PHILIPPE BOLTON

HANDMADE RECORDERS & FLAGEOLETS


MAKING A RECORDER

Click here to view some films made in the workshop, showing a personal view of building process.n.

There is also a page with some short videos showing some of the steps in making the instrument.

The beginning

After 15 to 20 years seasoning, sometimes even more, the boxwood logs are first split to follow the direction of the wood fibres.

Other woods with larger sections are sawn into squares.
    making a recorder: splitting a log of boxwood

Roughing down the pieces of wood

Each piece of wood is turned to a cylinder on the lathe
    making a recorder: turning a piece of wood to a cylinder on the lathe

Boring the instrument

Spoon drills are used for this operation which is carried out on the lathe For better centering,the piece of wood is made to turn instead of the tool.

Click here for a video showing how the recorder is bored.
    making a recorder: boring the head joint on the lathe

Reaming the bore

Each reamer is made to measure for one specific part of the bore, to which it gives its final shape and measurements.

Click here for a video showing the reaming of the bore.
    making a recorder: reaming the bore of the head joint

The reaming can also be done on the lathe

Note the conical shape of this reamer, corresponding to the inside profile of the bore.
    making a recorder: reaming the bore oon the lathe

Turning the instrument

In order to ensure perfect concentricity, the instrument is fixed on the lathe by its bore. The turning is done by hand.

Click here for a video showing how the instrument is turned. There is a second one here.
    making a recorder: turning the head joint on the lathe

Cutting the windway

The windway is cut with great precision using this small hand-operated machine.

Click here for a video showing the the windway being cut.
    making a recorder: cutting the windway in the head joint

Cutting the labium or lip

The labium is cut with a chisel.

Click here for a video showing the labium being cut.
    making a recorder: cutting the labium

Making and fitting the block or fipple

The block is carved and fitted by hand.
1° Making the block out of juniper or cedar

Click here for a video showing the the making of the block.
    making a recorder: carving the block
2° Fitting the block into the head of the instrument     making a recorder: fitting the block into the head joint

Boring the holes

The holes are bored undersize, so that the instrument can be tuned later on.

Click here ici for a video showing the positioning and boring of the holes.
    making a recorder: boring the holes in the centre joint

The thread joints

The layer of thread makes the instrument airtight.
    making a recorder: putting the thread on the centre joint


Voicing the recorder

This is a very long and meticulous operation requiring great precision in the windway and on the block
1° Working in the windway
    making a recorder: adjusting the windway
2° Working on the block     making a recorder: adjusting the surface of the block

Tuning the recorder

The holes are enlarged and undercut by hand until all the notes are in tune.

Click here for a video showing how each hole is worked on.
    tuning the recorder by opening and undercutting the holes

Testing and playing in the finished recorder.

The recorder is played for several hours to ensure that it is stable in normal playing conditions
    testing and playing in the recorder