Flute making can be a long, detailed process that takes years of practice to perfect. A well-crafted flute made of wood is expensive and will provide the flute's owner with years of enjoyment. You don't have to be an expert to craft a simple flute from wood.
Start with a piece of wood. Just about any piece of wood will do. Different woods offer different tonal qualities. Maple, cedar, apple and African blackwood produce rich tones. African blackwood is used by most seasoned flutemakers and can be hard to come by and a bit expensive for the beginning flutemaker. A good piece of maple or cedar is the best place to start.
Use a wood lathe with a boring-tool attachment. You can use a hand-bore tool, but the process involves scraping the bore and can be a lengthy process. If you plan to make flutes as a hobby or for profit, it's wise to invest in a wood lathe. A small table model will do the trick. Start with a piece of wood about 21 to 22 inches in length. The finished length will be about 18 inches. The diameter of the bore will be 5/8 inch on the inside.
Remove the wooden flute from the lathe and drill six holes in the barrel of the instrument. The holes should be placed about 1.5 inches apart and centred on the flute. Start by drilling the holes small. You can enlarge them as needed to achieve proper tuning, but if you drill the holes too large in the beginning you'll destroy your flute.
Use a carving knife to apply decorative features on the outside of your flute. This could be anything from Native American symbols to flowers or animals.
Hand sand the wooden flute with sandpaper until it's smooth, then apply water-resistant stain. You can use acrylic paints to decorate the wooden flute, then add a clear coat of glossy lacquer for a beautiful finish to your custom-made wooden flute.
Things you need
- Carving knife
- Wood lathe
- Sandpaper (heavy grit)
- X-acto knife