Halvesies.

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awildman
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Halvesies.

Post by awildman »

I am trying to make a woodwind without reamers. I don't have the tooling, nor the space, nor the budget for this occasional hobby.

To that end, I am attempting to use my cnc router. My idea is to mill the inner bore out of flat stock (x2) and join them together. This would then give me a rectangular/square blank for the outside profiling.

My question is about the best way of joining the two exotic hardwood halves. I know these woods sometimes don't glue well. How do I help the glue do its job? Mill a tongue and groove between the inner and outer walls? Mill locating holes and add dowels? Leave it flat and simply glue? Or do I go industrial and resort to metal pins or some type of banding? [fwiw, this project is a clarinet modeled on a mid-1800s model. I will be making additional instruments this way in the future, including flutes. I'm mostly concerned about general woodwind principles]

I know this is a departure from tradition, but I'm hoping we have some knowledgeable folks who will chime in.
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awildman
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Re: Halvesies.

Post by awildman »

Sorry, I don't know how to embed the image here.

https://photos.google.com/search/_tra_/ ... frQCOQ-9B9
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Re: Halvesies.

Post by Terry McGee »

Good on you, awildman.

I'd be inclined to give it a go without dowels etc for the body section. Here all the pressures are inwards. But sockets will probably prove to be the weak spots. Here the forces are ruptive, not compressive. Wide metal sleeves, rather than narrow rings, might be a good solution. A lot of early 19th century instruments used this approach, and made a feature of them with grooves, engraving or other ornamentation.

Probably good to test a few different glues on small scraps to see what works well on your particular timber. I've been experimenting with a supaglue marketed under the Tarzan's Grip label. It's apparently loaded with a rubber glue to help overcome the classic brittleness of supaglues. Sets slower too, giving you time to clamp up to your satisfaction.

It would be worthwhile also to compare glueing plain smooth surfaces with glueing the same surfaces pockmarked on both sides with tiny drill holes, to provide some keying for the glue.

Best of luck and keep us in touch with outcomes.

Oh, and don't be too quick to make the outside round. We just do that because we use lathes. Maybe there are better shapes? Remember Nicholson's flattened tops!
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Re: Halvesies.

Post by plunk111 »

One of the (many) instruments I play is the cornett (or cornetto or zink). They are (and were) made using the exact method that I think you are describing, but they are curved, so a reamer is not possible. The way they got around the problem was to wrap the tube in leather. I think that would work for you, but using a modern material, like carbon fiber, would probably work even better.

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Steve Bliven
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Re: Halvesies.

Post by Steve Bliven »

Many, if not most, makers of contemporary Native American type flutes use a similar methodology of routing a bore in each of two slabs, gluing them together and then shaping the exterior. In some traditions (copied by some current makers) a branch is split, bore routed and glued back together. In older forms, the seam was sealed with pitch and either metal bands or leather ties were used to hold the instrument together. This does, naturally, result in a cylindrical bore, generally of a large diameter resulting in a single octave instrument.

Best wishes.

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Re: Halvesies.

Post by awildman »

Thanks, guys. Glad to know that I'm not a total crackpot with this idea. I will check out the examples you cited.

For the outside shape, I'm not obsessed with round, although weight considerations will push me in that direction. Since i dont have a lathe, necessity will rule here. The biggest consideration here will be tonehole depth. Taylor style uilleann chanters are not completely round, either. The back of the chanter is flat, and this essentially creates large long blocks, which facilitate mounting keys, and speed of manufacture.

For that matter, the inside need not be round either. I could do a triangle or square or an oval. I'm not a tinkerer of such things typically, but im sure there is a lot of room for study in this department if somebody wants to give it a go.

Ignoring the disadvantages of my plan, thrre will be a big advantage when it comes to tweaking things on the inside. I can access the undercutting much more readily. I dont have to modify reamers, i just adjust the program. I can also seal the halves temporarily to test and then reopen to tweak more.
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Re: Halvesies.

Post by Terry McGee »

awildman wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:26 pm For that matter, the inside need not be round either. I could do a triangle or square or an oval.
Correct for end-blown woodwinds, but not correct for the head end of transverse flutes. Here the vibrating air column starts out spiral and sorts itself out into longitudinal as it proceeds down the flute. You can prove that easily by inserting say a thin knitting needle up the head. Really screws with the aerodynamics. Further down the flute it only messes with the acoustics.

I am reminded of a phone call I got many years ago from a bloke who wanted to find a cheap way to make bassoons for kids to learn on. Bassoons apparently cost from about AUD $10,000 upwards. I could see the challenges - imagine what a bassoon reamer would look like. I thought for a minute and then said: "of course the bore doesn't have to be round....". The phone went quiet while the import of that sunk in at the other end. Cut tapering strips of wood and glue them into a square tube around a plug at each end, and you are there. He rung off, quite quickly. A few weeks later he sent me images and sounds of his prototype. Looked and sounded great!
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Re: Halvesies.

Post by DrPhill »

I used exactly the same technique to make a whistle case. It was stuck together with Ava glue and has remained firmly fixed for more than five years.
Best guess is that the timber is spell - but I cannot be sure as it was salvaged from a bookcase.
I do not have a lathe and so rounded it by hand with a file. (there is a technique for rounding/filing that tends towards circular and it works exceedingly well).
(The whistle is a Copeland low d so deserves some protection ;-))

EDIT: PVA glue not Ava
EDIT2: Sapele not 'spell'

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Last edited by DrPhill on Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Halvesies.

Post by Nanohedron »

DrPhill wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:01 pm Best guess is that the timber is spell...
Never heard of a wood called "spell" before. Could you elucidate?
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Re: Halvesies.

Post by DrPhill »

Nanohedron wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:16 pm
DrPhill wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:01 pm Best guess is that the timber is spell...
Never heard of a wood called "spell" before. Could you elucidate?
Well spotted.....
Damn spell checker. S A P E L E. I spotted the mangling of P V A.
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Re: Halvesies.

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Phill

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Re: Halvesies.

Post by Nanohedron »

DrPhill wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:24 pm Damn spell checker.
This is another example of why I don't Chiff by phone (unless my laptop's down). I suppose I'd get more exercise, though, even if I'm bumping into things.
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Re: Halvesies.

Post by DrPhill »

Nanohedron wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:34 pm [.....]This is another example of why I don't Chiff by phone (unless my laptop's down). I suppose I'd get more exercise, though, even if I'm bumping into things.
That was Safari on MacOs being 'helpful'. I only bought it for the screen, and it won't easily 'take' a linux boot.
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Re: Halvesies.

Post by Sedi »

Terry McGee wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:13 pmYou can prove that easily by inserting say a thin knitting needle up the head. Really screws with the aerodynamics.
That's how the "tuning rod" on the German marching band flutes by Sandner work. The Sandner "Zauberflöte".
I don't have a pic but you can see a schematic in the fingering chart:
https://www.musiker-board.de/attachment ... jpg.97924/
But it does indeed weaken and dampen the sound when inserting it too far. Since it is exactly in the middle I guess the air circles around it to a certain degree. It can be used to correct the octave tuning on a cylindrical flute but kind of messes up the low notes, which are not that important on those marching band "fifes" since they are played more in the 2nd and 3rd octave. So it wasn't a great solution for an Irish-style flute. I quickly abandoned that construction. Still got two flutes I made with those. The 2nd octave is nice and it plays easily into the 3rd. But the low notes suck :D .
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Re: Halvesies.

Post by awildman »

Terry McGee wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:13 pm
awildman wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:26 pm For that matter, the inside need not be round either. I could do a triangle or square or an oval.
Correct for end-blown woodwinds, but not correct for the head end of transverse flutes. Here the vibrating air column starts out spiral and sorts itself out into longitudinal as it proceeds down the flute. You can prove that easily by inserting say a thin knitting needle up the head. Really screws with the aerodynamics. Further down the flute it only messes with the acoustics.

I am reminded of a phone call I got many years ago from a bloke who wanted to find a cheap way to make bassoons for kids to learn on. Bassoons apparently cost from about AUD $10,000 upwards. I could see the challenges - imagine what a bassoon reamer would look like. I thought for a minute and then said: "of course the bore doesn't have to be round....". The phone went quiet while the import of that sunk in at the other end. Cut tapering strips of wood and glue them into a square tube around a plug at each end, and you are there. He rung off, quite quickly. A few weeks later he sent me images and sounds of his prototype. Looked and sounded great!
This reminds me of the Craig Fischer square uilleann chanter, another item on my build bucket list.
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