DIY: Wooden Flute

Written by alex huebsch
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DIY: Wooden Flute
Softer woods may not require a gun drill or a lathe because they are soft enough to pierce with a heated rod. (making old flute image by .shock from

Having a working flute doesn't mean spending a lot of money in a music store. Flutes are simple woodwind instruments that can add accompaniment to any musical arrangement. Their narrow body and thick design makes them a durable instrument. With few holes flutes are comparatively simple to learn and play. Flutes can made out of almost any type of wood or bamboo and each individual flute will have a sound all its own.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wood pole, 3/4-inch to 2-inch diameter; 18-inch to 24-inch length
  • Wood lathe
  • Gun drill, at least 1/2-inch diameter
  • Steel rod, at least 1/2-inch diameter
  • Torch or fire
  • Pencil
  • Electric Drill
  • Drill bit, 1/4-inch
  • Vice
  • Vice grips

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  1. 1

    Clamp you wood pole into the vice. Bore out the middle of the pole with the gun drill. If the wood is soft enough, heat up the metal rod with a torch or in a fire and run the rod through the wood pole to bore out the middle.

  2. 2

    Measure about one inch from one end of the flute down the shaft. Mark this spot with a pencil.

  3. 3

    Drill a hole with your drill and drill bit on the marked spot.

  4. 4

    Measure the distance from the middle of the hole to the other end of the flute. This distance will determine where the rest of the holes are placed.

  5. 5

    Using the distance you measured find 43 per cent of that distance and mark that point on the flute. Also mark at 50 per cent, 58 per cent, 68 per cent, 73 per cent and 83 per cent.

  6. 6

    Drill holes at all these pencil marks using your drill and drill bit. Make sure the holes fall on a straight line down the flute. Make sure you only drill through one side of the flute and not all the way through to the other side.

Tips and warnings

  • You can play around with the distances of the holes from the mouth hole if you want different sounds. Placing holes closer to the mouth hole will result in higher notes. Lower notes result from holes placed further from the mouth hole.
  • You can also play with size of the holes drilled into the flute body. Larger holes produce higher notes.
  • If using the heated rod make sure the wooden pole is in a vice --- it will get very hot.

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