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This blog uses cut strips glued in a circle.

Start with the math:

How many facets do you want?

I use 12 because it's easier to figure.

Take the number of degrees in a circle, divide by that number, in this case, twelve.

Equals 30 degrees.

But since you're only cutting one side at a time, divide that in half - 15 degrees.

Set your saw tilt at 15.


The angle will cause the material to rise at the blade, so use a hold-down of some sort.

The width of the strips can be determined by taking the desired diameter of bore plus 2X the thickness of the wood. and multiplying by pi and dividing by the number of sides. In this case 3/8 inch wide.

  (Remember you will have one on each side of the bore)

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After making a test piece, cut it into short lengths and rubber band them in a circle.

If all works well, saw however many strips you need.

Take two or more strips of masking tape lay on the table sticky side up.

It helps to bend the tips under to hold them down.

Make sure they are at an angle.

Add glue to the angled side of each piece of wood.

The angle will tend to put the squeeze-out on the inside where you want it to help waterproof the bore.

A dowel will help to get the bore round and spread the glue.

A dozen or so rubberbands act as clamps.

After the glue dries and you have planed, filed, or sanded the outside smooth. whittle or turn the mouthpiece and glue into place. Next, decide where you want the Slow Air Chamber and flatten the top of the flute. (Orange shown). To form the Nest.

Cut a notch for the divider. (Green).

I make the divider 1/4 - 3/8.

Whittle or saw the divider to the green shape.

It must be level with the top of the nest.

Depending on your skill the transition holes can be full size and shimmed (Bottom), or formed (Top).

All that's left is to drill the finger holes.

These can be located either from a chart, picking a number and drilling them all the same distance apart, or letting the player hold the instrument and marking where their fingers are.


The bird can be made simply by taking a small scrap of wood and gluing a "U" shaped of cardboard to it.

Use the finish of your choice.

Happy playing

I gotta make one!!

Thanks Charlie

Charlie, I have made several hundred Native Flutes and sold all over the world.  I have made flutes over the past 50 years of almost every wood imaginable.  To me you are complicating the making of flutes.  It's like the CBG how technical do you want the Chief Black/Decker to be?  You never mentioned keys or tuning, length of flute, size of barrel, white air, force of the whirl wind I can on and on the physics can never stop. Native people and I'm one never had lathes or routers, I can take a limb and make any key flute you want.  I will tell you a short story, back in Viet Nam when we would set up at night in the jungle I would make a bamboo flute and leave it for the people who would savage our perimeter the next morning for what ever they could find.  In Vietnam there is a similar flute like the native flute, different air chamber but similar so I know someone played my flutes.  I left one almost always when I had an hour or so, I passed on the torch.  Now I wonder now how many people are making Native love flutes there? 

I was presenting an alternate way for those who don't have bamboo or a lathe or a router.

I don't tune on the grounds that I haven't met anyone from a tribe that had tuning forks or pitchpipes.

How many people are making and playing Love Flutes - gotta be thousands!

Perhaps you could do a blog about traditional methods?

I tried making one from western red cedar using only hand chisels and gouges.


Tell me more about white air and force of the whirlwind.

I don't understand what you meant by, "I don't tune on the grounds that I haven't met anyone from a tribe that has tuning forks or pitch pipes."  Maybe you are being facetious, but NDNs do have pitch pipes and some tuning forks, we eat dog with them.

White air, is the air that leaves the splitting edge and goes not in the barrel for sound but leaves and goes into the air to do nothing.  A perfect flute has a split of 50% both ways, most never make it usually something like 60 to 40 ratio on a real good flute, experience will tell you.  My flutes averaged about 55 /45 on a great flute.

Force of whirl wind is the spin of air going into the air chamber to produce enough air to make sound.  This is  adjustable by the size and length of this chamber and size of hole for mouth piece. There needs to be back pressure when one blows into the air chamber to be able to sub stain notes or to cut off notes.  This all come with experience.

No one wants to know the old way of making anything, no patience, no time.  It's not NDNs who buy flutes we make our own, white people make Chief Black/deckers and buy them.  Its like back in the 70's all the white kids came to the REZ and wanted to be NDNs and get NDN names, so Ole' smart Crow Dog gave them names and called them NDNs after receiving $200.00 bucks.

If you want more info on making flutes with different keys, sizes or what ever make me a friend, we'll see, Sonny


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