The Birth of a Flute


Harvesting Wood


During late fall, when the sapstream is low, I go out to search and hand-harvest the right wood; mostly small trunks of inland bushes and trees such as Elder, Hazel, Dogwood, Ash, Robinia and many others.

After I have collected small piles of wood I take them on my shoulder and carry them out, ready for the many years of curing.


The Curing Process


The wood is prepared for the curing process, treated with woodglue at the butt ends to reduce the curing speed, and sometimes pre-drilled.

Like this they are stored for many years, and turned once in a while.

After this long period of sleep the bark is taken off and the wood is left to rest again.




The cured wood is drilled with hand tools. The hand-forged drill follows the natural curves and original shape of each piece of wood, leaving a one-of-a-kind imprint and bore shape, making each instrument a unique piece with a personal character.

The drilled piece is treated and worked inside, respecting this 'imprint', and afterwards I test it for sound by tapping the end of the bore with my hand. This way I can determine if the wood and bore shape has the right overtones and necessary acoustic aspects, and if it's voice is 'alive'.

If the sound does not convince me, has flaws or is dull, the piece is not used. This is the first criteria for making only concert-quality flutes.


Rough Shaping, First Sounds


The piece is roughly shaped, and the "first sound" is cut.

The wood that was at first a branch or trunk, comes 'alive'... always a thrilling moment.


Voicing and Tuning


The holes are measured out. As the wood is always uniquely shaped, there is a real quest for good tuning, over and over again.

Things can still go wrong at this point. Once the holes are set, the tuning and voicing stage can begin. This is where experience and years of ongoing experimentation come in handy. This is the point where it all happens: shaping and creating, finding a unique body of sound, a personality. A demanding journey; intense, obsessive, and occasionally difficult, but above all passionate and joyful.A true privilege to witness this beautifull 'birth'.


Finishing and Oiling


The flutes are finished with natural products only, using a alcohol-based shellac resin polish, and applying many layers by hand. Sometimes this is a transparent natural finish, sometimes over a water-based stain. I enjoy a simple wax and oil finish as well. After the flutes have had a protecting oil bath I put them together and do some fine-tuning and adjusting, a very important and time consuming part of the process. I can lose myself in details for hours... everything has to be just 'right'.


Materials & Tools


All the instruments are shaped by hand, mostly outside on my bench in the garden.

Carefully tapping the juniper block with the second-smallest hammer in my workshop.


Dogwood and Eldertrunks for future fujara making...

Elder, Locust, Dogwood and Ash for kaval making slowely curing on the rack.


Elderwood just planed a minute ago

For all the fine cutting work I use a scalpel with ready sharpened blades. Works nice ,smooth and acurate.


Home-made shellac resin polish and colour pigments.

I use Japanese pulling saws mostly. Compared to these our European 'pushing ' saws are quite barbaric and medieval.


Little olive wooden spoon that I carved with my pocket knife in Morocco once, it became my pigment spoon.

Measurements are not only made on the outside...


Measuring out where the soundwindow will be on a Elderwood trunk, this ruler has already been with me for over ten years.

Tube filled with oil for the flutes to bathe in.


The only electrical tool is a simple hand-drill for small holes and such.

Part of the chisel family I have gathered through the years.


Shellac resin flakes, beeswax, alcohol and all kinds of natural oils.

The only wood I buy and don't harvest myself is Juniper wood for the blocks.

These two became good friends.

Though I use many types of wood, hard Elder trunks are most common for Fujara. Hand-forged hand drill in action here.


Very very sharp chisels, that's how I like them.