Bamboo/River Cane source for making a quena?

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michaelpthompson
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Bamboo/River Cane source for making a quena?

Post by michaelpthompson »

Any ideas where I could obtain some bamboo or river cane about an inch in OD, and like 3/4 to 7/8 ID? Needs to be 18 inches long or so, depending on the ID.

Also interested in suggestions of other materials. Don't really want to go PVC on this one, but I don't have the means of boring it out. I guess I could do the split and router thing on some wood.

All ideas given the consideration they deserve. :party:
Cheers!

Michael
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Re: Bamboo/River Cane source for making a quena?

Post by Hi4head »

Michael,
You may wish to contact one of the flute makers who frequently work in bamboo. One of them might be willing to sell some lengths of bamboo, possibly with the internal nodes removed. Two that come to mind are Ed (Greybeard) at Tree of Life Designs, or George at MedicineWind. They might even have some very long node stock that would not require boring.

Another option is to try one in clay.

Have fun with your projects.

Chris
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Re: Bamboo/River Cane source for making a quena?

Post by busterbill »

Years ago I used to pick up bamboo at Pier One Imports or World Market stores. They used to sell it in 5 or six foot lengths in the diameters you mention. I use it for curtain rods. But since the accidental import of the Emerald Ash Borer from Asia to the midwestern US those imports may have slowed down.

If you are in or near a major city with an Asian population there also may be small shops that would import bamboo for decorative purposes.

I'm sure some research would lead you to a way to devise a hand tool to ream it out. They have been doing it for centuries in many cultures. Though the "by hand" thing sounds pretty labor intensive. Reaming out a piece of bamboo is a heck of a lot easier than boring a length of blackwood, but it is still going to be labor intensive. :D
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Re: Bamboo/River Cane source for making a quena?

Post by Sedi »

You could use aluminium. I have a quena made from it. And it is easier to work with than you might think. Aluminium is so soft that you can even drill it with a hand-held cordless screwdriver (of course you need a drill bit for metal). The fipple can be cut with a little metal saw and then filed. Not that hard. In fact, now that I started making whistles from aluminium, I think it is nicer to work with than PVC. Drilling holes in PVC is tricky because it is so soft. Aluminium tubes in a many sizes can be bought from any hardware store. They are cheap.
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Re: Bamboo/River Cane source for making a quena?

Post by Fildafluter »

I eventually located a couple of a whole pile, given me by a neighbor here in S Texas. It grows all over the place. But it takes a while to dry out from green to that nice soft yellow you are used to. My two found pieces are 3 ft each and about 3/4 inch diameter.
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Re: Bamboo/River Cane source for making a quena?

Post by Kypfer »

A local garden supply centre had some growing for resale as "decorative features", they were happy to cut out a dead stem for me to take away ;) It's made a flute and a couple of whistles so far and there's still some left!
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michaelpthompson
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Re: Bamboo/River Cane source for making a quena?

Post by michaelpthompson »

Kypfer wrote:A local garden supply centre had some growing for resale as "decorative features", they were happy to cut out a dead stem for me to take away ;) It's made a flute and a couple of whistles so far and there's still some left!
That's a brilliant suggestion Kypfer. In fact, I picked up a couple of lengths of (so far) uncracked garden stake bamboo, and I'm working on making my first quena now. I'll post the results later.

BTW, I bought a cheap quena on Etsy. It's not too hard to play, but does not seem to be in tune, or even have a concert type root note. I'll keep working on it.

Cheers!
Cheers!

Michael
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