Wood Flutes by Werner John

Werner John is not only a musician, but a man of many talents, including writing, recording, performing and teaching music using his own handcrafted Native American Flutes. As a young boy, Werner found a connection to nature growing up in the New York Hudson River Valley. With artisan parents and grandparents as an example and a woodworking father to learn from, Werner became a carpenter’s apprentice when he was 18, and worked in lumber yards for his college education. In addition to woodworking his other passion was music. As a musician in his 30′s, Werner found himself taking on 12 students left behind by his former Austrian instructor. This confirmed in Werner’s heart and mind that he had something to offer others in music education. He soon finished college and became a teacher, while performing and recording in Ashville, North Carolina.

It wasn’t until he walked into a Native American store which featured artwork and music, that he decided to put his two talents together leading to a passion which has lasted a lifetime creating flutes in his workshop and performing with them in the Northeast and across the nation. This enabled him to “Do woodworking the way I want to by hand, old fashioned and simple” said Werner. He also stated that “Woodworking and music put together allow me to give it the richness that both crafts’ deserve. It’s rewarding and I love it.”

His first instrument was a Recorder, or woodwind internal duct flute. Recorders were popular during the Baroque era during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Werner creates different styles of flutes made from PineHollyAncient Larch, and different type of cedar woods. All flutes have a ceramic windway insert for stability of tone quality. Click on the photo below for additional flutes offered, pricing and ordering information from www.flutewalker.com.

Werner shows us in this video his “one at a time” handcrafted styles of flutes.

Werner begins with 2 pieces of kiln dried softer wood since he carves by hand, however any wood preference can be used. Since the sounds emulating from the flute are in the dimensions of the instrument, the type of wood used is less significant.

Hallowing out the bore interior of each half is where the flute carving begins,

Using a template he draws a pattern and carves the inside structure out by hand with Swiss made pfeil carving tools, when the specific flute will require a tapered bore. If the design inflects a straight bore configuration, then a router can be used for the center bore, however in Werner’s case he prefers the hand carved method. Making the bore is discussed in this video,

Gluing the two halves, he then uses several Handscrew Clamps for assembly. Once the halves are dried, Warner hand carves the outside aesthetics.

The following video shows the outside shape being applied with a hand plane,

Proper hole spacing is the next step,

Creating the windway with ceramic inlay’s require specific dimensions for stability of tone quality. The video below explains this procedure,

Since the Windway area is the heart and soul of the flute, Werner goes into specifics on the flue and resonate voicing of the flute,

Another major factor is that the wood must be completely dried so that it does not change shape after the flute is completed or it will affect the fine tuning. For more on the tuning and sound design, see the video below,

In this video Werner talks about how to place tone holes in a Native American Flute,

Tuning your flute in conjunction with hole placement is shown here,

More on the ceramic inlay is featured in respect to moisture absorption in this video,

The ornament placed by a leather band is traditionally an animal. In this case Werner has carved a “bird of the flute” which sits on the nest covering his ceramic moisture absorbing inserts which enable the flute to be played for much longer periods of time.

Sanding and finishing with Tung Oil or Linseed Oil, followed by waxing the flute with a food safe wood finish is the final step in this video,

John stated, “I believe that the music created by these flutes bring people back in time and brings them down in a way from being stressed out.” When Werner plays, it’ s like his soul resonates with the flute through the music, expressing tranquility that is being shared with others personally or through his CD’s. Click on the photo for all of Werner’s recording CD information.

Werner is currently finding interest in handcrafting and playing wood flutes from all over the world in their traditional styles as part of his performances. These typically involve playing pan flutes,Bansuri flutes from India, the Ney flute of the Middle East and the enclosed ended Ocarina’s of vessel flutes of every shape and size.


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