The Woods

wood flutes native american style

Wood flutes themselves are remarkable, they have different qualities and characteristics that directly relate to the type of wood used for the flute.

Choosing the right wood for your flute is like finally finding your voice. I find myself mesmerized by the fantastic grain features of Western Red Cedar, (as too its fragrance); Black Maire is smooth to touch with a leathery smell; Swamp Kauri shows off its age with deep dark colours and a scintillating grain.  These are some of my favourite, but there are many options.

 

Sustainable Woods

Creating a positive future means taking care of the environment in the present. I endeavor to use woods that are plantation grown or from the wood-stacks of retired wood-workers.

Choosing how to finish a flute also has an environmental footprint. All Southern Cross Flutes are finished with a completely natural and chemical-free wood oil, made from plant oils and tree resins, by a local New Zealand company. This blend of ingredients protects and nourishes the flute, as well as showcasing the unique grain of the wood.

The final touch is a good ol’ buff with Carnauba wax, which helps to wick away moisture from the air channel while creating a durable and lustrous finish.

Selection of Woods

Ancient Kauri

As a flute wood, Ancient Kauri has a voice that is rich and sweet, giving it great acoustical properties for the lower as well as the higher pitched notes. Typically Ancient Kauri is darker brown in colour with a depth of grain that holds shimmering highlights within. This wood has been recovered from swamps in the far north of New Zealand/Aotearoa, where it’s been naturally preserved for over 45,000 years!

Black Maire

Black Maire Love Flute closeup from foot

Black Maire, being a very hard wood, creates a song that is bright and clear, responsive and crisp. The durability of this hardwood also provides exceptional protection against scratches and dents.  The heavier weight of the wood gives the flute great balance in the hand of the player. One special quality of Black Maire is its natural aroma, akin to beeswax, making the flute smell great under the nose.

Black Walnut

Black Walnut, as a flute-wood, has a voice that is bright, clear, and strong, due to the hardness of the wood. The wood colour is typically a swirling combination of browns and blacks. This is highly figured wood, with knot inclusions and other wild grain patterns. Black Walnut is native to America and is grown in New Zealand.

Heart Rimu

heart_rimu_native_american_flute_southern_cross_flutes_-010

Rimu, as a flute wood, is hard and dense, providing a bright tone and clear sound. It has patterns of yellow, brown and green through it, making it one of the most decorative woods in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Rimu grows throughout the country; the largest concentration of trees is now found on the West Coast of the South Island.

Jarrah

Jarrah, once known as Swan River Mahogany, is from the Eucalypt species and most commonly found in South West Australia. This wood is dark red, and is generally very hard, and produces a bright clear tone.

Kahikatea

kahikatea native american flute new zealand (78 of 106)

Kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides) is the New Zealand “white pine” and is the tallest tree in our native bush.  As a flute wood, Kahikatea has a straight tight grain that projects a warm full sound, offering great resonance, lightweight and balance, as well as moisture reduction properties.

Matai

Matai (Prumnopitys taxifolia) is a robust forest tree that grows up to 25m high with a trunk diameter of up to 1.3m. It is found throughout New Zealand and was called “black pine” by early European settlers. As a flute wood, Matai is produces a bright clear tone, offering volume and richness. It’s a heavier wood and therefore feels sold in the hands, which is often a preferable quality.

Pohutukawa

The pohutukawa is one of twelve Metrosideros species endemic to New Zealand. Renowned for its vibrant colour and its ability to survive even perched on rocky, precarious cliffs, it has found an important place in New Zealand culture for its strength and beauty and is regarded as a chiefly tree (rākau rangatira) by Māori. The blossom of the tree is called kahika.

Puriri

Puriri (Vitex lucens) is a beautiful spreading tree of New Zealand’s native bush and is found in coastal and lowland forests in the Northern half of the North Island. It’s a member of theVerbenaceae family so is related to teak. It can grow up to 20m high with a trunk of 1.5m encased in thick bark. As a flute wood, Puriri creates a very bright and clear tone, it’s vibrant and resonant and firm in the hand.

Red Beech

Southern beech is a highly decorative hardwood with a natural sheen and lustre. This Southern Beech has a very resonance voice and a lovely medium weight.

Rewarewa

rewarewa native american flute new zealand (9 of 106)

Rewarewa, not only the name for a delectable N.Z honey, but also a lowland flute wood with the look of a savannah wild cat. As a flute wood, it is hard and smooth, providing a bright and full sound.

Western Red Cedar

Cedar Love Flute F#m Native American Style Flute -2nd full profile from foot

Western Red Cedar is the quintessential Native American flute wood. Very light to hold, this flute-wood produces a classic warm, rich and resonant tone. Being a softwood, it is very absorbent which helps in reducing moisture buildup within the flute while playing. It is typically a light brown colour with a sweet woody aroma under the nose.