The Birth of a Flute

Day 5

On Day 5, my goal was to shorten the bore length to achieve a fundamental note of A (440 Hz).  Using a chromatic tuner, I started cutting sliver after sliver off the end of the flute until I reached my target.  Once I had a perfect 'A', I rounded off the end of the flute.  I chose a hole spacing that I read about on Yahoo's Native Flute Woodworking Group, which says to mark a midpoint between the north end of the TSH and the end of the bore.  This is where Hole #3 should be (Hole #1, being closest to the south end of the flute).  Using the bore thickness (3/4") plus 1/8", I spaced the remaining holes, adding an extra 1/16" to Hole #5 and 1/8" to Hole # 6 as instructed.

With a strip of Painter's Tape running along the length of the top of the bore, I drilled a 1/8" hole with my Dremel at every point marked off from my previous calculations.  The tape allowed me to mark the surface and also helps prevent tearing of the wood when drilling.  Once all six holes were drilled, I removed the tape and replaced it with a fresh piece, leaving Hole #1 uncovered, and started increasing the hole size with the Dremel and a narrow cone-shaped bit.  Increasing the size of the hole, or undercutting the hole on the north side, sharpens each note, and slowly, I tuned Hole #1 to the appropriate note in the Mode 4 scale.  I repeated the process as I moved up the bore, tearing enough tape off each time to reveal the next hole.

After finishing the last hole, I rounded off the outsides of each hole with a ball-shaped bit to soften any rough edges.  At this point, I was able to get a perfect full octave scale from my new flute and it played with incredible ease.  The only thing I have left to do is give it several coats of Tung Oil and it will be ready for many years of flute playing.

I couldn't have asked for better results for my first flute.

Click Here to See the Finished Flute!

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Questions or Comments: Email Michelle
Last Updated 3/27/07