Polymer Flute Delrin Maker Irish Celtic
At present I am making a tunable, keyless, three-piece, Pratten-style flute in Delrin polymer(pictured above).
Here is a sound clip of David Migoya playing this model on John Lardiner's (with Kevin Rumery on the bouzouki).
My flutes are machined out of solid rod stock. To make the body of the flute, I follow the same basic sequence of operations that flutemakers did 200 years ago when shaping a flute out of wood (though I have more power tools than they did!). The final finishing--where holes are shaped and sharp corners are rounded--is particularly important for the final voicing and tuning of the flute. Every flute I make is individually played and carefully checked before I send it on to its new home.
Particular features of my design are:
- Pratten Style: Pratten-style flutes are characterized by large tone holes and tapered bore that are capable of producing a relatively loud and "reedy" tone. I say my flute is "Pratten-style" because while the bore, embouchure and tone hole dimensions are consistent with historical Pratten flutes, it is not a copy of any particular instrument. It also differs from historical flutes in its joint construction, the "D" foot, being keyless, etc.
- Three-piece construction: The use of two lower sections allows the angle of the holes for each hand to be adjusted independently for best ergonomics.
- Tuning Slide: The flute is fully tunable by means of an innovative tuning slide design (patent pending).
- Suitable for Irish playing style: In fine-tuning the design I have paid particular attention to two tone elements that are important to players of Irish music: a strong low D, and an embouchure shape that supports production of a focused, reedy tone.
- Delrin material: Delrin(aka polymer, acetal, and Polypenco) is a synthetic material that is popular for making flutes because it has a tone quality that is similar to tropical hardwoods, but is less expensive and also does not have wood's issues with shrinking, cracking, needing to be periodically oiled, etc.
- Metal rings: The joints are bound with silver-plated rings.
- Sealed joints: To further simplify maintenance and increase reliability, the joints are sealed with rings of a synthetic material which give a complete and consistent air seal regardless of humidity.
- Screw-adjustable cork option: The cap and cork that normally come with the flute are combined into a single unit (shown at right below). For an additional charge, a cork that is adjustable via a screw thread (shown at left) can be substituted. There's no inherent difference in sound between the two cap/cork styles. The reason I offer the adjustable one is that some people like to experiment with the spacing between the embouchure hole and the face of the cork, which significantly affects the relative response of the high and low register (as well as tuning of third register notes, but those aren't used much in folk music). With the one-piece, I have fixed that distance at a point which I think is the best overall position, so I personally use the one-piece cap/cork if I'm not experimenting...
- Box: An optional foam lined plastic box (shown below) holds the three flute sections in a compact form.
For information on availability, please see the ordering page.