We went over most of the basic steps to get your flute started in my past posts like:
1, Wood section, I like pine or Fir but most woods will work.
2, Tools, a gouge and a block plane will do most of the work, and a coping saw for the bird effigy, or if your making a carved head
3, Dimensions, I like my flute to have a 7/8 bore but 3/4 and 1″ will work. The length of the flute depends on the key.
Now here are some tips I would like to share. I drill all my holes before I glue the two pieces together, this lets me sand any splinters away that the drilling creates. I like to sand the inside to a 320 grit this I feel helps improve the sound. I also put 2 or 3 coats of mineral oil on the inside just be careful not to get any on the gluing surface.
Finishing the inside will stops the wood from absorbing moisture as you play it, giving it a more consistence sound. I also use a 1 to 1 glue size on the end grain of the sound block, this is the block that separates the two chambers this help to strengthen that area since its a weak area and its also a end grain that will absorb the moisture from your breath.
Next thing to do is glue the two parts together. I use plenty of clamps and don’t over tighten the clamps since you are only gluing a 1/4 surface. I keep mine in the clamps for a whole day, and I use a waterproof glue like Titebond 3. Next you have to decide if you are carving a head on the end of the flute. I carved an eagle on this one. I glue an extra piece of 3/4 x 5 wood to the top.
Next comes the fun part shaping the flute, since I was carving a head I started my planing the sides flat and close to the 1/4″ wall thickness, then I drew a out the lines of the eagle.
I used a coping saw to rough out the shape.
Then I planed the flute round. this is the part that most people every fears, but its really easy just watch the direction gain and take your time. You are looking for walls that are about a 1/4 ” thick all the way around. If you tap the wood you can almost tell where you need to take off more just by the sound, when you get close its time to sand. I work my way from 100 to 220, and if you are carving now is the time to do most of your carving.
When you get the all the carving and the thickness where you want it, its time to work on the sound. I drill all the holes to a 1/4, then I use a fine file to clean the holes. I file the angle on the reed hole at about a 45* ankle.
Now before the flute will play you will need two more pieces, and they are the nest and the bird, the nest is a veneer that is 3/4 x 3″ with a 1/4 x 1 slot cut into it, this lets the air from the first chamber go across the reed hole with the help of the bird, which is a effigy that sits on the nest.
You also need to drill a 1/4 hole in the mouthpiece end of the flute to the 1st chamber, now blow into it and get all the chips out.
When you get everything assembled blow though the mouthpiece and see if you get a sound, you may have to move the bird around a little while you blow to get the first sound, now just keep working it till you are happy with it, this takes a little while so stick with it. If you are planning to put a finish on I suggest a nontoxic one like mineral oil or walnut oil then bluff it with some beeswax.
I hope you enjoyed this project and if you have any questions please contact me and I will help anyway I can.