How to Carve a Recorder Flute Out of Wood

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Carve a Recorder Flute Out of Wood
Carve a Recorder Flute Out of Wood (Image: http://www.gettyimages.com/)

Not only are recorders fun and relaxing to play, a hand-crafted recorder makes a beautiful decorative piece. Carving recorders from wood makes a great hobby, and with a little patience and some basic knowledge, you can make your own recorders to play, collect or even sell. While there are modern, expensive tools available for the manufacture of recorders, this article focuses on tools less expensive and more readily available to the amateur hobbyist.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood carving knife
  • Chisel
  • Reamers
  • Saw
  • Vice
  • Drill
  • Sandpaper
  • Files
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Lacquer

Choose the type of wood you wish to carve your recorder. Bamboo, spruce, walnut, maple and oak are all good choices. Look for a piece of wood with as few abnormalities as possible. Pay attention to the grain, which will become an important factor in the final appearance of your instrument. The important thing is to let your imagination and your eye be your guide to selecting a piece of wood you believe will make a beautiful finished instrument.

Carving a piece of raw wood into a fine musical instrument is time consuming. If you aren't familiar with how a recorder works, it's best before you start carving to get a diagram of the instrument. This is not necessary if you are carving primarily for looks, but if you want an instrument that plays accurate notes, understanding precise dimensions is crucial to your success.

Carve with a good knife. If you plan to carve recorders on a regular basis, consider a wood carving knife set for variety. Find a work space where you will be comfortable. If you're working from a diagram, have it close by and positioned so you can refer to it easily without interrupting your work. The key to carving your recorder is to work diligently.

Wood carving knife set
Wood carving knife set

Use a boring spoon to hollow out the instrument. This process is time-consuming and should be done with care. Use a small file to cut the windway. Use a small, flat chisel to chip away rough spots and a light grain sandpaper to smooth the bore.

Drill the fingering holes, keeping the drill as straight as possible. Avoid applying too much pressure. You don't want the holes uneven or too wide. Use a thin file and a very fine sandpaper to smooth the edges of the holes.

Run light-grain sandpaper over your recorder until you have a smooth finish, then apply a coat of water-resistant stain in your choice of color. Use acrylic paint for any artwork you'd like to add to your instrument, and finish it with a glossy lacquer coating applied with a small paint brush. Leave the instrument to dry for several hours and you're ready to play.

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