Make an Old Flute New Again!
by Scott Loomis

  Get that old favored Native American flute out again!

     Do you have a Native American flute that you just loved when you first got it, but now it doesn't sound quite so good?

     Wood does not like moisture. It tends to react to moisture by (as we say in the wood biz) "raising its grain". The surface becomes rough and no longer uniform. The rough surface causes a disturbance in the airflow, which in turn disrupts the sound waves. If your old flute sounds too breathy or has a buzzing sound, this could be the problem. If you want to clean up the sound, try this...

  You'll need the following:

     Cotton swabs
     Steel wool ("0000" grade)
     Beeswax or parafin
     A light oil wood conditioner
     A clean cotton cloth

     First take the wind channel block off of your Native American flute. With the alcohol and cotton swabs, clean in and around the wind holes. Water, saliva, dust and oils have collected here so clean well all the corners, sharp edges and surface of the bridge.

     Next wrap some 0000 steel wool around a cotton swab and lightly rub all of these areas with it. I use 0000 (grade) steel wool because it removes little if any wood. It just polishes the surface. Blow or vacuum out any dust or residue left behind. With the steel wool, lightly rub the bottom of your wind channel block. Wipe off any dust or residue.

     Use another cotton swab, dipped in the light oil wood conditioner, for the next step. With the conditioner, coat the inside surfaces of the wind holes you just cleaned.

     Now comes the fun (and most important) part. Rub the beeswax onto the bottom of your wind channel block and onto the bridge of the flute. Only a thin layer is needed. Using a match, melt the wax into the wood. (Do not burn the wood!) It only takes about one second to melt the wax into the wood.

     With a clean cotton cloth, rub vigorously to polish these areas. Clean up any wax that dripped into the wind holes. Tie the wind block back on securely and enjoy your NEW, OLD FLUTE!

Yours in respect and harmony:
Scott Loomis

     Do you have questions about caring for or playing your Native American flute? We'd love to hear from you. Email: webmaster@loomisflute.com

Copyright 1998 - 2010 by Linda Hugle
All rights reserved
Updated December 2009 - catNcap Enterprises