WrenSong flutes en route to Wales

Cherry WrenSong flute with zebra wood bird.
Cherry WrenSong flute with zebra wood bird.

I typically don’t do special orders – unless the situation is unique and intrigues me.

Ray from Wales presented one of those intriguing situations.

He emailed to say he had found my blog and really wanted to have a WrenSong flute – or two.

He had decided that he wanted to learn to play the Native American style flute, and he wanted a WrenSong flute to do this on.

We exchanged emails about what he wanted in the WrenSong flutes – the kind of wood and the key.

After our email conversations, I agree to make two WrenSong flutes for him – an E minor that plays well with a guitar and an A minor that plays well with a ukulele.

Ray with the two WrenSong flutes that made it safely to Wales. Thanks for the photos,Ray.

I selected the wood to work with — Eastern Cedar and Cherry — and set out to create the flutes for Ray from Wales.

He’d email to check on progress. I’d email photo updates of the favious stages.

The E minor is Eastern Cedar and has a wonderful voice. Eastern Cedar can be temperamental to work with because it is such a soft wood. You never know when you will encounter a difficult knot in the wood. Sometimes it shows up only after you have turned the flute.  But all went smoothly with the flute and its bird with an abalone inlay.

Ray playing his Em Cedar flute in Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales.

The A minor turned into a unique surprise. When I turned the cherry flute on my lathe, the flute wood revealed both sap wood and heart wood in a delightful pattern on the flute.  It’s hard to plan such a light/dark combination of wood when making a flute.

I’m doing the last of the concert tuning for both WrenSong flutes when I started writing this post.

Part of the joy of making flutes is testing them and playing them.  Tweaks are made once the finish has cured.   And what are the flutes’ limits — does it play smoothly.  I decided to try playing the lower WrenSong flute with tone bars.  You can hear the Eastern Cedar Em flute below.


And you can hear the bright voice of the WrenSong Am cherry below.  Outside playing brought two Carolina Wrens to sit on the fence and sing with me, although I didn’t record when I was playing outside!

Ray told me that his ultimate goal is to learn to play Welsh folk music with the flutes. I want to hear his Welsh folk music on my WrenSong flutes, too.