Flute plans

 

 

Flute plans are available from some museums, but the range available illustrates that most of the work so far in drawing up instruments has been carried out by the makers of baroque and early classical instruments, rather than the makers of flutes suitable for Irish music.  The drawings are often lacking in detail too, and there are no images or other information which the maker ideally needs if they can't have the flute in front of them.

Consequently, I'm often asked for information on later flutes from people who want to try making.  You'll understand that I can't afford to give such information away - it represents many days of work gathering, presenting and distributing it.  But it seems unnecessary to force everyone down the same path - find a good flute, measure and draw it up - especially when some of the best old flutes aren't easy to come by.  So, I'm now offering packages of information which should be enough for you to make a top class flute (assuming you have access to the equipment and skills required).


R.S. Prattens Perfected

One of the most popular flutes and one not well represented in museum collections is the RS Pratten's Perfected.  Coming out just after Boehm introduced his cylinder flute, it is a big-bored, big-holed instrument with excellent performance and tuning very adequate for playing Irish music (but capable of even further improvement if desired).  I have Boosey's No 8626 and this is the instrument featured in the plans. 

Thanks to Belgian flute maker and collector, Luc Verhoeven, for his painstaking preparation of the detailed drawings of the Boosey Prattens.

And to Californian flute player, Dave Ogden, for permission to include additional information from his Boosey Prattens No 7008.


Rudall Carte & Co.

The most famous makers in the 19th century were undoubtedly Rudall & Rose, but their flutes present some serious difficulties to the inexperienced maker.  The scale length of the body was far longer than is ideal for modern use at A440Hz.  In addition, flutes of that era suffered from often quite serious "flat foot syndrome".  The combination of the two effects means that low notes can be up to 60 cents flatter than notes further up the flute, which demands a lot of the player to overcome.  Experienced modern makers have developed ways of dealing with both problems, but that usually requires making a few prototypes to get it right.  It was interesting to find that Rudall Rose's successors, Rudall Carte, also came up with solutions, which are embodied in this particular instrument, No 7120, made in 1893.

Thanks to Swiss flute maker and collector, Benjamin Glauser, for his painstaking preparation of the detailed drawings of the Rudall Carte.


Plans for other instruments

The Pratten's and Rudall Carte plan packages are the only ones I've prepared to date, but other packages are possible.  Talk to me if there's something you'd like and I'll look into the possibilities.


The plan packages

The 9 & 13 page packages of information includes:

  • an introductory page with background information

  • a drawing giving the main dimensions and showing the locations and dimensions of all the holes, tenons, etc

  • a chart of the bore dimensions

  • a tuning chart showing the effects of slide extension at several pitches

  • several pages of drawings showing cross sections through the blocks and the significant dimensions of the keys

  • an image of the flute disassembled, and

  • images of the keys, from above, below and from the side, for those wishing to emulate them closely

I believe these are the most comprehensive packages of information available - that is certainly the aim.  Lots of people have purchased the plans and no omissions or ambiguities have been reported.  Any problems will be promptly corrected and purchasers will get updates as they occur.


Which plans to buy?

Ideally both, of course (cue cash register sound).  Both are quite different flutes, both perfectly suited to Irish music.  The difference comes down to tone colour.  The Prattens, having a larger bore, puts more emphasis on the lower partials, giving the flute more "body", or fullness of tone.  The narrower bore of the Rudall gives more emphasis to the middle partials, giving the flute a reedier tone.  The Rudall is perhaps a smidge easier to play.

Quite seriously, you might like to get both to be able to enjoy first hand both aspects of flute making, flute playing, and flute study.


Getting help

I recommend anyone attempting to build an instrument should join the flutemakers list where nitty-gritty advice on flute-making matters can be found.  Remember to check out the Flutemakers archives first before asking the same old questions everyone asks!


Copyright Notice

Although the flute design is well past any copyright restrictions, the drawing and information I supply is my intellectual property and is covered by the usual rules of copyright.  Needless to say, I'll take a very dim view of anyone who voids the copyright by passing or selling information contained on to anyone else.  The dim view will certainly include receiving no further updates or other assistance.

As you can imagine, I'll need quite a few purchasers to cover the amount of work involved.  I hope that will happen over a period but it won't if people ignore the rules.  I can imagine that if this does work, other makers might do the same with other interesting original flutes in their possession, which is to all our benefit.  Obviously, I and other makers can only afford to make more plans available if we can cover the costs involved.


Acknowledgements

Thanks to Belgian flute maker and collector, Luc Verhoeven, for his painstaking preparation of the detailed drawings of the Boosey Prattens.

And to Californian flute player, Dave Ogden, for permission to include additional information from his Boosey Prattens No 7008.

And to Swiss flute maker, Benjamin Jonas Glauser, for his fabulous drawings of the Rudall Carte.


Ordering

The flute plan packages cost AUD $100.  (Convert that to your currency)  Remember to tell me which package you want!

On the practical level, I can handle MasterCard, Visa, or PayPal, and deliver the plans as an email attachment in Microsoft Word, or in .pdf format.  Contact me for advice on easy ways to send money.  The package will be delivered immediately on clearance of payment.


Flute Making Tuition

I'm working up to offering on-line tuition for flute makers, amateur and professional.  Talk to me if interested.


Contact me to place an order.

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