This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

Apr 12, 2012

Bocarina part V : The Ones you'll never have...

No, you'll never have them, because they don't exist, and probably never will. These are collector items, witnesses of the beginnings of the production, tests, rejects and « interim » solutions. Different colors, plastics, methods and improvements on the mould... You can shout and cry, supplicate and roll on the floor, you'll never have them. Well... if you order a batch of 10,000, a deal would probably be possible :)


Chris Schuermans, inventor and designer of the Bocarina, answered a new series of questions we asked him, regarding those production tests.

The Polypropylene Bocarinas

Satin finishes : charcoal black, deep green, summer sky, ripe lilac and Ferrari red ! (Some cool ones, no?)

- Why did you begin with Polypropylene? Was it a matter of cost?

- The tool maker could not solve the problem of the flow marks (crappy skin and/or wavy labium [see below]) on the surface of the Bocarina when ABS plastic was used. He modified the injection point again and again, but it didn’t work. I was eager to start marketing the Bocarina and had a big festival (Aardklop) coming up, so the toolmaker suggested that we use Polypropylene because it has better flow characteristics and it does not have a smooth surface like ABS, so it won’t show the flow problems. This was only an interim solution. The cost of both plastics is about the same.

Example of the « crappy skin and wavy labium » flaw on the first ABS batch :

And here, a comparison of the original and final injection points on ABS Bocarinas™:

- Since the mould is the same, why are the Polypropylene flutes better for high tones ?

- Interestingly, plastics have specific shrinkage/expansion coefficients. ABS shrinks +/- 1% whereas Polypropylene shrinks about 1.5% The shrinkage of the labium window and the air passage affects the overall performance of the instrument.

The ABS Bocarinas

- Why did you stop and turn to ABS?

- The mould was designed for ABS production.
The toolmaker solved the problem of the flow marks by changing the injection point to the inside bottom of the Bocarina and also by installing a hot runner into the mould. A hot runner is a heated duct/pipe to facilitate the flow of plastic to the injection point on the mould (Yet strangely there is water circulating in the structure of the mould to keep it cool. This assists in reducing the production time (cycle time: mould closed to open)).

- Were the 2-colored Bocarinas the results of experiments or the transition between batches of different colors ?

- Moulds are tested with leftover material and yes, the bicolour is the result of the transition of one colour to the next. I had some really interesting ones but unfortunately they have been given away.

- Why is it so difficult to make a batch which mixed different colors ABS pellets to get "swirled psychedelic" Bocarina?

- It is not difficult, the problem is that only a very few come out with the desired swirls the rest come out with the colours mixed quite evenly. If the pellets are mixed in the supply funnel/feeder (before they melt) then there will be no swirls but just an even mix of the various colours. There are however (expensive) bicolour and multicolour injectors that can be attached to the machine so that the colours don’t mix until they are injected into the mould. The percentage of each colour that is injected can also be controlled. The factory responsible for production unfortunately doesn’t have any of these injectors.

The soft plastic Bocarina

- What kind of plastic was used for the blue one, which is soft (PVC? Polyacetate?)?

- I’m really not sure what plastic/synthetic rubber was used. The toolmaker uses left over material to test the moulds. He was probably checking the shutoff of the two halves of the mould. To see if there is leakage (flashes) onto the separation surfaces of the mould.


So, don't cry and shout... Just order Chris Schuermans a batch of 10,000 and choose your own colors, or just admire :


On the same topic, you can read :

Bocarina part I : A South African Ferrari
Bocarina part II : The clay original
Bocarina part III : A player's report - by Birdy K.
Bocarina part IV : Chris Schuermans' interview
Bocarina part V : The Ones you'll never have...
Bocarina part VI : The Ancestors
Bocarina part VII : Experiments 1
Bocarina part VII : Experiments 2


Where to get a Bocarina

Brionski Ebay store
Dan Moi online shop
Grothmusic online shop

And for larger quantities, for sure :

Chris Schuermans
95 Farnham Rd. Lynnwood Manor
Pretoria, 0081 RSA (South Africa)

Cell phone no. +27 83 954 3224
Telephone no. +27 12 361 4659,

email : chris[at]schuermans[dot]org



  1. The one's you'll never have... Nice one Antoine -- you've just given them collectors value-- before the were just rejects.
    Thanks for the posts

  2. Hahaha! Note that for that post, I add the tag "history" ...

    You're welcome.


    1. Very interesting post, thank you,!
      when are you going to buy a new house for storing all the noseflutes?
      If you do not have the money for that (since you spend all on noseflutes and plastic ukes) I might be generous enough to take some to reduce the load...
      By the way, did you notice that Brian (brionski ebay store) has the best customer service? He accepts returns within 7 days. Probably collects them to sell as vintage collectors in some 20 years......

  3. Dear Nosymusic,

    A house would not be enough, but i'm currently in negotiation to buy a series of warehouses.

    Kind regards,