Oak Flute

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Project by Xyloid_Curt posted 05-08-2014 04:53 PM 1608 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am a big fan of Native American flute music and toward the end of the school year back in 2002 I decided that making some wooden flutes would be my summer project. I had no idea how but began to research and found very little specific information. My first two flutes made no sound at all. Through trial and error I was able to begin making some nice working flutes and produced about 6 that summer. I used whatever wood was in my shop which included oak, cedar and walnut. Initially I used a brass plate to help, but now I make my flutes completely out of wood and leather. I completed the flute by carefully turning the hollow form on a lathe with a center support.
This oak flute was number 4, and is one of the largest flutes I have made at 26 1/2 inches long and a 1 inch bore. It has a nice deep tone. The fetish/tuning block is my own design and is meant to be a kind of universal animal. What do you think of when you see it?
The last picture is of a flute rack I made out of redwood to store and display my many flutes, most of which are now made out of locally grown cherry.

-- Xyloid Curt "Exposing the hidden beauty in wood"

4 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26267 posts in 4218 days

#1 posted 05-08-2014 05:24 PM

Hi Curt. That is a very nice flute!! What key is it in? What do the sideways holes at the end do?
did you make it in halves or slide a plug into a round opening
I made one flute and put the holes in wrong so they are plugged on the bottom and the correct ones drill in the top.

I did a lot of research on it too and found a guy in Utah that makes them and took a lot of notes from him when we talked. I started another one but have not gotten around to cutting the groove in it yet. I wish I could play one better but I did have a couple Indians in Arizona play mine and it sounded real good.

I like your “bird” and the wood you chose for it. It looks like you have it traveling in a groove. I think that is great idea! Mine swings off center easily if not real tight.

Thanks for sharing!!...............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Xyloid_Curt's profile


131 posts in 3199 days

#2 posted 05-08-2014 09:04 PM

Jim, bearing in mind that I am not a musician, the flute is in the key of E and I have had real musicians play it wonderfully. The 4 holes at the end was a style copied from many flute makers. I am told it effectively shortens the length, musically speaking, of the flute. In practical terms this flute plays in an E flat key when the 4 end holes are covered. I have not made one of these for too long, but I am hoping to make a few out of some magnolia I have very soon.

-- Xyloid Curt "Exposing the hidden beauty in wood"

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4145 days

#3 posted 05-08-2014 11:42 PM

Very Nice Indeed Curt! Thank For Posting!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Xyloid_Curt's profile


131 posts in 3199 days

#4 posted 05-13-2014 08:35 PM

Jim, I have crafted flutes using both methods you mentioned. I prefer splitting and leaving a solid wall of wood between the two hollowed sections.

-- Xyloid Curt "Exposing the hidden beauty in wood"

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