Tools and Supplies
There are several things you will need to buy in order to complete the flute kits. Aside from the tools we offer you will also need:
- High gloss Oil or water based polyurethane varnish
- Shop paper towels
- A tarp (to place underneath the varnishing tube)
- Disposable gloves
It is also helpful to have several adults to supervise the process and help if necessary. In groups of mixed ages older children can help younger children.
Location And Space
When considering the location for the project you should consider that the people working on the flutes will be making a lot of shavings and sawdust. It works out great if the project can be held outside, though I personally have taught the project inside several times with no problem. Make sure to have a broom or shop vacuum available for cleanup.
Each person will also need enough room to carve their flute at a table. We sell a cradle called a Holddown that can be clamped to a table in order to hold the flute kit stable while it is being shaped. If you decide not to purchase these Holddowns you should consider padding the table top with something to prevent people from denting the soft cedar wood of their flute kits while they are shaping and sanding them.
When the flutes are finished it is time to varnish them. This process is messy and we recommend that an adult varnish the flutes while the children watch. Each flute has to be submerged in polyurethane varnish, wiped off with a shop paper towel, and left to dry overnight. The flute needs to have 4 coats of varnish. If time is limited we recommend using water based polyurethane varnish as it dries within an hour. The reason we prefer to use oil based varnish is that it will darken the color of the wood and give a richer looking finish.
People can work on shaping and sanding their blocks while the flutes are being varnished. The blocks will need to have one coat of varnish applied.
Learning to Play
When the kits are completely finished it is time to teach everyone how to play them. With the help of our video, “Learning to Play” this process will be easy. You may imagine a classroom full of children all blowing on their flutes all at once. This thought might be discouraging, but if all of the flutes you order are in the same key they will harmonize with each other. This is the beauty of the pentatonic 5 note scale.
I have found that it is best to give the children a chance to play with their flutes before you try to sit them down for a playing lesson. Most of them will actually figure out how to play on their own. Once everyone is settled down you can go over the 5 note scale with them and practice it all together.
Before everyone leaves, make sure that they each have a booklet and that they can all tie their blocks on and position them by themselves. The video goes over this in detail. We suggest everyone view the video together.
This may all sound a little daunting but let me assure you that it is not! We have a helpful video called "Kit Project" that goes over all of the things I mentioned above. On it I complete a kit in real time from start to finish so you can see what is involved in the process. We also include a very detailed set of written instructions that go over many of the mistakes that may occur and how to avoid them. We are always available via phone or email to guide you through the process and answer any questions.