Back in October 2006, I decided to build my first Native American 6-hole flute.  Some friends asked me to keep them up to date on how the flute making was going, so I decided to post my progress here for everyone to see.

Click Here to see the Finished Flute!

Day 1

I decided to use cedar for my first flute.  I started with this piece of 2X4 cedar.  One of the rewards of using cedar is that it smells so good when you cut it!  I'm also hoping that the flute will have a good voice as a result of being made out of cedar.

I cut off a strip of the cedar plank, cleaned up the edges and split it in two to come up with the two pieces shown here.  Shortly after beginning to router these pieces, I made a mistake cutting and wound up setting these two pieces off to the side.

I cut two more identical strips from that same plank of cedar and routered a 3/4" bore and a 3/4" SAC (Slow Air Chamber) into both sides.  Once that was done, I made a shallow cut from the SAC to the mouth end of each half, using a 1/8" bit, to define the blow hole.  Before I could get pictures taken of the router work, I had gotten the two pieces glued and clamped together.  In the future, I will be looking for some spring clamps to replace this awkward setup for the gluing process.

Day 2

Once the glue had dried, it was time to router the flue.  My final goal was to have a flue with approx. 1/32" depth, but I initially cut this area slightly deeper, since I was planning to sand the top surface down a little more.

I set my press to 30 degrees and drilled a hole for the SAC exit.

I started shaping the SAC exit hole with a fine-toothed coping saw blade.  This was followed by a Dremel, using a slender cone-shaped bit, and then I finished off the edges with a small flat wood file.

Slowly, the SAC exit, flue and TSH (True Sound Hole) come into being.  This is about the time I heard my flute for the first time.  It was very exciting to hear!

DONE with this part!  Getting a very good "woody" sound at this point.  In the future, I will be cutting and shaping the SAC exit, flue and TSH prior to gluing the two pieces together.

A head on view of the TSH, finished at a 35 degree angle.

A glimpse into the future.
Until I create a special fetish for this flute, I'm using one from another flute to make this one sing.  My next step will be to shape the body, rounding off all of the edges while maintaining a uniform thickness, and then tuning the flute to an "A" (440 Hz) by shortening the length of the bore.  Once that's completed, I can start working on the finger hole placement.

Proceed to Day 3


Questions or Comments: Email Michelle
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