Native American Flutes

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Project by NY_Rocking_Chairs posted 09-04-2008 12:13 AM 1740 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are my first 2 successful Native American Flutes. They are a learning and rewarding experience which I am glad I undertook. They sound wonderful and are very relaxing. The one is cherry with a maple fetish block, the other is hard curly maple with a walnut fetish block carved to resemble a bear. This was also my first attempt at small carving. I cut the basic shape on the scroll saw and then used the dremel and hand knives to shape the bear before sanding it out.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

6 comments so far

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3679 days

#1 posted 09-04-2008 01:10 AM

Very cool… nicely done!

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View me2cyclops's profile


6 posts in 3545 days

#2 posted 09-04-2008 01:29 AM

so did you drill them on the lathe or split the blank and hollow each half?
and how do they sound?

View Larry's profile


200 posts in 4177 days

#3 posted 09-04-2008 05:57 AM

RIch – tell me the secrete of making the flue and TSH – mine all sound like crap.

-- "Have you hugged your pet today?" ---------- Larry

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


510 posts in 3563 days

#4 posted 09-04-2008 11:05 AM

For each of these I had 2” stock so I ripped them down to 1 1/2” square stock, ripped them in half, routed the inside SAC and bores in each half. Routed the flue, drilled and shaped the TSH and SAC hole in the top, glued the halves together and then turned it down on the lathe so I had 3/16” walls. I then used the band-saw to trim away the excess wood around the wall area that I could not turn do to the nest and flue, used a block fetish and played with the TSH until they sound good.

I think they sound good. My first two flutes sounded good and then I tried to tune each hole individually to Concert tuning and they got harder to play and don’t sound as good, so they are still playable but these I just drilled all the finger holes the same size and left it as is. I think they sound just as good, they are just not tuned to the same scale as what a concert tuning would be.

Larry – I use a 1/4” up-cut spiral bit to route the flue, drill three 1/8” holes in a row across the end of the flue into the bore, then I use an exacto knife or just keep playing on the drill press to remove the webbing between each hole. I drill the SAC hole at 45 degrees into the SAC, start with 1/8” bit and work upwards to 1/4”. I use a rasp to make the TSH a rectangle, flip the top over so I am working from the bore side and then use a 1/4” chisel to make the 45 degree ramp to the TSH. I final shape it with rasps and then an automotive ignition file. You can also use emory boards for final shaping as well. Everything has to be smooth and free of wood chips. Also the TSH edge does not necessarily have to be a sharp 45 degrees, you should use the file or emory boards to flatten it a little bit at a time until it sounds good.

The flue should only be about 1/64” deep and half the width of your bore, so for these 3/4” bores, the flue is 3/8” wide. A wider, shallower flue is better than a deeper or narrower one. I use the ROS to gradually reduce the nest until the flue is where I want it to be, usually sand a little, play it to see how it sounds, sand a little…

I did buy a manual which explained all this, it was much easier than trying to garner how to do it from the groups and forums.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View Larry's profile


200 posts in 4177 days

#5 posted 09-05-2008 01:24 AM

Thanks Rich – that is really close to what I am doing – but somewhere I am getting a reedy sound. I know that its in the TSH – maybe between the splitting edge and the slope of it – I am making a mistake. Anyhow thanks for the info. Will work on mine…again…sigh

-- "Have you hugged your pet today?" ---------- Larry

View mcoyfrog's profile


4133 posts in 3560 days

#6 posted 09-10-2008 06:58 AM

cool i wanna try, got any hints..

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

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