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.

Aug 2, 2012

Home made aluminium nose flute, again!

After my test with a plastic samba whistle, I wanted to build an aluminium nose flute on the same principle (I love to work with aluminium...). As usual, no prior plans (I'm an empirical mind), just the idea of an horizontal cylinder, connected with a nose craddle. Well, I took an aluminium rod and cut a section, then filed the mouth hole.

Then I cut 2 circles in aluminium plate, and sanded them until they almsot fit in the cylinder ends. Finally, I stamped them with a mallet.

Then I cut and filed the labium, very sharp.



One reader asked me how large is my workshop... well, I have to say that I work on my desktop, in front of my computer, with very usual tools (a vise, 2 saws, a large file, some needle files, 2 metal saws, a drill, a mallet and a hammer, sanding paper, cutters, adhesive tape, and several type of glues.). Plus a shaving brush to wipe dust out and liters of great teas. I also have a buffing wheel in my "real" workshop.


The mouth part being alsmot totally done, I cut some parts in order to assemble a nose craddle, pyramid shape, with deep triangular scoops for the base of my nose. Then I glued the parts together with a hard metal bicomponent glue.

Since I had decided to let the nose craddle totally opened, and didn't want the glue to be visible, I sprayed some red painting inside, inspired by the famous fashionable Louboutin shoes, with their recognizable red sole!
Finally, I filed the bit to "open" the end of the airway.

Then, problems began. I had to file the base of the craddle to glue it to the mouth cylinder, but didn't know the best angle. So I skyped Mr. Schuermans, and asked him for technical advices. Chris told me the labium should face the 1/3 of the airway height (uh... so easy when your airway is 1mm thick...). He also told me that making a supplementary chamber in front of the mouth was not a very good idea, so I decided to make the mouth hole bigger than I did, in order to lessen the "several chambers" effect. Chris Schuermans gave me other advices that I will put into practice the next time only : it was too late with this nose flute.

Well, I glued the 2 parts with Auto Weld and let dry for the night.

After the glue was dry, I filed and sanded it, then drilled the "trill hole" and I reamed it.

For sure, I added my "Louboutin" touch, with red paint applied as lipstick :

Done! Here is my Loboutin Hornet ("Hornet", because of the sharp angle shape and the very sharp tonality range) :

Finally, I added 2 short sections of aluminium rod, and glued a red cord to make the Louboutin Hornet hands-free :

On the sound side... The Hornet is very very sharp in its intonation. The positive points are that this flute is one of the most precise and probably the quickest flute I have. It is very powerful too, in the sharps... The "trill hole" works very fine!
The negative points are that I get some "parasitic whistlings" when I go down to the basses, and that I cannot reach very low notes.

But better is it to let you judge by yourself on this little 'free' interpretation, using the trill :


  1. This is a jewel, an astonishing piece of beauty, masterly crafted with superb attention to detail: simply great! I love the possibility of being able to adjust the tone.

    The sound of this nose flute is quite thin because it somehow lacks body, even though the aluminium is really thick which I like. Somehow it occurs to me that the longer the body is, the more full-bodied it sounds. The flutes that I tried which sounded the best somehow had a longer design. Maybe it's down to the amount and the weight of the material used?

    1. Thank you Maikel!

      The thing is that I love quick flutes. And the quickest are the one with the shortest aurway... and thus, with the shortest body. If you look at an old Humanatone or a swan, they have a rounded airway : it is PI/2 longer than if it had been straight.
      Regarding the weight, aluminium is light... even when thick :) And if it was heavy, I would be able to work with, hahaha!

  2. Un chef-d'oeuvre!.

    I really like this one, as a musical instrument and as a piece of art.

    The trill sounds fantastic. The sound: precise, quick, powerful; great!.

    The "parasite whistling" and lack of lower notes seems to me like normal problems in wind instruments. Fine tuning the windway should help: height, position, angle, taper, concavity, chamfers, etc..

    A web search for "voicing a recorder" can get some info on this. I have gotten some tips from this website (see "Documents pratiques"):


    1. Thank you a lot, Luis! Yes, the trill works very well!

      You're right about the "parasitic whistlings", they comes from my fipple. Chris Schuermans explained me many things about "the best labium", but it was too late :)

      Thanks also for the link!


  3. Great! What a stylish instrument! Thrilling trills!! You should make one all black inside, put some gel in your hair and play some new wave music.... - or a cover or playalong on Klaus Nomi :)

  4. Thank you Nosumusic! For Klaus Nomi/Purcell, it should be painted in "ice blue-grey" !

  5. Wow! Excellent precision work! Well done. It's beautiful! I now also see another problem, the wind way too wedge shaped, too angular. The tapper should be much gentler, to stabilise the airflow as it leaves the end of the airway.

    1. Thank you a lot, Mr Bocarina! Thanks also for your advices... I'll try to do better next time!


    2. Ja, and the next one is for the diva :)

    3. The thing is they are made to stay unique. And since I'm a collector, I want them all ... pfff! :))