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Breton flute

   Breton flute.   


Here is a whistle, or rather a diatonic recorder of a style deliberately more Breton than Irish.
It is intended for the repertoire of the bombard and differs from the Irish flute by the presence of a subtonic hole, just like the key of the bombard.
The flute is also quite powerful and stable in the low register, which also corresponds well to the range of the bombard.
It is in D major, unlike the Bb bombard, but in truth a Bb flute would be too long
and the goal for a training instrument is rather to have a similar finger spacing to that of the bombard.

The bore is tapered inverted, and the head is removable, allowing adjustment of the tuning.
The flute is made of three woods, rosewood, boxwood and Macassar ebony for the body.
It is also decorated with pewter inlaying.

Here is a small video presentation ..

For those who are curious about how to make a flute, here are some pictures showing
the steps of manufacturing.
The first difficulty, especially for conical instruments, is drilling and boring.
The piercing is done in a stepped way, starting with the smallest diameter from one side to the next, then by successively bigger diameters on a shorter length, so as to rough out the cone.
Unfortunately, I did not take pictures of this step. It is actually done in advance, so as to leave
the time for the wood to stabilize and fully equilibrate with the moisture of the surrounding air.
The first photos show the boring of this flute, ie the shaping of the inner cone with a tool
called a reamer which has the exact shape of the bore and which allows to obtain a perfect surface state.
The making of a conical reamer is in itself quite an adventure, and this is explained in another article.


The reamer is held in the chuck
and the piece is held firmly by hand ..

For once on the lathe, it is the tool
which is spinning and the piece that advances on the tool.
See the video.

The three pieces forming the head, roughly shaped.
The bottom part is a mandrel that will be used for mounting on the lathe ..

The body of the head, on the mandrel ..

Machining the body of the head ..

This shoulder corresponds to the thickness of the channel inside the beak.
The most precise parts of the build are done on a metal lathe and not a wood lathe.

Shaping of the outer part of the head on the wood-turning lathe this time ..

Milling of the canal.
The chuck is immobilized ..

I use a high speed motor block installed
in the tool post of the lathe..

Milling the slope at an angle of 12 °.

Checking the machining. The compound slide
is hiding the view ..

The most interesting part starts, for this it requires tools
with perfect sharpening ..

Shaping of the part called labium.
There is a slope above and below, and the blade must be very slightly rounded.

The cap, the cape and the head body ..

Assembled for the first cry ..

Finishing, here I am using Abranet sand paper up to 600 grit.

Adjusting the lowest note on the body.
The piece is held in a ball-bearing steady rest.

The flute has already its roughed playing holes.
The chimney formed by each hole has a certain volume which influences
the total volume and geometry of the tube. It is useful to
take this into account for the adjustment in length which corresponds to the lowest note.

Forest of drill bits, each stepped by a tenth of a millimeter.
The tuning is done hole by hole from the bottom.
It is the first model I make with this reamer, so there is a bit of trial and error....

Once the cap is in place and glued on,
shaping the shape of the beak ..

The rounding is finished on the roll of the belt sander.

A bevel on the top of the beak for this model that has a "big head" ..

Final shape of the beak ..

Fine tuning ....

In fact, I had miscalculated the position of my holes ...
Fortunately, I had prepared two pipes, and I was able to re-make the flute "clean".
Below, the rough draft.
That's when I got the idea of ​​the sub-tonic.

Sculpture for inlays ..

Tin filling with soldering iron.
Thank you Gilbert Hervieux for the trick ..

If you control the temperature well, there is a phase
where the tin is pasty, and not liquid.
That's when with the spatula you can push it in the grooves..

Finishing the pewter ring on the lathe, with the gouge ..

There you go....

The finished flute, before oiling ..


Detail of the beak ..

I proceed by immersion for a day in this PVC tube filled with linseed oil.

Oiling helps to saturate the wood and allow it to better
resist the humidity of the breath ..

The flute in two parts.
Head slide jointed with polyester thread (which swells less than cotton) ..

The appearance changes a lot. This wood, which is a clear ebony vein
Macassar becomes much darker ..



Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

PS. I remind you that I do not sell my instruments, but I can help you if you want to make your own.

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Creation date : 30/01/2018 : 19:41
Category : - Woodwinds
Page read 8799 times

Reactions to this article

Reaction #12 

by simon 29/06/2021 : 23:38

Je suis impressionné par cette très belle réalisation. Pour ma part je me contente de chalumeaux en canne ,et je trouve déjà ça assez difficile. par ailleurs je connais deux facteurs de flûtes à bec baroques près de chez moi ,et c'est vraiment le même boulot (parfois compliqué par les copies de perces très particulières de certains instruments anciens). Je me demande pourquoi vous ne devenez pas professionnel (il est vrai qu' on ne fait apparemment pas fortune dans ces métiers...) . Bref,félicitations pour faire vivre et évoluer la facture d' instruments traditionnels .