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Re: need info on setting up shop

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  • little_raven_flutes
    I ll throw in my $0.02 :) In part it depends on what construction methods you use. I hand-carve many flutes and for that you basically just want a good set of
    Message 1 of 21 , Mar 1, 2009
      I'll throw in my $0.02 :)

      In part it depends on what construction methods you use. I hand-carve
      many flutes and for that you basically just want a good set of carving
      tools, some needle files, sanding blocks and clamps. I also solid
      bore some flutes on the drill press. Dremel or (better) Foredom
      rotary tools are useful for lots of things. I use a table saw for
      dimensioning flute blanks. Bandsaw (12-14") for resawing thick lumber
      and splitting blanks. I have a scroll saw that I occasionally use to
      rough-cut blocks. Make a shooting board by cutting a piece of
      plywood about 4" by 24" and glue like 150 grit sandpaper to it with
      rubber cement. I use this all the time. If you use routers for split
      bore construction, a router on router table or a shaper. For actually
      routing the bore, I would say a plunge router with a custom jig. If
      you like to turn the outside of the flute, a wood lathe. Can also be
      used for solid-boring.

      Since it sounds like you don't already have a lot of stationary power
      tools, you might look at a Shopsmith. They are really handy if you
      want a lot of stationary power tools and either don't have an enormous
      budget or a lot of space. The downside is that to go from one tool to
      another requires some setup time. I don't have one, but used to work
      in a shop where we built and repaired keyboard instruments (pianos,
      harpsichords, clavichords), and the shopsmith was the main power tool
      in that shop. Given enough space though, it is nice to have more
      dedicated tools, so you don't have as much setup time when you want to
      use one.

      Dust collector. This can be as simple as a big shopvac. However, if
      we're talking fairy godmother, definitely a good powerful dust
      collector with permanent connections to all dust-producing tools.

      A good solid workbench with a nice thick work surface is one of the
      greatest things.

      I have a ton of different kinds of clamps, but the clamps I actually
      use to glue flutes together are Jorgenson wood clamps and Irwin one
      handed bar clamps.

      -Jeremy
    • redoak_1
      ... carve ... carving ... lumber ... to ... split ... actually ... be ... power ... enormous ... to ... work ... tool ... to ... if ... Hi I m a newbie and I m
      Message 2 of 21 , Mar 1, 2009
        --- In nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com, "little_raven_flutes"
        <little_raven_flutes@...> wrote:
        >
        > I'll throw in my $0.02 :)
        >
        > In part it depends on what construction methods you use. I hand-
        carve
        > many flutes and for that you basically just want a good set of
        carving
        > tools, some needle files, sanding blocks and clamps. I also solid
        > bore some flutes on the drill press. Dremel or (better) Foredom
        > rotary tools are useful for lots of things. I use a table saw for
        > dimensioning flute blanks. Bandsaw (12-14") for resawing thick
        lumber
        > and splitting blanks. I have a scroll saw that I occasionally use
        to
        > rough-cut blocks. Make a shooting board by cutting a piece of
        > plywood about 4" by 24" and glue like 150 grit sandpaper to it with
        > rubber cement. I use this all the time. If you use routers for
        split
        > bore construction, a router on router table or a shaper. For
        actually
        > routing the bore, I would say a plunge router with a custom jig. If
        > you like to turn the outside of the flute, a wood lathe. Can also
        be
        > used for solid-boring.
        >
        > Since it sounds like you don't already have a lot of stationary
        power
        > tools, you might look at a Shopsmith. They are really handy if you
        > want a lot of stationary power tools and either don't have an
        enormous
        > budget or a lot of space. The downside is that to go from one tool
        to
        > another requires some setup time. I don't have one, but used to
        work
        > in a shop where we built and repaired keyboard instruments (pianos,
        > harpsichords, clavichords), and the shopsmith was the main power
        tool
        > in that shop. Given enough space though, it is nice to have more
        > dedicated tools, so you don't have as much setup time when you want
        to
        > use one.
        >
        > Dust collector. This can be as simple as a big shopvac. However,
        if
        > we're talking fairy godmother, definitely a good powerful dust
        > collector with permanent connections to all dust-producing tools.
        >
        > A good solid workbench with a nice thick work surface is one of the
        > greatest things.
        >
        > I have a ton of different kinds of clamps, but the clamps I actually
        > use to glue flutes together are Jorgenson wood clamps and Irwin one
        > handed bar clamps.
        >
        > -Jeremy
        >
        Hi
        I'm a newbie and I'm in the process of making my first flute using
        pre-routered blanks that I bought. I am going to buy a router and
        table, but I'm also very interested in using just hand tools. Can you
        give me more information on the types of tools you use, and your
        process when gouging the the bore and SAC?

        Thanks
        Steve
      • Mike Jones
        Steve, try doing some searches through the archives using branch flute or gouge as a search criteria. Also, be sure to download the file
        Message 3 of 21 , Mar 1, 2009
          Steve, try doing some searches through the archives using "branch
          flute" or "gouge" as a search criteria. Also, be sure to download the
          file "NAFTipsTricksSecrets2.01.pdf" in the files section. It has
          pointers or links to a bunch of good threads in the archives and is a
          good place to start. Once you have spent some time looking around, if
          you have additional questions please ask, the more specific the better
          the answers you will get. General questions like "How do I make a
          flute" are too broad to get good answers via email.

          Mike Jones

          -----Original Message-----
          From: nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of redoak_1
          Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2009 8:04 AM
          To: nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [Native Flute Woodworking] Re: need info on setting up shop


          Hi
          I'm a newbie and I'm in the process of making my first flute using
          pre-routered blanks that I bought. I am going to buy a router and
          table, but I'm also very interested in using just hand tools. Can you
          give me more information on the types of tools you use, and your
          process when gouging the the bore and SAC?

          Thanks
          Steve
        • redoak_1
          ... the ... a ... if ... better ... redoak_1 ... you ... I had done a complete research of the files prior to to asking my questions, and while there is some
          Message 4 of 21 , Mar 1, 2009
            --- In nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Jones"
            <jonesmr@...> wrote:
            >
            > Steve, try doing some searches through the archives using "branch
            > flute" or "gouge" as a search criteria. Also, be sure to download
            the
            > file "NAFTipsTricksSecrets2.01.pdf" in the files section. It has
            > pointers or links to a bunch of good threads in the archives and is
            a
            > good place to start. Once you have spent some time looking around,
            if
            > you have additional questions please ask, the more specific the
            better
            > the answers you will get. General questions like "How do I make a
            > flute" are too broad to get good answers via email.
            >
            > Mike Jones
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com
            > [mailto:nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
            redoak_1
            > Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2009 8:04 AM
            > To: nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: [Native Flute Woodworking] Re: need info on setting up shop
            >
            >
            > Hi
            > I'm a newbie and I'm in the process of making my first flute using
            > pre-routered blanks that I bought. I am going to buy a router and
            > table, but I'm also very interested in using just hand tools. Can
            you
            > give me more information on the types of tools you use, and your
            > process when gouging the the bore and SAC?
            >
            > Thanks
            > Steve
            >
            I had done a complete research of the files prior to to asking my
            questions, and while there is some info on hand tools I didn't find
            that much on the process.
            Also, I didn't ask "How do I make a flute" I simply asked for info on
            gougeing the SAC, bore, and the tools used.

            Steve
          • tejasmed
            ... From: redoak_1 To: Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2009 8:04 AM Subject: [Native Flute
            Message 5 of 21 , Mar 1, 2009
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "redoak_1" <neptune2298@...>
              To: <nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2009 8:04 AM
              Subject: [Native Flute Woodworking] Re: need info on setting up shop


              > --- In nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com, "little_raven_flutes"
              > <little_raven_flutes@...> wrote:
              >>
              >> I'll throw in my $0.02 :)
              >>
              >> In part it depends on what construction methods you use. I hand-
              > carve
              >> many flutes and for that you basically just want a good set of
              > carving
              >> tools, some needle files, sanding blocks and clamps. I also solid
              >> bore some flutes on the drill press. Dremel or (better) Foredom
              >> rotary tools are useful for lots of things. I use a table saw for
              >> dimensioning flute blanks. Bandsaw (12-14") for resawing thick
              > lumber
              >> and splitting blanks. I have a scroll saw that I occasionally use
              > to
              >> rough-cut blocks. Make a shooting board by cutting a piece of
              >> plywood about 4" by 24" and glue like 150 grit sandpaper to it with
              >> rubber cement. I use this all the time. If you use routers for
              > split
              >> bore construction, a router on router table or a shaper. For
              > actually
              >> routing the bore, I would say a plunge router with a custom jig. If
              >> you like to turn the outside of the flute, a wood lathe. Can also
              > be
              >> used for solid-boring.
              >>
              >> Since it sounds like you don't already have a lot of stationary
              > power
              >> tools, you might look at a Shopsmith. They are really handy if you
              >> want a lot of stationary power tools and either don't have an
              > enormous
              >> budget or a lot of space. The downside is that to go from one tool
              > to
              >> another requires some setup time. I don't have one, but used to
              > work
              >> in a shop where we built and repaired keyboard instruments (pianos,
              >> harpsichords, clavichords), and the shopsmith was the main power
              > tool
              >> in that shop. Given enough space though, it is nice to have more
              >> dedicated tools, so you don't have as much setup time when you want
              > to
              >> use one.
              >>
              >> Dust collector. This can be as simple as a big shopvac. However,
              > if
              >> we're talking fairy godmother, definitely a good powerful dust
              >> collector with permanent connections to all dust-producing tools.
              >>
              >> A good solid workbench with a nice thick work surface is one of the
              >> greatest things.
              >>
              >> I have a ton of different kinds of clamps, but the clamps I actually
              >> use to glue flutes together are Jorgenson wood clamps and Irwin one
              >> handed bar clamps.
              >>
              >> -Jeremy
              >>
              > Hi
              > I'm a newbie and I'm in the process of making my first flute using
              > pre-routered blanks that I bought. I am going to buy a router and
              > table, but I'm also very interested in using just hand tools. Can you
              > give me more information on the types of tools you use, and your
              > process when gouging the the bore and SAC?
              >
              > Thanks
              > Steve
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Mike Jones
              Steve, I just used that phrase as the most extreme example possible, not trying to say that you asked it that way. Sorry for the miscommunication. I prefer
              Message 6 of 21 , Mar 1, 2009
                Steve, I just used that phrase as the most extreme example possible,
                not trying to say that you asked it that way. Sorry for the
                miscommunication.

                I prefer hand gouges, Donn swears by his heavy duty rotary tool with
                kutsall (sp?) carbide burs that can really eatup the wood.

                First, rough shape the outside of the blank, including the mouth
                piece. mark out the TSH and SAC exit. Then split the blank with a
                bandsaw. transfer the TSH and SAC exit guides to the inside of the
                flute, draw a line at the thickness you want the walls to be. Use a
                knife to score the wood at the line marking the wall thickness, at the
                TSH back wall and SAC exit wall, and SAC wall thickness. Use your
                gouge to cut out the wood at the edges of the bore wall first. Then
                alternate using the gouge and the knife to gouge out the TSH area with
                a flat back wall at the plug. Donn prefers to drill several small
                holes for the TSH and SAC exit prior to splitting the bore to aid in
                this step, I prefer to do the gouging, then burn in the TSH and SAC
                exit.

                Do the same for the SAC.

                finish gouging the length of the bore. I used a flap sander 3/4"
                diameter to smooth out the bore of the last branch flute I did. You
                can cut the ramp for the TSH with a chisel or flat gouge and shape the
                TSH, before glueup. a dowel with sand paper wrapped around it works
                well to smooth the bore after gouging.

                Glue the halves together, wrap with long strips of inner tube rather
                than clamps to get a more even pressure, specially on odd shaped
                branch flutes. be sure to clean the glue on the inside of the bore
                before it dries.

                Work the TSH and SAC exit and flue until you get a good fundamental.
                Finish the inside and outside with a coat of finish to seal it while
                tuning. Tune it.


                Mike Jones

                -----Original Message-----
                From: nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com
                [mailto:nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of redoak_1
                Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2009 10:07 AM
                To: nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [Native Flute Woodworking] Re: need info on setting up shop

                --- In nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Jones"
                <jonesmr@...> wrote:
                >
                > Steve, try doing some searches through the archives using "branch
                > flute" or "gouge" as a search criteria. Also, be sure to download
                the
                > file "NAFTipsTricksSecrets2.01.pdf" in the files section. It has
                > pointers or links to a bunch of good threads in the archives and is
                a
                > good place to start. Once you have spent some time looking around,
                if
                > you have additional questions please ask, the more specific the
                better
                > the answers you will get. General questions like "How do I make a
                > flute" are too broad to get good answers via email.
                >
                > Mike Jones
                >
              • tejasmed
                Steve: In regards to using a gouge for making flutes, I would only recommend the Flexicut gouges. Many will differ with me, but the brand is what I was taught
                Message 7 of 21 , Mar 1, 2009
                  Steve:

                  In regards to using a gouge for making flutes, I would only recommend the
                  Flexicut gouges.
                  Many will differ with me, but the brand is what I was taught to use by John
                  Suttles and the Fallen Branch Group.
                  The power handle is just a wood handle that receives the blades, but it
                  allows you to purchase several blades to interchange during crafting.
                  I have a fairly concise how to over on the Basic NAF site should you want to
                  take a look. Plus on this forum I have a few posted pictures of the tools I
                  use for the branch flutes in the files.
                  I am one of a very few that use the MasterCarver flex shaft with the Kutzall
                  flame burr to clear the bore of a split branch flute.
                  I really do not like lathes and routers because of their potential dangers,
                  especially to newbies or people not willing to learn safety from a seasoned
                  shopmaster.

                  Selecting and using gouges gets down to personal preference and personal
                  skills. Also, it depends on how and who taught you to carve.
                  What works for me does not seem natural for others. Personally, I use a
                  Flexicut curved gouge that is 1/4 in wide. The most ususeful also, is the
                  1/4 and the 1/2 in flat blade chisels in the Flexicut blades. For all the
                  rest, the Kutzall burrs and the diamond files, along with the dremel drum
                  sanders do the rest.
                  Personally, I use the gouge from side to side to chip out the bore, but I
                  only do the first 3 in on the TSH side. I finish the rest of the flute and
                  SAC with the Kutzall. The final shaping is done with the other files and
                  cutting tools.
                  Mike Jones and others use a slightly wider gouge and like to go down the
                  grain through the bore length. For me, doing that causes lots of grief with
                  checking and uneven bore shape. My bores are smooth and consistant and it
                  only takes me less than 3 hours to do a smooth neat job of both sides of a
                  flute ready to do the finishing touches on the sound mechanism before glue
                  up. It took me several months to learn the technique, but I keep wondering
                  why so many people keep beating up on themselves determined to do it the old
                  way and be proud of all their blisters and frustrations.
                  Of course, I do not sell my flutes, and each piece of wood is a new
                  adventure, which is the best part about branch flutes.
                  I really hope that the Fallen Branch guys get that DVD out soon. It will
                  probably be a great help to newbies. For those still wanting to use routers
                  and lathes, go for it. It is what you learned to do best.
                  I hope you find your own path and the tools that fit your needs and style.

                  Oh yes, about that wonder shop. They forgot to mention the vertical
                  rotating occillating spindle bench sander. It is great for helping to
                  shape up a branch flute blank.

                  Regards,

                  Tejas Medicineman
                  Donn Shands
                • redoak_1
                  ... the ... with ... the ... redoak_1 ... is ... Steve
                  Message 8 of 21 , Mar 1, 2009
                    --- In nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Jones"
                    <jonesmr@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Steve, I just used that phrase as the most extreme example possible,
                    > not trying to say that you asked it that way. Sorry for the
                    > miscommunication.
                    >
                    > I prefer hand gouges, Donn swears by his heavy duty rotary tool with
                    > kutsall (sp?) carbide burs that can really eatup the wood.
                    >
                    > First, rough shape the outside of the blank, including the mouth
                    > piece. mark out the TSH and SAC exit. Then split the blank with a
                    > bandsaw. transfer the TSH and SAC exit guides to the inside of the
                    > flute, draw a line at the thickness you want the walls to be. Use a
                    > knife to score the wood at the line marking the wall thickness, at
                    the
                    > TSH back wall and SAC exit wall, and SAC wall thickness. Use your
                    > gouge to cut out the wood at the edges of the bore wall first. Then
                    > alternate using the gouge and the knife to gouge out the TSH area
                    with
                    > a flat back wall at the plug. Donn prefers to drill several small
                    > holes for the TSH and SAC exit prior to splitting the bore to aid in
                    > this step, I prefer to do the gouging, then burn in the TSH and SAC
                    > exit.
                    >
                    > Do the same for the SAC.
                    >
                    > finish gouging the length of the bore. I used a flap sander 3/4"
                    > diameter to smooth out the bore of the last branch flute I did. You
                    > can cut the ramp for the TSH with a chisel or flat gouge and shape
                    the
                    > TSH, before glueup. a dowel with sand paper wrapped around it works
                    > well to smooth the bore after gouging.
                    >
                    > Glue the halves together, wrap with long strips of inner tube rather
                    > than clamps to get a more even pressure, specially on odd shaped
                    > branch flutes. be sure to clean the glue on the inside of the bore
                    > before it dries.
                    >
                    > Work the TSH and SAC exit and flue until you get a good fundamental.
                    > Finish the inside and outside with a coat of finish to seal it while
                    > tuning. Tune it.
                    >
                    >
                    > Mike Jones
                    >
                    > -----Original Message-----
                    > From: nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com
                    > [mailto:nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                    redoak_1
                    > Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2009 10:07 AM
                    > To: nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: [Native Flute Woodworking] Re: need info on setting up shop
                    >
                    > --- In nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Jones"
                    > <jonesmr@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Steve, try doing some searches through the archives using "branch
                    > > flute" or "gouge" as a search criteria. Also, be sure to download
                    > the
                    > > file "NAFTipsTricksSecrets2.01.pdf" in the files section. It has
                    > > pointers or links to a bunch of good threads in the archives and
                    is
                    > a
                    > > good place to start. Once you have spent some time looking around,
                    > if
                    > > you have additional questions please ask, the more specific the
                    > better
                    > > the answers you will get. General questions like "How do I make a
                    > > flute" are too broad to get good answers via email.
                    > >
                    > > Mike Jones

                    > >
                    >Just what I was looking for Mike. Thanks much!

                    Steve
                  • redoak_1
                    ... recommend the ... by John ... but it ... crafting. ... you want to ... the tools I ... the Kutzall ... dangers, ... seasoned ... personal ... use a ... is
                    Message 9 of 21 , Mar 1, 2009
                      --- In nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com, "tejasmed"
                      <tejasmed@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Steve:
                      >
                      > In regards to using a gouge for making flutes, I would only
                      recommend the
                      > Flexicut gouges.
                      > Many will differ with me, but the brand is what I was taught to use
                      by John
                      > Suttles and the Fallen Branch Group.
                      > The power handle is just a wood handle that receives the blades,
                      but it
                      > allows you to purchase several blades to interchange during
                      crafting.
                      > I have a fairly concise how to over on the Basic NAF site should
                      you want to
                      > take a look. Plus on this forum I have a few posted pictures of
                      the tools I
                      > use for the branch flutes in the files.
                      > I am one of a very few that use the MasterCarver flex shaft with
                      the Kutzall
                      > flame burr to clear the bore of a split branch flute.
                      > I really do not like lathes and routers because of their potential
                      dangers,
                      > especially to newbies or people not willing to learn safety from a
                      seasoned
                      > shopmaster.
                      >
                      > Selecting and using gouges gets down to personal preference and
                      personal
                      > skills. Also, it depends on how and who taught you to carve.
                      > What works for me does not seem natural for others. Personally, I
                      use a
                      > Flexicut curved gouge that is 1/4 in wide. The most ususeful also,
                      is the
                      > 1/4 and the 1/2 in flat blade chisels in the Flexicut blades. For
                      all the
                      > rest, the Kutzall burrs and the diamond files, along with the
                      dremel drum
                      > sanders do the rest.
                      > Personally, I use the gouge from side to side to chip out the
                      bore, but I
                      > only do the first 3 in on the TSH side. I finish the rest of the
                      flute and
                      > SAC with the Kutzall. The final shaping is done with the other
                      files and
                      > cutting tools.
                      > Mike Jones and others use a slightly wider gouge and like to go
                      down the
                      > grain through the bore length. For me, doing that causes lots of
                      grief with
                      > checking and uneven bore shape. My bores are smooth and consistant
                      and it
                      > only takes me less than 3 hours to do a smooth neat job of both
                      sides of a
                      > flute ready to do the finishing touches on the sound mechanism
                      before glue
                      > up. It took me several months to learn the technique, but I keep
                      wondering
                      > why so many people keep beating up on themselves determined to do
                      it the old
                      > way and be proud of all their blisters and frustrations.
                      > Of course, I do not sell my flutes, and each piece of wood is a new
                      > adventure, which is the best part about branch flutes.
                      > I really hope that the Fallen Branch guys get that DVD out soon.
                      It will
                      > probably be a great help to newbies. For those still wanting to
                      use routers
                      > and lathes, go for it. It is what you learned to do best.
                      > I hope you find your own path and the tools that fit your needs and
                      style.
                      >
                      > Oh yes, about that wonder shop. They forgot to mention the
                      vertical
                      > rotating occillating spindle bench sander. It is great for
                      helping to
                      > shape up a branch flute blank.
                      >
                      > Regards,
                      >
                      > Tejas Medicineman
                      > Donn Shands
                      >


                      Great information! I was actually looking at flexicut gouges in a
                      store yesterday. It's always nice to have an endorsement before
                      laying down the cash.

                      Thanks much Donn.
                    • David Allen
                      Steve, I use the Flexcut gouges, as well. They are great and maintain a sharp edge for a long time. I bought a 3/4 wide Flexcut, because most of the bores
                      Message 10 of 21 , Mar 1, 2009
                        Steve, I use the Flexcut gouges, as well. They are great and maintain a sharp edge for a long time. I bought a 3/4" wide Flexcut, because most of the bores on my flutes are 3/4" to 1 1/4" DIA. Guess what. I never use it. The 1/2" and 1/4" are much more useful. It takes a lot of pressure to push through that wide 3/4" gouge and the chances of slipping or taking off too much is great. I can go a lot faster and more efficiently with the narrower gouges. Oh, well. Lesson learned.

                        I learned most of what I know from Donn Shands, Mike Jones, and the Fallen Branch guys.

                        Peace, David


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Carl Pettit
                        Donn, Do you recomend the real coarse kutzall bits and is the flame shape better than the round shape? Is there a part number for the bit you are talking
                        Message 11 of 21 , Mar 1, 2009
                          Donn,
                          Do you recomend the real coarse kutzall bits and is the flame shape better than the round shape? Is there a part number for the bit you are talking about?
                          Thanks,
                          Carl

                          --- On Sun, 3/1/09, tejasmed <tejasmed@...> wrote:

                          From: tejasmed <tejasmed@...>
                          Subject: Re: [Native Flute Woodworking] Re: need info on setting up shop
                          To: nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com
                          Date: Sunday, March 1, 2009, 12:55 PM






                          Steve:

                          In regards to using a gouge for making flutes, I would only recommend the
                          Flexicut gouges.
                          Many will differ with me, but the brand is what I was taught to use by John
                          Suttles and the Fallen Branch Group.
                          The power handle is just a wood handle that receives the blades, but it
                          allows you to purchase several blades to interchange during crafting.
                          I have a fairly concise how to over on the Basic NAF site should you want to
                          take a look. Plus on this forum I have a few posted pictures of the tools I
                          use for the branch flutes in the files.
                          I am one of a very few that use the MasterCarver flex shaft with the Kutzall
                          flame burr to clear the bore of a split branch flute.
                          I really do not like lathes and routers because of their potential dangers,
                          especially to newbies or people not willing to learn safety from a seasoned
                          shopmaster.

                          Selecting and using gouges gets down to personal preference and personal
                          skills. Also, it depends on how and who taught you to carve.
                          What works for me does not seem natural for others. Personally, I use a
                          Flexicut curved gouge that is 1/4 in wide. The most ususeful also, is the
                          1/4 and the 1/2 in flat blade chisels in the Flexicut blades. For all the
                          rest, the Kutzall burrs and the diamond files, along with the dremel drum
                          sanders do the rest.
                          Personally, I use the gouge from side to side to chip out the bore, but I
                          only do the first 3 in on the TSH side. I finish the rest of the flute and
                          SAC with the Kutzall. The final shaping is done with the other files and
                          cutting tools.
                          Mike Jones and others use a slightly wider gouge and like to go down the
                          grain through the bore length. For me, doing that causes lots of grief with
                          checking and uneven bore shape. My bores are smooth and consistant and it
                          only takes me less than 3 hours to do a smooth neat job of both sides of a
                          flute ready to do the finishing touches on the sound mechanism before glue
                          up. It took me several months to learn the technique, but I keep wondering
                          why so many people keep beating up on themselves determined to do it the old
                          way and be proud of all their blisters and frustrations.
                          Of course, I do not sell my flutes, and each piece of wood is a new
                          adventure, which is the best part about branch flutes.
                          I really hope that the Fallen Branch guys get that DVD out soon. It will
                          probably be a great help to newbies. For those still wanting to use routers
                          and lathes, go for it. It is what you learned to do best.
                          I hope you find your own path and the tools that fit your needs and style.

                          Oh yes, about that wonder shop. They forgot to mention the vertical
                          rotating occillating spindle bench sander. It is great for helping to
                          shape up a branch flute blank.

                          Regards,

                          Tejas Medicineman
                          Donn Shands



















                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • little_raven_flutes
                          Steve, Here s my basic materials and method for hand carving a flute. If you would like to see some photos of this process at various stages, see
                          Message 12 of 21 , Mar 3, 2009
                            Steve,

                            Here's my basic materials and method for hand carving a flute. If you
                            would like to see some photos of this process at various stages, see
                            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nativeflutewoodworking/photos/album/1920149055/pic/list
                            for a "Flute Building Photo Journal".

                            In terms of tools, here's what I use for hand-carving the sort of
                            mid-size flutes most people start off with:

                            1) a 3/4 inch gouge with a #11 sweep. Don't know the brand offhand
                            anymore, but it was a decent one from a store like Rockler. Cost me
                            about $20, but that was probably 15 years ago. This is almost
                            exclusively what I use to carve out the bore and SAC. Can also use a
                            bent carving knife, but I tend to prefer the gouge.

                            2) a 3/8 inch flat palm chisel. Used for carving the TSH, splitting
                            edge, and duct.

                            3) a 3/16 inch half-round palm gouge. Used for making the blowhole for
                            the mouthpiece, and in most woods it is also what I use to bore the
                            initial finger holes.

                            4) Clamps -- I favor two kinds of clamps -- the Jorgensen wood hand
                            screw clamps and Irwin one-handed bar clamps.

                            5) half-round needle file. Used for enlarging or undercutting finger
                            holes, and also for enlarging the blowhole if needed after glue-up.

                            6) 3/4 inch carpenter's chisel. Used for carving the outer shape of
                            the flute. Others use spokeshaves, block planes, and draw knives for
                            this. I find I can do this most quickly with the simple flat chisel,
                            but admittedly that may be something of a learned skill.

                            7) 3m rubber sanding blocks. These are the best sanding blocks for
                            hand sanding. I don't always use them, but when I do want a sanding
                            block they are what I use. To go along with that, I will recommend
                            that you get the expensive, clog-resistant sandpaper. It is like three
                            times the price of cheap sandpaper, but is totally worth it. It cuts
                            faster, lasts longer, and clogs less.

                            8) I have tuned flutes by enlarging the finger holes using both needle
                            files and a dremel with a conical cutting stone. However, my method of
                            choice is burning the holes. I have used a number of tools for this,
                            but the burning tools you can buy on eBay do work pretty well,
                            actually, and they aren't expensive. Need a propane torch to go along
                            with that.

                            That's pretty much it. I do have quite a few other carving tools and
                            hand woodworking tools, but those are pretty much what I use on a
                            hand-carved flute. There are lots of different ways of performing each
                            step of flute construction, even just using hand tools. The above is
                            just what works for me and that I normally tend to use.

                            One other thing that I will recommend in the way of a hand tools are
                            Japanese saws. Japanese saws are "backsaws", meaning that they cut on
                            the pull-stroke, not on the push- stroke as many saws do. The
                            advantage to this is that when it is cutting, the saw blade is under
                            tension, not compression. This allows the blade to be much thinner
                            without bending during cutting. Japanese saws are made from very hard
                            steel and have incredibly sharp teeth. In short, they are both more
                            precise and far easier to cut with than any other saw I have ever
                            used. Using a Japanese hand saw is truly a pleasure. There are three
                            main types of Japanese saws -- the dozuki, kataba, and ryoba. I have
                            all three kinds in my shop, as well as some larger two-handed saws for
                            rough-cutting large pieces of wood, but I think that the most useful
                            type is the ryoba. It is my most-used saw and if I could only have one
                            saw, this would be the one. It has a double-sided blade with teeth for
                            cross cuts on one edge and rip cuts on the other. For really long rip
                            cuts, a kataba with rip teeth is better though, as the crosscut teeth
                            on the ryoba get in the way on long cuts. You can sometimes find some
                            Japanese-style saws at the hardware store. However, for this tool I'd
                            recommend going to a specialty woodworking store or buying online to
                            get a saw actually made in Japan. The difference is noticeable.


                            Here's the basic method I use to carve a flute by hand:

                            1. Dimension the flute blanks and split if needed. My first few
                            flutes were made from 1x2 lumber from Home Depot. It's already about
                            the right dimensions for half of a flute, so you can avoid the blank
                            splitting part. Just get a stick of cedar, or pine, or something and
                            cut it into two pieces of the length you want for the flute. For
                            handcarving, I suggest you start with something soft and easy to carve
                            like cedar, pine, hemlock, basswood, straight-grained redwood, etc.
                            Carving really hard woods by hand is very doable, but likely to be
                            frustrating when you are first starting out until you gain some skill
                            with the tools (and get good at sharpening them).

                            2. Mark out the bore and SAC on each half of the flute.

                            3. Carve the bore and SAC. Start by carving the bore out of one half
                            of the flute using a large gouge. Always hold the wood you are
                            working on so that you are pointing the gouge away from any parts of
                            your body, including the hand you are holding the wood with. Unless
                            your wood is perfectly quarter sawn, the grain will not run exactly
                            parallel to the length of your flute. This means that your gouge will
                            tend to "stick" in the grain going one direction and may dig and chip.
                            When first roughing out the shape this is not a big deal, but you
                            want to be careful that you don't accidentally chip out a large piece
                            near the edges of the bore, so try to go with the grain. This may
                            mean that you will need to carve towards one end of the flute on one
                            side of the bore and towards the other end on the other side. If you
                            accidentally chip out a large chunk that removes wood from a place you
                            didn't want it removed from, don't despair. Find the piece of wood
                            that was removed. It will likely fit tightly into the place it was
                            removed from. Glue it back in place with a dab of wood glue. Let the
                            glue dry, and you will be able to re-carve that area.

                            When carving a soft wood, I find it easiest to just use my hand and
                            the strength of my arm to push the gouge into and through the wood,
                            taking off additional wood with each stroke, as if carving with a
                            specially shaped knife. If you find this to be difficult or
                            frustrating, there is another way that may be more effective for you.
                            Clamp the half of the flute you are carving to a workbench with the
                            inside surface you are carving on facing up. Place the blade of the
                            gouge at the location you want to start your cut. If you are right
                            handed, hold the gouge with your left hand at approximately a 30
                            degree angle to the surface of the wood and strike the end of the
                            gouge handle with a carver's mallet. The exact kind of mallet is not
                            critical, but don't use a metal hammer, as it will damage the handle
                            of your gouge. Hardwood carving mallets work really well, but they
                            can be expensive. The advantage of a heavy hardwood mallet is that it
                            will do a little more work for the same amount of energy applied with
                            it, so it tends to afford the best level of control. I have also
                            successfully used an inexpensive mallet with a hard rubber striking
                            surface purchased at a hardware store. Start by tapping the gouge
                            fairly gently and experiment with how hard you have to strike it to
                            get the effect you want on the particular piece of wood you are using.
                            Don't start off hitting it like you are driving a nail -- you may
                            miss and hit your hand which is holding the gouge, plus you will
                            likely dig the blade too far into the wood. Strike it hard enough
                            that it is effective at removing wood, but always gently enough that
                            you are in complete control of it.

                            You can check the roundness of the bore by cutting little half-circle
                            gauges the diameter of the bore you are trying to make and sliding
                            them up and down the bore to check its depth and roundness. I often
                            don't do this step and just carve the bore by eye, but I've been doing
                            it for quite awhile.

                            Carve out the bore on the other half of the flute.

                            Now carve out the SAC on each half of the flute using the same
                            techniques used for the bore.

                            Once the bore and SAC are carved out, smooth them out with some 120
                            grit sandpaper, followed by 240 grit. Be careful not to round over
                            the edges with the sandpaper.

                            4. Carving the TSH and SAC exit hole. This is really the most
                            exacting part of flute construction, since it is critical to the
                            flute's production of sound. Even on flutes where I have machined the
                            bore, I make this part of the flute entirely by hand. Pick one half
                            of the flute to be the "top" half. This is the half that will have
                            the tone holes in it. It's also the half of the flute that gets seen
                            the most, so if one half of the flute has some particularly pretty
                            grain patterns, I will often pick that half for the top. Starting
                            from the inside of the flute bore, you are going to carve a
                            rectangular-shaped hole through to the top of the flute. This square
                            shaped hole will have three straight sides and one side that slants up
                            to produce the splitting edge of the TSH. It is this edge which
                            divides the airstream coming from the duct under the block. Take a
                            small flat palm chisel and start cutting a rectangular hole from
                            inside of the bore. Place the flute blank on a flat piece of scrap
                            wood while doing this so that the wood won't chip when you punch
                            through the other side with your chisel. Once you have a basic
                            rectangular hole made, chisel out the ramp from the inside of the
                            flute to form the cutting edge. The SAC exit hole can be a simple
                            hole, but a slanted round or rectangular hole will work better and
                            reduce air turbulence. You can cut a beveled rectangular hole the
                            same width as the TSH using the same basic methods. Or you can drill
                            or burn a slanted hole.

                            5. Glue-up. Before you glue the two halves together, wipe a light
                            coat of tung oil, shellac, etc., on the inside of the bore and SAC.

                            Now, apply a thin coat of wood glue to the inner edges of one half of
                            the flute. Smooth it out with your finger so you get a thin even coat
                            over all the surfaces that will be in contact. Join the two halves
                            together and make sure they are aligned. Now clamp the flute together
                            with at least three clamps, one in the center and one near each end.
                            Wipe off excess glue squeeze-out with a damp rag. Use additional
                            clamps if you see any gaps in the joint. Let the glue cure overnight.
                            I use Titebond III for these glue joints most of the time because it
                            is easy to work with and clean up, and the joint area is large enough
                            that Titebond is plenty strong.

                            5. Establish the fundamental. At this point you need to decide if you
                            are going to put the flue in the body of the flute or in the block.
                            If you are going to put it in the body, use a palm chisel to carefully
                            carve a very flat, shallow flue between the SAC exit and the TSH.
                            Then you can use any small flat block of wood as a block to test the
                            sound production. Start off by making the flue very shallow. Often
                            the flue does not need to be very deep at all and too deep of a flue
                            can produce faint or breathy tones, whether in the body or the block.
                            If you are putting the flue in the block, then cut the piece of wood
                            you will make the block from and again using a palm chisel, carve a
                            shallow, flat flue into the bottom of it.

                            I recommend putting the flue in the block for the first few flutes,
                            just because it is easier to correct if you screw it up -- just sand
                            the bottom of the block down to either make the flue shallower or
                            remove it altogether and start over. If you really get into a bad
                            spot, just start over with a fresh piece of wood for the block.
                            However, particularly when working with hand tools, putting the flue
                            in the flute body is not so harrowing as people sometimes think. You
                            can work very slowly with hand tools, so it is unlikely that you will
                            ruin your flute beyond repair. Also, if you make the flue just a
                            little too deep, you can sand down the entire top of the flute just a
                            little at this point to make it shallower.

                            Assuming you've got a good tone, if you want to concert tune the flute
                            to a particular key, you need to make sure that the fundamental note
                            of the flute corresponds to the same frequency as a recognized note.
                            If you aren't concert tuning it, you can skip this part entirely.
                            Check the fundamental note against a tuner. I prefer stroboscopic
                            tuners. Here's a post about why:
                            http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/basic_naf_making/message/8976.
                            If the fundamental of the flute is between notes, you can saw a small
                            amount off the foot end of the flute to raise the pitch and check it
                            again. Keep doing this until you reach a solidly tuned fundamental
                            note. Adding tuning holes is an alternative to chopping the length of
                            the bore down, though I won't go into that here.

                            If you don't have a good voicing on the fundamental, there is a lot of
                            troubleshooting you can do, which I'm also not going to go into in
                            this post. It has been covered many times on this forum, and this is
                            primarily just about hand carving.

                            6. Boring initial finger holes. You need to make the five or six
                            initial tone holes in the top half of the flute. Using a straight
                            edge, mark the centers of the six tone holes, according to your flute
                            design.

                            There are a number of ways to make these holes. You can drill them
                            out with a 1/8 or 3/16 inch drill bit, although sometimes it can be a
                            little difficult to get them all in a straight line unless you are
                            using a drill press, which gives you more precision. Another way to
                            do it is to take a small round gouge with the and "cut" the holes.
                            Place the end of the gouge so it is pointing straight down into the
                            wood and apply pressure while rotating the gouge to create a full
                            circle. This works particularly well on soft woods, and I actually
                            much prefer this to drilling when working on very soft woods or woods
                            with varying hardness and stability such as heavily spalted woods (I
                            once drilled a tone hole in a particularly soft spot in some spalted
                            maple and the drill seriously tore up the surrounding wood, requiring
                            a rather difficult repair). You can also burn the initial holes in if
                            you prefer.

                            7. Shape the exterior of the flute. There are many tools you can use
                            to shape the exterior of your flute by hand. Some use small block
                            planes. Spokeshaves are popular because they are designed to plane a
                            rounded shape. You can also use a drawknife. I personally just use a
                            3/4 inch carpenter's chisel which I've ground the end a little thinner
                            than normal and which I keep very sharp. Though the usage of the
                            particular tool you choose will vary, I think the same basic technique
                            I am about to describe applies.

                            Right now your flute is square, not round. Start with the square
                            corners and gradually round them down using your tool of choice. You
                            do need to leave a flat spot on top between the TSH and the SAC outlet
                            hole for the block to rest upon. Note that just as when carving the
                            bore, you will likely find your chisel "digging in" going in one
                            direction on each side, because the grain very likely does not run
                            perfectly parallel to the flute. You may again find it works best to
                            work in one direction on one side of the flute and in the other
                            direction on the other side. To combat any chipping that may occur,
                            keep your tools sharp. The sharper the blade, the more likely it is
                            to cut across the grain rather than digging into it and causing
                            chipping. I don't worry about carving the flute into an absolutely
                            perfectly circular shape -- this is a hand carved flute. You do want
                            to carve it into a fairly symmetric shape. Because I am carving a
                            square shape into a rounded shape, I tend to think of the flute in
                            quadrants -- working on each corner of the square to make it rounded.
                            I do a little bit of work on each quadrant at time, examining the
                            profile of the flute every so often to see where more material needs
                            to be removed, trying to keep the flute roughly symmetrical as I
                            gradually turn it into a more and more rounded shape. Also, I tend to
                            think of the length of the flute in four different sections -- the
                            portion of the bore within about two inches of the end of the flute,
                            the remainder of the bore up to the TSH, the block section (roughly
                            from the TSH to the SAC outlet hole), and the SAC/mouthpiece. The end
                            of the bore is the place where a lack of symmetry and roundness will
                            be most noticeable. I tend to work on this area first, working
                            carefully to create a rounded end with a pretty uniform wall
                            thickness. Then I work on the rest of the bore, the mouthpiece, and
                            the block section, gradually evolving the flute to its final shape.
                            The shape of the mouthpiece is a matter of taste. Just be aware of
                            the location of the SAC as you carve it. The first inlay decoration I
                            did on a flute was actually due to the fact that I had accidentally
                            chiseled through into the SAC when carving the mouthpiece and needed
                            to both seal the hole and cosmetically cover up my mistake.

                            Once the exterior of your flute is shaped pretty much the way you
                            want, switch over to sand paper for final shaping. Start with a
                            coarse sandpaper like 60 grit. You can either use it on a sanding
                            block or just hold the sheet in your hand. I usually do some
                            combination of the two. A sanding block is helpful for places where
                            you need to be able to push kind of hard to smooth out a particularly
                            high point. Holding the paper directly in your hand lets you bend it
                            around the circular shape of the flute to make a nice continuous
                            curve. The coarse 60 grit sandpaper will remove wood pretty quickly
                            and it shouldn't take too long to get the overall smooth shape you
                            want. Once your final shaping is done, you now need to smooth out all
                            the scratches left by the coarse sandpaper. This is done by going
                            over the entire flute with gradually finer and finer grit sandpaper.
                            I use 120-150 grit, followed by 240, followed by 400. This is enough
                            to get most any kind of wood quite smooth and ready to accept a
                            finish. As you go over your flute with the successively finer grits,
                            you may notice small patches that are a little rougher than you
                            originally thought which you will have to temporarily switch back to a
                            coarser grit to even out. With some patient sanding you can create an
                            incredibly smooth, even surface to the exterior of your flute.

                            8. Tune. Starting from the finger hole closest to the foot of the
                            flute, start tuning each finger hole by raising the pitch at that hole
                            as needed. There are a number of things that affect the tuning at any
                            particular finger hole. The diameter of the bore at that point, the
                            size of the finger hole, and the thickness of the wall. My primary
                            tuning tool is enlarging the hole. This can be done with files, with
                            a cutting stone on a rotary tool like a dremel, or by burning the
                            holes with heated steel rods. I like burning the holes because I like
                            the feeling of the wood giving way to the heat and the smell of the
                            smoke. Besides enlarging the hole, I will also sometimes decrease the
                            wall thickness at the finger hole by carefully shaving wood off the
                            outside of the bore with a chisel, by dishing the holes, by
                            undercutting the hole, or some combination of these. Making controlled
                            use of these other methods helps keep me from having to make a finger
                            hole too large to be comfortably playable or to look good relative to
                            the other finger holes. Undercutting is the one to be most careful
                            with, as it can have an affect on the tuning of the entire flute. It
                            is often possible to get good results by just tuning each hole to the
                            note it needs to be as I go. However, many will do two tuning passes
                            over the holes just to be sure. On the first pass, you get the holes
                            almost in tune but leave them a little flat. Then after getting all
                            the holes to this state, make a second fine tuning pass to get all the
                            holes exactly in tune. The reason for this is that it is not
                            impossible for the tuning of a higher hole to have an affect on the
                            tuning of a lower hole, particularly with methods like undercutting
                            the hole, and it is always easy to raise the pitch of a hole slightly
                            but more difficult to lower it.

                            Whew, this has gotten long. I'll leave a discussion of finishing out
                            of this :) Hope this is helpful. Note that this is just the way I
                            approach hand carving. There are other ways of carving the bore than
                            using a gouge, for example. A traditional bent knife works well also,
                            though using it is a different skill from using a gouge.

                            -Jeremy



                            > Hi
                            > I'm a newbie and I'm in the process of making my first flute using
                            > pre-routered blanks that I bought. I am going to buy a router and
                            > table, but I'm also very interested in using just hand tools. Can you
                            > give me more information on the types of tools you use, and your
                            > process when gouging the the bore and SAC?
                            >
                            > Thanks
                            > Steve
                            >
                          • redoak_1
                            ... Thanks so much for the in depth response. Very, very helpful!! I think you pushed me over the edge. I m going to order a few gouges and chisels and give
                            Message 13 of 21 , Mar 3, 2009
                              --- In nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com, "little_raven_flutes" <little_raven_flutes@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Steve,
                              >
                              > Here's my basic materials and method for hand carving a flute. If you
                              > would like to see some photos of this process at various stages, see
                              > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nativeflutewoodworking/photos/album/1920149055/pic/list
                              > for a "Flute Building Photo Journal".
                              >
                              > In terms of tools, here's what I use for hand-carving the sort of
                              > mid-size flutes most people start off with:
                              >
                              > 1) a 3/4 inch gouge with a #11 sweep. Don't know the brand offhand
                              > anymore, but it was a decent one from a store like Rockler. Cost me
                              > about $20, but that was probably 15 years ago. This is almost
                              > exclusively what I use to carve out the bore and SAC. Can also use a
                              > bent carving knife, but I tend to prefer the gouge.
                              >
                              > 2) a 3/8 inch flat palm chisel. Used for carving the TSH, splitting
                              > edge, and duct.
                              >
                              > 3) a 3/16 inch half-round palm gouge. Used for making the blowhole for
                              > the mouthpiece, and in most woods it is also what I use to bore the
                              > initial finger holes.
                              >
                              > 4) Clamps -- I favor two kinds of clamps -- the Jorgensen wood hand
                              > screw clamps and Irwin one-handed bar clamps.
                              >
                              > 5) half-round needle file. Used for enlarging or undercutting finger
                              > holes, and also for enlarging the blowhole if needed after glue-up.
                              >
                              > 6) 3/4 inch carpenter's chisel. Used for carving the outer shape of
                              > the flute. Others use spokeshaves, block planes, and draw knives for
                              > this. I find I can do this most quickly with the simple flat chisel,
                              > but admittedly that may be something of a learned skill.
                              >
                              > 7) 3m rubber sanding blocks. These are the best sanding blocks for
                              > hand sanding. I don't always use them, but when I do want a sanding
                              > block they are what I use. To go along with that, I will recommend
                              > that you get the expensive, clog-resistant sandpaper. It is like three
                              > times the price of cheap sandpaper, but is totally worth it. It cuts
                              > faster, lasts longer, and clogs less.
                              >
                              > 8) I have tuned flutes by enlarging the finger holes using both needle
                              > files and a dremel with a conical cutting stone. However, my method of
                              > choice is burning the holes. I have used a number of tools for this,
                              > but the burning tools you can buy on eBay do work pretty well,
                              > actually, and they aren't expensive. Need a propane torch to go along
                              > with that.
                              >
                              > That's pretty much it. I do have quite a few other carving tools and
                              > hand woodworking tools, but those are pretty much what I use on a
                              > hand-carved flute. There are lots of different ways of performing each
                              > step of flute construction, even just using hand tools. The above is
                              > just what works for me and that I normally tend to use.
                              >
                              > One other thing that I will recommend in the way of a hand tools are
                              > Japanese saws. Japanese saws are "backsaws", meaning that they cut on
                              > the pull-stroke, not on the push- stroke as many saws do. The
                              > advantage to this is that when it is cutting, the saw blade is under
                              > tension, not compression. This allows the blade to be much thinner
                              > without bending during cutting. Japanese saws are made from very hard
                              > steel and have incredibly sharp teeth. In short, they are both more
                              > precise and far easier to cut with than any other saw I have ever
                              > used. Using a Japanese hand saw is truly a pleasure. There are three
                              > main types of Japanese saws -- the dozuki, kataba, and ryoba. I have
                              > all three kinds in my shop, as well as some larger two-handed saws for
                              > rough-cutting large pieces of wood, but I think that the most useful
                              > type is the ryoba. It is my most-used saw and if I could only have one
                              > saw, this would be the one. It has a double-sided blade with teeth for
                              > cross cuts on one edge and rip cuts on the other. For really long rip
                              > cuts, a kataba with rip teeth is better though, as the crosscut teeth
                              > on the ryoba get in the way on long cuts. You can sometimes find some
                              > Japanese-style saws at the hardware store. However, for this tool I'd
                              > recommend going to a specialty woodworking store or buying online to
                              > get a saw actually made in Japan. The difference is noticeable.
                              >
                              >
                              > Here's the basic method I use to carve a flute by hand:
                              >
                              > 1. Dimension the flute blanks and split if needed. My first few
                              > flutes were made from 1x2 lumber from Home Depot. It's already about
                              > the right dimensions for half of a flute, so you can avoid the blank
                              > splitting part. Just get a stick of cedar, or pine, or something and
                              > cut it into two pieces of the length you want for the flute. For
                              > handcarving, I suggest you start with something soft and easy to carve
                              > like cedar, pine, hemlock, basswood, straight-grained redwood, etc.
                              > Carving really hard woods by hand is very doable, but likely to be
                              > frustrating when you are first starting out until you gain some skill
                              > with the tools (and get good at sharpening them).
                              >
                              > 2. Mark out the bore and SAC on each half of the flute.
                              >
                              > 3. Carve the bore and SAC. Start by carving the bore out of one half
                              > of the flute using a large gouge. Always hold the wood you are
                              > working on so that you are pointing the gouge away from any parts of
                              > your body, including the hand you are holding the wood with. Unless
                              > your wood is perfectly quarter sawn, the grain will not run exactly
                              > parallel to the length of your flute. This means that your gouge will
                              > tend to "stick" in the grain going one direction and may dig and chip.
                              > When first roughing out the shape this is not a big deal, but you
                              > want to be careful that you don't accidentally chip out a large piece
                              > near the edges of the bore, so try to go with the grain. This may
                              > mean that you will need to carve towards one end of the flute on one
                              > side of the bore and towards the other end on the other side. If you
                              > accidentally chip out a large chunk that removes wood from a place you
                              > didn't want it removed from, don't despair. Find the piece of wood
                              > that was removed. It will likely fit tightly into the place it was
                              > removed from. Glue it back in place with a dab of wood glue. Let the
                              > glue dry, and you will be able to re-carve that area.
                              >
                              > When carving a soft wood, I find it easiest to just use my hand and
                              > the strength of my arm to push the gouge into and through the wood,
                              > taking off additional wood with each stroke, as if carving with a
                              > specially shaped knife. If you find this to be difficult or
                              > frustrating, there is another way that may be more effective for you.
                              > Clamp the half of the flute you are carving to a workbench with the
                              > inside surface you are carving on facing up. Place the blade of the
                              > gouge at the location you want to start your cut. If you are right
                              > handed, hold the gouge with your left hand at approximately a 30
                              > degree angle to the surface of the wood and strike the end of the
                              > gouge handle with a carver's mallet. The exact kind of mallet is not
                              > critical, but don't use a metal hammer, as it will damage the handle
                              > of your gouge. Hardwood carving mallets work really well, but they
                              > can be expensive. The advantage of a heavy hardwood mallet is that it
                              > will do a little more work for the same amount of energy applied with
                              > it, so it tends to afford the best level of control. I have also
                              > successfully used an inexpensive mallet with a hard rubber striking
                              > surface purchased at a hardware store. Start by tapping the gouge
                              > fairly gently and experiment with how hard you have to strike it to
                              > get the effect you want on the particular piece of wood you are using.
                              > Don't start off hitting it like you are driving a nail -- you may
                              > miss and hit your hand which is holding the gouge, plus you will
                              > likely dig the blade too far into the wood. Strike it hard enough
                              > that it is effective at removing wood, but always gently enough that
                              > you are in complete control of it.
                              >
                              > You can check the roundness of the bore by cutting little half-circle
                              > gauges the diameter of the bore you are trying to make and sliding
                              > them up and down the bore to check its depth and roundness. I often
                              > don't do this step and just carve the bore by eye, but I've been doing
                              > it for quite awhile.
                              >
                              > Carve out the bore on the other half of the flute.
                              >
                              > Now carve out the SAC on each half of the flute using the same
                              > techniques used for the bore.
                              >
                              > Once the bore and SAC are carved out, smooth them out with some 120
                              > grit sandpaper, followed by 240 grit. Be careful not to round over
                              > the edges with the sandpaper.
                              >
                              > 4. Carving the TSH and SAC exit hole. This is really the most
                              > exacting part of flute construction, since it is critical to the
                              > flute's production of sound. Even on flutes where I have machined the
                              > bore, I make this part of the flute entirely by hand. Pick one half
                              > of the flute to be the "top" half. This is the half that will have
                              > the tone holes in it. It's also the half of the flute that gets seen
                              > the most, so if one half of the flute has some particularly pretty
                              > grain patterns, I will often pick that half for the top. Starting
                              > from the inside of the flute bore, you are going to carve a
                              > rectangular-shaped hole through to the top of the flute. This square
                              > shaped hole will have three straight sides and one side that slants up
                              > to produce the splitting edge of the TSH. It is this edge which
                              > divides the airstream coming from the duct under the block. Take a
                              > small flat palm chisel and start cutting a rectangular hole from
                              > inside of the bore. Place the flute blank on a flat piece of scrap
                              > wood while doing this so that the wood won't chip when you punch
                              > through the other side with your chisel. Once you have a basic
                              > rectangular hole made, chisel out the ramp from the inside of the
                              > flute to form the cutting edge. The SAC exit hole can be a simple
                              > hole, but a slanted round or rectangular hole will work better and
                              > reduce air turbulence. You can cut a beveled rectangular hole the
                              > same width as the TSH using the same basic methods. Or you can drill
                              > or burn a slanted hole.
                              >
                              > 5. Glue-up. Before you glue the two halves together, wipe a light
                              > coat of tung oil, shellac, etc., on the inside of the bore and SAC.
                              >
                              > Now, apply a thin coat of wood glue to the inner edges of one half of
                              > the flute. Smooth it out with your finger so you get a thin even coat
                              > over all the surfaces that will be in contact. Join the two halves
                              > together and make sure they are aligned. Now clamp the flute together
                              > with at least three clamps, one in the center and one near each end.
                              > Wipe off excess glue squeeze-out with a damp rag. Use additional
                              > clamps if you see any gaps in the joint. Let the glue cure overnight.
                              > I use Titebond III for these glue joints most of the time because it
                              > is easy to work with and clean up, and the joint area is large enough
                              > that Titebond is plenty strong.
                              >
                              > 5. Establish the fundamental. At this point you need to decide if you
                              > are going to put the flue in the body of the flute or in the block.
                              > If you are going to put it in the body, use a palm chisel to carefully
                              > carve a very flat, shallow flue between the SAC exit and the TSH.
                              > Then you can use any small flat block of wood as a block to test the
                              > sound production. Start off by making the flue very shallow. Often
                              > the flue does not need to be very deep at all and too deep of a flue
                              > can produce faint or breathy tones, whether in the body or the block.
                              > If you are putting the flue in the block, then cut the piece of wood
                              > you will make the block from and again using a palm chisel, carve a
                              > shallow, flat flue into the bottom of it.
                              >
                              > I recommend putting the flue in the block for the first few flutes,
                              > just because it is easier to correct if you screw it up -- just sand
                              > the bottom of the block down to either make the flue shallower or
                              > remove it altogether and start over. If you really get into a bad
                              > spot, just start over with a fresh piece of wood for the block.
                              > However, particularly when working with hand tools, putting the flue
                              > in the flute body is not so harrowing as people sometimes think. You
                              > can work very slowly with hand tools, so it is unlikely that you will
                              > ruin your flute beyond repair. Also, if you make the flue just a
                              > little too deep, you can sand down the entire top of the flute just a
                              > little at this point to make it shallower.
                              >
                              > Assuming you've got a good tone, if you want to concert tune the flute
                              > to a particular key, you need to make sure that the fundamental note
                              > of the flute corresponds to the same frequency as a recognized note.
                              > If you aren't concert tuning it, you can skip this part entirely.
                              > Check the fundamental note against a tuner. I prefer stroboscopic
                              > tuners. Here's a post about why:
                              > http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/basic_naf_making/message/8976.
                              > If the fundamental of the flute is between notes, you can saw a small
                              > amount off the foot end of the flute to raise the pitch and check it
                              > again. Keep doing this until you reach a solidly tuned fundamental
                              > note. Adding tuning holes is an alternative to chopping the length of
                              > the bore down, though I won't go into that here.
                              >
                              > If you don't have a good voicing on the fundamental, there is a lot of
                              > troubleshooting you can do, which I'm also not going to go into in
                              > this post. It has been covered many times on this forum, and this is
                              > primarily just about hand carving.
                              >
                              > 6. Boring initial finger holes. You need to make the five or six
                              > initial tone holes in the top half of the flute. Using a straight
                              > edge, mark the centers of the six tone holes, according to your flute
                              > design.
                              >
                              > There are a number of ways to make these holes. You can drill them
                              > out with a 1/8 or 3/16 inch drill bit, although sometimes it can be a
                              > little difficult to get them all in a straight line unless you are
                              > using a drill press, which gives you more precision. Another way to
                              > do it is to take a small round gouge with the and "cut" the holes.
                              > Place the end of the gouge so it is pointing straight down into the
                              > wood and apply pressure while rotating the gouge to create a full
                              > circle. This works particularly well on soft woods, and I actually
                              > much prefer this to drilling when working on very soft woods or woods
                              > with varying hardness and stability such as heavily spalted woods (I
                              > once drilled a tone hole in a particularly soft spot in some spalted
                              > maple and the drill seriously tore up the surrounding wood, requiring
                              > a rather difficult repair). You can also burn the initial holes in if
                              > you prefer.
                              >
                              > 7. Shape the exterior of the flute. There are many tools you can use
                              > to shape the exterior of your flute by hand. Some use small block
                              > planes. Spokeshaves are popular because they are designed to plane a
                              > rounded shape. You can also use a drawknife. I personally just use a
                              > 3/4 inch carpenter's chisel which I've ground the end a little thinner
                              > than normal and which I keep very sharp. Though the usage of the
                              > particular tool you choose will vary, I think the same basic technique
                              > I am about to describe applies.
                              >
                              > Right now your flute is square, not round. Start with the square
                              > corners and gradually round them down using your tool of choice. You
                              > do need to leave a flat spot on top between the TSH and the SAC outlet
                              > hole for the block to rest upon. Note that just as when carving the
                              > bore, you will likely find your chisel "digging in" going in one
                              > direction on each side, because the grain very likely does not run
                              > perfectly parallel to the flute. You may again find it works best to
                              > work in one direction on one side of the flute and in the other
                              > direction on the other side. To combat any chipping that may occur,
                              > keep your tools sharp. The sharper the blade, the more likely it is
                              > to cut across the grain rather than digging into it and causing
                              > chipping. I don't worry about carving the flute into an absolutely
                              > perfectly circular shape -- this is a hand carved flute. You do want
                              > to carve it into a fairly symmetric shape. Because I am carving a
                              > square shape into a rounded shape, I tend to think of the flute in
                              > quadrants -- working on each corner of the square to make it rounded.
                              > I do a little bit of work on each quadrant at time, examining the
                              > profile of the flute every so often to see where more material needs
                              > to be removed, trying to keep the flute roughly symmetrical as I
                              > gradually turn it into a more and more rounded shape. Also, I tend to
                              > think of the length of the flute in four different sections -- the
                              > portion of the bore within about two inches of the end of the flute,
                              > the remainder of the bore up to the TSH, the block section (roughly
                              > from the TSH to the SAC outlet hole), and the SAC/mouthpiece. The end
                              > of the bore is the place where a lack of symmetry and roundness will
                              > be most noticeable. I tend to work on this area first, working
                              > carefully to create a rounded end with a pretty uniform wall
                              > thickness. Then I work on the rest of the bore, the mouthpiece, and
                              > the block section, gradually evolving the flute to its final shape.
                              > The shape of the mouthpiece is a matter of taste. Just be aware of
                              > the location of the SAC as you carve it. The first inlay decoration I
                              > did on a flute was actually due to the fact that I had accidentally
                              > chiseled through into the SAC when carving the mouthpiece and needed
                              > to both seal the hole and cosmetically cover up my mistake.
                              >
                              > Once the exterior of your flute is shaped pretty much the way you
                              > want, switch over to sand paper for final shaping. Start with a
                              > coarse sandpaper like 60 grit. You can either use it on a sanding
                              > block or just hold the sheet in your hand. I usually do some
                              > combination of the two. A sanding block is helpful for places where
                              > you need to be able to push kind of hard to smooth out a particularly
                              > high point. Holding the paper directly in your hand lets you bend it
                              > around the circular shape of the flute to make a nice continuous
                              > curve. The coarse 60 grit sandpaper will remove wood pretty quickly
                              > and it shouldn't take too long to get the overall smooth shape you
                              > want. Once your final shaping is done, you now need to smooth out all
                              > the scratches left by the coarse sandpaper. This is done by going
                              > over the entire flute with gradually finer and finer grit sandpaper.
                              > I use 120-150 grit, followed by 240, followed by 400. This is enough
                              > to get most any kind of wood quite smooth and ready to accept a
                              > finish. As you go over your flute with the successively finer grits,
                              > you may notice small patches that are a little rougher than you
                              > originally thought which you will have to temporarily switch back to a
                              > coarser grit to even out. With some patient sanding you can create an
                              > incredibly smooth, even surface to the exterior of your flute.
                              >
                              > 8. Tune. Starting from the finger hole closest to the foot of the
                              > flute, start tuning each finger hole by raising the pitch at that hole
                              > as needed. There are a number of things that affect the tuning at any
                              > particular finger hole. The diameter of the bore at that point, the
                              > size of the finger hole, and the thickness of the wall. My primary
                              > tuning tool is enlarging the hole. This can be done with files, with
                              > a cutting stone on a rotary tool like a dremel, or by burning the
                              > holes with heated steel rods. I like burning the holes because I like
                              > the feeling of the wood giving way to the heat and the smell of the
                              > smoke. Besides enlarging the hole, I will also sometimes decrease the
                              > wall thickness at the finger hole by carefully shaving wood off the
                              > outside of the bore with a chisel, by dishing the holes, by
                              > undercutting the hole, or some combination of these. Making controlled
                              > use of these other methods helps keep me from having to make a finger
                              > hole too large to be comfortably playable or to look good relative to
                              > the other finger holes. Undercutting is the one to be most careful
                              > with, as it can have an affect on the tuning of the entire flute. It
                              > is often possible to get good results by just tuning each hole to the
                              > note it needs to be as I go. However, many will do two tuning passes
                              > over the holes just to be sure. On the first pass, you get the holes
                              > almost in tune but leave them a little flat. Then after getting all
                              > the holes to this state, make a second fine tuning pass to get all the
                              > holes exactly in tune. The reason for this is that it is not
                              > impossible for the tuning of a higher hole to have an affect on the
                              > tuning of a lower hole, particularly with methods like undercutting
                              > the hole, and it is always easy to raise the pitch of a hole slightly
                              > but more difficult to lower it.
                              >
                              > Whew, this has gotten long. I'll leave a discussion of finishing out
                              > of this :) Hope this is helpful. Note that this is just the way I
                              > approach hand carving. There are other ways of carving the bore than
                              > using a gouge, for example. A traditional bent knife works well also,
                              > though using it is a different skill from using a gouge.
                              >
                              > -Jeremy
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > > Hi
                              > > I'm a newbie and I'm in the process of making my first flute using
                              > > pre-routered blanks that I bought. I am going to buy a router and
                              > > table, but I'm also very interested in using just hand tools. Can you
                              > > give me more information on the types of tools you use, and your
                              > > process when gouging the the bore and SAC?
                              > >
                              > > Thanks
                              > > Steve
                              > >
                              >Jeremy

                              Thanks so much for the in depth response. Very, very helpful!! I think you pushed me over the edge. I'm going to order a few gouges and chisels and give this a shot.

                              Thanks again!!
                              Steve
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