How our Native American Style Flutes are made
Our flutes are made from fire-killed old-growth cedar. Over one hundred years ago, fire swept through the area where I live in southeastern British Columbia, Canada. The fire killed most of the ancient cedars, but some of them remained standing. One of these cedars fell near my home. This tree, just one of many in the area, has so far yielded hundreds of flutes, yet not even one-third of the wood has been used. I consider that this beautiful tree gave itself to help spread music throughout the world.
The flutes are made by first splitting the wood in two halves and carefully hollowing out the halves. Each half is planed and smoothed before being glued together. The glue joints are so exact that most people cannot find the join line even if I show them where it is. I have had customers refuse to believe that the joint is there at all; only when they look down the throat of the flute and see the join from within do they believe I have not simply drilled out the wood! All flutes are finished with an organic linseed oil.
Tuning. Holes are drilled to a template - often a very small hole is indexed while I blow into the tuner. Gradually the hole is enlarged until the tone is perfect.
Native American flute has two separate chambers. The first chamber
becomes filled with air when the mouthpiece is blown into. The
air is then guided up under the totem animal. The totem animal
has a very narrow slot (1/16 inch) cut into it which compresses
the air into a thin stream and hits the edge of the second hole,
splitting the air and creating the tone. The notes are played
by opening and closing various combinations of finger holes.
Totems that have thin, or delicate body parts, such as an angel's wing, are made from yew, which provides great strength even in thin pieces. The totem animal is moveable and will affect the tone of the flute. Before playing, make sure that the totem animal is flush with the front edge (sound chamber edge) of the divider. You may make a minor adjustment in pitch by moving the totem animal slightly forward (sharpening pitch) or backward (flattening pitch). Tighten the totem animal securely and enjoy.
| Choose a flute | Choose
a totem | Totem Images | Sound
Spirit Native American Flutes