A wide range of wood can be used to make a traditional wooden flute. You can choose the wood based on your wishes for weight, color and design, as most types of wood can stand up to the construction process.
Bamboo is popular for flutes in the Asian region and can be relatively easy to work with. Bamboo is flexible and easy to cut; it will also not require much finishing or good hand as the manufacturer of a bamboo flute generally wants the instrument to maintain a natural look. Most people associate wooden flutes with Native Americans, and they will also use wood such as spruce, walnut, maple or cedar for their flutes. If you have access to a wood shop, take the time to compare the different colors, grains and weights of a number of wood choices to find what works right for you.
Using these types of wood will require more work, as Native American flutes tend to adorn ornaments such as leather straps, birds, targets and patterns to achieve a traditional and historic look.
Access to woodworking tools such as saws, sanders and drills is necessary for this project. Other tools and materials, such as torches, wood glue and epoxy, vary depending on which flute you construct.
Plans and measurements
Wooden flutes tend to be about 20 inches long, but they can be adjusted based on preference – longer flutes will of course produce a lower key. Like wood, if you can try some preformed flutes to get the feel of the sound, it will help you determine the length. Drilling holes is the most important step, whether you are making a bamboo or native flute. A hole closer to the mouth hole will produce a higher note, and larger holes will produce a higher note.
Once you have established the mouth hole, work on the size of the hole and the length of your flute until you get the base note you want. From there, drill one keyhole at a time, test each and resize until you have the notes you want. This process may take some time. Using an electronic tuner can help you determine the actual pitch of the notes you produce. From the bamboo forests in Asia to the Nordic plains, the wooden flute has played an important cultural role for people around the world. Unlike most metal flutes, which are held horizontally in the mouth and played through a mouthpiece, the wooden flute is held straight out and the player blows air directly into the flute. Building your own instrument can provide a strong connection to a rich heritage and strong feelings of pride and achievement when you play your music.