On making an instrument *5

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February 10, 2009

Oh, I have been cold and running late all day! It started out fine when I left home, but by the time I got to the Hague to teach, the weather was awful, with terrible wind blowing the rain everywhere! No need for umbrellas with these torrents! After teaching, I missed a tram by 30 seconds, which made me miss the train, which made me 30 minutes late for class. I was disappointed, because I was secretly hoping for an entire 2 hours and 15 minutes at the lathe; on the other hand I did have time to buy some dinner at the train station and warm up a bit on the train. I wasn’t wearing the proper shoes or coat for the weather, so I needed that extra bit of time, I suppose.  Luckily when I finally got to class, the guy using the lathe I usually work on was ready to move on to something else, and I could begin again with the headjoint.

I turned the headjoint and filed it down to 23mm, and then a little section at the end to 20mm.  This is the part onto which I will glue the small section of metal tube that I filed down last week.  The body of the flute will also need a section filed down to probably less than 20mm, because this tenon will be wrapped with string to fit into the metal tubing.

headjoint with tenon, body with no tenon yet
metal tubing and headjoint

Last week on the walk back to the train station, Paul and I were discussing that since we are making the instrument in two parts,  I could actually make another body to go with this headjoint, so that I have two descants, one in F and one in G.  I think this might be a fun project, and it will help me review everything I’ve learned so far, and perhaps make the flute more flexible in terms of playing with others.  Depending on the pitch and keys everyone else is playing in, I can choose which instrument will be best. His next project for me after that is a petite flute, which will be slightly conical inside instead of cylindrical. He’s such an optimist!!

Perhaps because I was cold and late,  I was distracted, for I made a few dumb mistakes with the machines today. Nothing too serious or unsafe, but tightening a few screws here and there like I should have would certainly have made for a much less frightening experience than the grinding sound and jumping around that the lathe and my flute-to-be produced when I turned the whole thing on. Everyone in the entire building can clearly hear when you’ve made that mistake, and Paul zoomed over in the split second it took for me to hit the off button. 🙁  It is precisely this sort of mistake that I loathe, and the kind that sometimes makes me afraid to try new things,  even if it is more related to inexperience than anything. It is surely also related to my general wariness around machines of any kind. After a little moment to dispel those thoughts, I started again (under the teacher’s watchful eyes), thankful that my bright red face was facing the wall.

It seems that next week I’ll be getting to drill the mouth hole and finger holes, so I suspect that within the next couple weeks, I might have completed my first flute!

all the parts
slightly assembled