How My Flutes are made

On this page I will try to add descriptions and pictures of the various processes and steps I follow in making my flutes.  Keep on eye on this page, there will be more soon !

Making of a Delrin keyless flute :

Making a delrin flute is pretty much the same as making a wooden flute, I use the same tools and same techniques but some steps will be slightly different.

1-All start with the material. I receive delrin in rod shape and black color but it is also available in sheet and various diameter and color: white, black, green, yellow, etc
For flute making black is more suitable than green obviously...
For a keyed flute I would use a  wider diameter.

The rod is then cut to the right length for each part of the flute.

The Center is marked and each piece is per-drilled on the lathe.

Then a pilot hole is drilled using a gun drill for a perfect and fast result.

Now that the pilot hole is made in each part, I will use spade bit to enlarge each hole and get as close as possible to the final shape of the bore, so the amount of material to ream out is as small as possible. This makes the reaming process much easier.

Next comes the reaming process. Each reamer is custom made and is unique. Some of them are made for me in Germany by a specialized maker and others are home made .

the reamers are mounted on the lathe and each part is reamed at slow speed. This will give the right shape to the bore of the flute and is a crucial part of the making process.
At this stage a wooden flute would go back on the shelf to dry and stabilize for a few weeks but since this is plastic...lets continue !

Head reamer

 Main body reamer

Right hand reamer with mortise.

Foot reamer with mortize

Another type of reamer. 

Reaming job done!

Now is time to make the slide. I use Nickel silver tubing for the outer sleeve. 
It is cut to length on the lathe and turned so the edge is nice and clean for a perfect fit.

Once the outer sleeve is nice and clean, I can do the same with the inner part of the slide. In this example I will use brass but I usually use Nickel silver also. Below a brass tube as it is when I receive it.

It is then turned to the correct diameter and cut to the right length.

A light sanding in the lathe will give it a perfectly smooth surface.

The 2 parts of the slide are made and marked. I give some texture to the part that will be glued so it holds better and stronger when inserted int he head. This is a partially lined head so the upper part of the head remains unlined. 
I usually prefer this type of heads with wood as it reduces the risk of crack but it is also very good with Delrin as it lightens the flute significantly. Delrin tends to be heavier than wood.

The tubes are inserted in the head and barrel with epoxy glue and left to dry overnight.

The head joint and barrel are turned to final shape on the lathe and sanded down to a rough finish.

The  main body is turned and profiled into a "tulip" shape

Rough sanding.

All joints receive the same treament.


The rings are hand forged from nickel silver half round wire. I do use Sterling silver also.
Nickel silver is more affordable but much more difficult to forge due to the nickel in the alloy that makes it stiffer.

I used borax to protect the metal against fire stain and help the solder flow during soldering.

The metal in heated and quinched in water to soften it (annealing)

It is then shaped on a triblet with raw hide hammer to avoid marking the metal.

The ring is filed so the 2 edges are nice and flush, ready to solder.

the ring is soldered with silver solder.

After a quick filing and sanding the soldering point should be nearly invisible.

All the rings finished.

Cutting the groove for the firs ring. the ring is glued but hold up by it self thanks to a tight fit.


the rings mounted, not polished

Week end break

 Each joint is sanded down to a smooth finish. There are still loads of marks as Delrin is difficult to polish it will be improved with a final buffing.

 All part sanded.

 Each body goes to the milling machine and the tone holes are drilled.

the tenons are turned on the lathe.

The stopper that will be inserted in the head is turned out of delrin also.

Headjoint cap.

Now the embouchure is pre-shaped on the milling machine .

The final shaping is done by hand.

Each tonehole is undercut with special tools so the size of the hole inside the bore is wider which will improve clarity of the note and volume.
You can see below how each cutter is inserted inside the flute.


Here are the set of tools I will use to work on the embouchure and the tone holes. 

I use always premium quality natural cork but I can also use thread when requested.

The embouchure is shaped by hand with files and sand paper down to 800 grit. 
The bore is polished to a very smooth/mirror finish.

 Each part is polished and buffed with a special plastic coumpound.

Now comes the time for tuning and voicing. This can take a few days.

The final result !