The Basics of a flute making workshop
Once you receive your flute making kits, have all teachers and helpers look over the instruction booklets especially the "common mistakes" section, then instruct the participants on how to safely begin carving their flutes.
Carve the Flutes
Hand out wood planes and let everyone get started carving. Once people are satisfied with the shape of their flutes it is time to sand.Some children need encouragement to complete the shaping process.
Sand the Flutes
Hand out sandpaper in each grit to everyone. They will begin with 60 grit and sand until there are no more visible gouge marks and the flute is nicely rounded over (accept the deck of the flute, which is explained in the common mistakes section)
They can then move on through the grits of sandpaper in this order 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, 220
Participants can now shape their animal totem making sure not to carve the bottom that sits on the flute.
After sanding you can choose to add to the project by wood burning designs, painting or adding carving detail.
Varnish the flutes
Blow off all excess dust and prepare to varnish the flutes. It is good to wait until everyone is finished before moving to this step.
If you have a drop cloth place it under the varnishing area to keep your floor clean. If you are working with children, you may choose to have a teacher do all the varnishing. Put on disposable gloves to keep your hands varnish free, place one flute on a dowel and use a paint brush to coat the outside of the flute with finish. Use a shop paper towel to wipe off excess finish until the flute looks smooth and the varnish looks even. Set the flute on a drying rack and repeat this process on the rest of the flutes.
The animal shaped totems can be varnished by dunking them in the can of varnish and wiping off the excess or by painting with a paintbrush. Set these aside to dry.
Read the can of varnish for drying times.
After the flutes are dry, lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper and repeat the varnishing process until the desired glossiness is achieved. for reference, we use oil based, gloss, polyurethane and apply 4 coats letting it dry overnight each time.
After all flutes are completed you can choose to add to the project by teaching participants how to play their flutes. The instruction booklets have a fingering chart with simple instructions and we also have helpful playing videos on our website.
We are here to help
If you find you have questions during the class, we are very quick to respond to email and phone calls. Though these instructions are lengthy, the project itself is simple. If your project is very large, it is a great idea to ask for volunteer helpers to keep an eye on everyone’s progress and lend a helping hand.