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 Post subject: Making a walking stick flute
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:47 pm 
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10 years ago we bought some clumping timber bamboo. Just now my man cut off a nice walking staff for me. It's green and very heavy. It is thick with many sections. I want to make a walking stick flute from it.

I figure this much is true:
- Use that javascript flute hole calculator to position the holes
- Use something to burn the holes through

Questions:
- I'm assuming I need to let the wood dry first, true?
- Do I put the flute in the middle of the staff? In other words, if the staff has various sections, does the flute go somewhere where it will have a section joint at the top and bottom of the flute, or does it go at the end so that the end of the flute is open?
- If there's a section joint at the bottom, do I just put a large hole there and then do my measurements from the position of the hole?

It's okay if this turns out to be a disaster or barely works. I favor lightweight trekking poles over giant timber bamboo staffs, but if it works, it would be really fun.

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I play a Tipple E flute and a Casey Burns Boxwood Rudall D flute


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 Post subject: Re: Making a walking stick flute
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 5:49 pm 
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Curing Bamboo (a grass) is likely different than wood. I would specifically look up curing or drying bamboo, not wood.

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 Post subject: Re: Making a walking stick flute
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:05 am 
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The flute is normally in the middle of the stick, I guess simply to protect it from the wear and tear that would normally occur at the bottom end. That means you would either have to make it in separable sections for an open bottom end, or add an extra hole for the bottom note. See for instance the Sweetheart ones.

I was always under the impression that Dizi style flutes (and Kill Bill flutes, for that matter) use the extra lenght of bamboo at the top end instead of a cork stopper or bamboo node, to create the required counterpressure on that end. Although I cannot find any online information that confirms this, I did manage to play a little scale one one of these flutes in a shop someday, and it did not have any kind of stopper fitted. (Nor a Dizi membrane, by the way. I was quite puzzled that it all worked in spite of both these facts, but that's how I learned that it could be done.)

As for the Flutomat, just try to enter the values of any existing flute, just to see how much they can differ from the Flutomat's indications. Especially the mouth hole placement seems off to me, which is why you might want to make a few attempts, just to get a feel of it. (I have once made a calculator in Java which uses some of the alternative calculations mentioned a.o. in the Flutomat source code, a few constants of my own, and some extra maths for the different tube diameters that occur in a conical flute. But the deal remains largely the same: for each of my existing flutes, I have to use different constants in order to come close to the actual numbers.)

And of course, always start out too low (smaller holes/ longer pipe end than indicated), so that you can still tune it up. (The Flutomat might be a tad confusing there, because it starts the measurements at the bottom end.) And start tuning the lowest note first.

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 Post subject: Re: Making a walking stick flute
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:12 am 
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Have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZJSTDkx-Ow which is an exofipple, American Indian type flute, or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuyPoVmw7UM which is a more traditional type flute. Personally I like the first one better. For Bamboo, a flute between the nodes is the best idea, and I would suggest (and I will admit I am a very new flute maker (or more like someone who makes holes in bits of wood to get a sound)) using the % technique to calculate the holes, drill them small, and then widen them to tune them up (so they sound about right). You (unless very lucky) will not get a flute that is any key, but you can have it in tune with itself (if that makes sense).
Also I would recommend "How to make your own Bamboo Flutes" (Google and you will find) I have the free version which tells you about how to season your bamboo, and a way to do it quickly.
I hope you have lots of Bamboo, as you will get addicted to making them :D

John


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 Post subject: Re: Making a walking stick flute
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:06 pm 
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pflipp wrote:
I was always under the impression that Dizi style flutes (and Kill Bill flutes, for that matter) use the extra lenght of bamboo at the top end instead of a cork stopper or bamboo node, to create the required counterpressure on that end.

Would that even work? I have a student-grade Dizi in G (same pitch & acoustic length as a D whistle). The bamboo tube is stopped with a cork, not a bamboo node, just above the embouchure. The tube then extends 14 cm above the cork, and is open on the end.

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 Post subject: Re: Making a walking stick flute
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:57 pm 
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sbfluter wrote:
10 years ago we bought some clumping timber bamboo. Just now my man cut off a nice walking staff for me. It's green and very heavy. It is thick with many sections. I want to make a walking stick flute from it.

I figure this much is true:
- Use that javascript flute hole calculator to position the holes
- Use something to burn the holes through

Questions:
- I'm assuming I need to let the wood dry first, true?
- Do I put the flute in the middle of the staff? In other words, if the staff has various sections, does the flute go somewhere where it will have a section joint at the top and bottom of the flute, or does it go at the end so that the end of the flute is open?
- If there's a section joint at the bottom, do I just put a large hole there and then do my measurements from the position of the hole?

It's okay if this turns out to be a disaster or barely works. I favor lightweight trekking poles over giant timber bamboo staffs, but if it works, it would be really fun.


My flute teacher is friends with Rob Yard who makes such a flute. In fact my teacher has one of Rob's walking stick flutes and I've played it. I also have one of Rob's standard D bamboo flutes. He makes his flute in the middle of the stick and makes an extra lower sounding hole for the low D. Rob harvests his own bamboo and whatever type he's growing has very long sections between the nodes. For example if your bamboo is 3/4" inside diameter then it will need to be over 21" between the nodes to have a sounding length that's long enough. I can tell you from experience :x that unless you can find some bamboo with this very long nodal length, you're in for a lot of aggravation.

Kirk


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 Post subject: Re: Making a walking stick flute
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:09 pm 
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Kirk B wrote:
Rob harvests his own bamboo and whatever type he's growing has very long sections between the nodes. For example if your bamboo is 3/4" inside diameter then it will need to be over 21" between the nodes to have a sounding length that's long enough. I can tell you from experience :x that unless you can find some bamboo with this very long nodal length, you're in for a lot of aggravation.

Kirk

Oh boy, then maybe it's not worth even trying. It appears the nodes are quite short. The resulting flute would be very short and very fat.

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I play a Tipple E flute and a Casey Burns Boxwood Rudall D flute


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 Post subject: Re: Making a walking stick flute
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:01 pm 
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sbfluter wrote:
Kirk B wrote:
Rob harvests his own bamboo and whatever type he's growing has very long sections between the nodes. For example if your bamboo is 3/4" inside diameter then it will need to be over 21" between the nodes to have a sounding length that's long enough. I can tell you from experience :x that unless you can find some bamboo with this very long nodal length, you're in for a lot of aggravation.

Kirk

Oh boy, then maybe it's not worth even trying. It appears the nodes are quite short. The resulting flute would be very short and very fat.


I tried making a simple D flute using some bamboo that had shorter node spacing. You either have to cut it at the node, drill it out and glue it back together or find a way to drill all the way through the center node(s) from the bottom end. Either way, you're not going to have a perfectly smooth, uniform bore. I don't mean to discourage you and I certainly enjoy these types of projects but If I were going to try it again I'd get some of the same type of bamboo he uses.

Cheers,

Kirk


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 Post subject: Re: Making a walking stick flute
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:33 pm 
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If it is short nodes, then make the flute at the top, break through the top nodes, then seal it with the handle. If you want to be real technical you could make the handle adjustable within the hole to make the flute tunable
May take a bit of fettling to get the holes in the right place, and by putting sandpaper onto dowel ( I use a a piece of threaded rod to hole the sandpaper instead as it lasts longer :) ) you will get a uniformish bore. Have fun and let us know what you have created.
John


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 Post subject: Re: Making a walking stick flute
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:39 pm 
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Can anyone recommend where to purchase bamboo poles with a long node spacing? Everywhere I look, the bamboo is too short to make a good flute.


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 Post subject: Re: Making a walking stick flute
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 1:35 am 
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I've made a bamboo whistle in D that works reasonably well, so just a couple of tips from my experience.

Drilling the holes with a conventional twist drill will almost CERTAINLY cause splits unless very sharp tools are used with a vice and drill-press ... best burn holes undersize then finish with files and/or sandpaper if working by hand.

The bore can be burnt through using a suitable length of rod ... again bore undersize and enlarge to suit (and get rid of the charcoal)

If the bore is open at both ends, it's easy to rig a pull-through comprising a piece of plastic scouring pad fastened in the middle of a length of nylon cord. This will polish the bore very quickly whilst causing virtually no enlargement

Oiling the previously polished bore (I used walnut oil 'cos I had some in the cupboard) significantly "brightens" the tone without inducing the "plastic" shrillness of a varnished bore. Having said that, an un-treated bore has a certain "gutteral woodiness" that might be considered attractive, but if the stick is to be actually used in an outdoor environment some water protection is probably essential.

Enjoy

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