Sunday, May 08, 2011

A Loooong Flute Journey....

(click on pics to enlarge)

This is a post that might not trip your trigger in details, but it does paint a larger picture of how one of my singing sticks comes to life, which you may find interesting. A good many are made and finished in fairly short order, and those are almost always more simple in design.

Then there are the 'specialty' flutes, flutes that have some unique, detailed design element that requires a lot of extra work and, correspondingly, command higher prices. I basically build only what I envision and feel, taking custom orders very, very sparingly. I can and will only work when I'm inspired and 'feel' I'm in a good spiritual place. On those days where I'm out of sorts, I just don't touch flutes. Not a good mojo and mix of efforts. Sometimes they come to 'life' in a reasonable amount of time....and then, well....

And so I had this Ambrosia Maple closed end flute that I blogged about....get this...February 18, 2009! OMG, here I was thinking I've had this flute a year and it's well over two. Talk about how time flies when you're stuck in "writer's block"! Find that post by clicking HERE. Eegads.

This is the flute as it has pretty much sat since then, with only minor shaping at the 'foot' where the woodpecker was going to go....

The above two shots show my pics of a Downy Woodpecker feeeding, up against what I was 'envisioning' for the flute. Originally the flute was going to be an F#4, but as I honed down the woodpecker and tweaked the tuning, it was much better suited for a G4, up a half step.

Voila, the flute finished off with the woodpecker detailed and painted. NOW came another big hurdle...what to do for the block? The main interest is the foot of the flute, and I didn't want a detailed block that would compete with the focus of the woodpecker. Conversely, I didn't want such a simple block design that it detracted from the focus...and so I sat with notebook and pencil and sketched. And sketched. And sketched.

I've done this with only a very few flutes, where I take scrap wood and glue up a composite shape of the pieces. Above you see scrap Bloodwood and Ebony, my actual pencil sketch (cut out) of the main tail sweep bordered by two 'wing' pieces, once of which you see cut out.

The three pieces weren't quite wide enough for the flute, so I glued on 'side bars' on the outer edge, knowing I'd sand their width down some. Too, you don't want a pure Ebony bottom exposed over the flue as such a design would lead to quick I thought I'd incorporate the red with the Bloodwood for a bottom choice. The bottom above was rougher than normal as a couple of pieces fractured off, but I knew I'd slap it on the belt sander and flatten it all before adding the Bloodwood.

With some shaping and careful sanding, the block took on an elegant sweeping design of a bird of sorts, with tail and wings, the Ebony and Bloodwood repeating the colors in the Downy Woodpecker. Only one thing left to do.....

The new G4 Downy Woodpecker flute fresh off the press as of today, as I write. Still a couple of more finish coats to put on, and the most minor of touch-up...goes to prove that I don't just whip these 'kids' out without a lot of thought and intentional thought! This one is close to a record, I'll admit. Worth the wait, though, eh? ;-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Makes me wish I played the flute just to hold that pretty thing.
Yesterday must have been woodpecker day. I startled a red-headed woodpecker yesterday when I pulled up to my mail box. He was on the tree next to the box banging away on some bugs. My car is a hybrid, so is pretty quiet, but when I opened the box, the noise startled him. He turned around to find me not 5 feet from him, squawked, and flew up to the next tree. He looked at me as if he thought I had appeared out of thin air! Pretty red head, and great to see him so closely.