Casey Burns Flutes
[Casey Burns 3D Printed Flute Parts]

Here is more info on the Big Changes to my flute making business and practices. Note: I am NOT winding down my flute making!

After nearly 4 decades of relentlessly making my version of the "Flutes du Jour" that most Irish flute players would want, I've decided to refocus on tasks that I enjoy such as problem solving and prototyping new ideas, and making the flutes and other instruments that I want to make. I already began this process last fall when I stopped production of my popular Folk Flute models. Currently I am working on a pile of 18 flute orders (including keyed flutes) that I plan to finish before June. Once these are out the door, I will occasionally make enough flutes needed for my cash flow and list these individually for sale once they are finished at the new Traditional Flutes website. Instead of placing orders and taking deposits, sales of new flutes are limited to what stock I and others (a few of my former retailers) have on hand. This weekend I plan to list what Dusty Strings currently has in stock, for instance.

I will consider taking orders on a case by case basis if you really are in bad need of a flute that fits your hands when no other maker's flutes will do. I am mostly sympathetic towards those needing a smaller-handed flute, as none of my flute-making colleagues have taken that need seriously. Eventually my Canadian apprentice will take over that business and fulfill that need but this might take a few years due to the delays imposed upon us by the Pandemic. If you want the same old flute that I have offered for years, simply go to the Traditional Flutes website or scan the used market. Key retrofits to existing flutes are possible and will be considered on a case by case basis. I need to stop making the low flutes entirely due to a torn right rotator cuff.

I am done with taking deposits and promising delivery times which has caused much mental anguish and anxiety. No longer will people pester me on Sunday mornings with questions about when their flutes will be finished.

Instead I am working with gusto on new ideas, techniques and instrument designs. The historically important Glass Flutes by Claude Laurent suddenly became a possibility last summer when I explored 3D printing techniques using liquid resins. This rapidly bridged into the concept of working glass either entirely via cold working techniques, lost wax casting, or forming using methods of working glass that go back several centuries. I will be the first flute maker to make such flutes in 176 years. William Haynes of the Haynes Flute Company once said that this would never happen, after some lame attempts using tubing engineered for lighting. I plan to prove him wrong. Fortunately these are Golden Times in the art glass world and the Pacific Northwest is one of the leading centers of activity. Thus it makes sense that these flutes should emerge here at the same latitude as Paris where the Laurent Flutes were made.

I will probably nod to historical authenticity to the various Professors of Flute on my glass flute want list, once I have data on a few important functioning instruments. The first steps will be to simply get my team's hot and cold working techniques down using designs acoustically based on my Standard Flutes as well as French flutes by Thibouville. Most of Laurent's flutes were in clear crystal using hot glass hand techniques. A few were done in cast Cobalt glass and one was done in a radioactive "Uranium" glass that glows in the dark. A quick look at the catalog of Bullseye Glass in Portland as well as the videos from the Corning Museum of Glass will blow your mind away with the artistic possibilities using different glasses, glass combinations and working techniques.

Thus Laurent's designs are just the start of what is possible on the glass side of things. His glass work and acoustics didn't develop much over his career but his keywork inventions transformed the Woodwind Industry. He graciously open sourced this concept as well, making the Boehm flute possible. One fun idea I had would be to design a glass flute but with the traditional block mounts! This would be easy in the resin copies as well as cast glass.

I am culling other aspects of my flute making and servicing career that sometimes make it a drag and do nothing to further my artistry or put bread on the table. Repairs and and answering the same Frequently Asked Questions over and over again are two such activities. Commonly such inquiries arrive on Sunday mornings when I want nothing to do with work. I'd rather be birding out on the Oregon Coast or sleeping in.

All flutes occasionally need servicing, especially if these have experienced neglect, trauma such as being sat upon, chewed as a dog toy or driven over (yes this happens). I no longer have the time in my life nor the desire to fix such disasters, nor assemble a list of potential technicians who can help. I will eventually have a page describing or featuring some of the more common techniques such as rewrapping tenons.

In some cases your flute may simply be beyond repair. This is unfortunate. Simply look for another flute in the used market or when these come up for sale on my Traditional Flutes page. Please take better care of them next time.

People frequently ask me how they should oil and swab their flute, especially the Folk Flute - instead of bothering to read the care instructions that I have always provided and learn this for themselves. The Folk Flute care instructions are posted here for the time being: http://www.caseyburnsflutes.com/folkflutecare.pdf

The care instructions for my more expensive flutes are basically the same.

The main thing about this transition is that I am reconnecting with the flute making that I enjoy and pruning away the nasty and worn parts of this business that take all the fun out of it. This will result in fewer flutes but then there are almost enough of my flutes in circulation (estimated >5000). I will have time to train my Canadian apprentice, play and write some music myself, and wake up each morning happy about what I contribute to the musical world instead of being crushed by the burden.

For now I am leaving up the old pages of my website as an archive. This page, the Traditional Flutes and Laurent Flutes will be the ones frequently changed as these fill full of instruments ready for purchase. Except for the Laurent Flutes I am currently not pursuing a waiting list or orders for my previous flute models. Its time for a new approach! (April 27, 2021)

[photo of a 5-key european boxwood Irish flute with tuning slide and silver rings]

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Primary Links

Casey Burns D Flute Models: These are the "flutes du jour" - my standard flute models with three fingerhole spacing options and a Rudall-based flute option. These flutes can come with tuning slides and bands, as well as keywork. For more information click here.

The New 2015 Irish Flute Combo: My D flutes with tuning slides can also come with a package that allows one to play in several other keys besides D and G. Also available as a retrofit package for existing D Casey Burns Flute models with tuning slides. For more information click here.

Low Flutes: I make lower pitched flutes in the keys A, Bb, B and C. For more information, click here.

[photo of my 4 way combo low flute in blackwood with rings and slide]

Casey

Page last modified:
December 12, 2020

     © Casey Burns 1981-2007