound. It is also louder. If I were not an old man, I would definitely get the Nicholson model. If you are an old man (as I am), then it is a harder choice. As I wrote previously, I am very happy to have both.

One last factor to note: I don't believe a three-piece RR model is a possibility. I believe it is for the Nicholson, but mine is four-piece.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:12 am 
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cac wrote:
Quote:
But most of all I would really like to hear someone who has the Rudall-Rose model and how they like it and what they don't like about it.

[Leste du ikke hva jeg skrev? :)]
Quote:
The RR is sweeter, takes significantly less air to blow, and has a much smaller dynamic range.

The Nicholson model has significantly greater possibilities for tonal quality -- one can vary the sound from a Conal O'Grada-like sound to a sweeter Tara Diamond or Steph Geremia sound. It is also louder. If I were not an old man, I would definitely get the Nicholson model. If you are an old man (as I am), then it is a harder choice. As I wrote previously, I am very happy to have both.

One last factor to note: I don't believe a three-piece RR model is a possibility. I believe it is for the Nicholson, but mine is four-piece.


Thanks for reminding me. My English is not that good, so I often easily read over and passes words and meanings. I'm 45 years, but I don't like to play with the pipers grip, so that's one of the reasons I would like the R&R model. I mostly play solo, so I'm in no need for a load flute. And I guess I'll go for a 4 parts flute, two-piece midsection. But all these details I will talk about with Patrick when it comes to my turn.


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