I should get a flute made of Boxwood within a few months, I was quite happy to command it, but I’ve got scared when a lot of people told me
I had to expect the flute to bend a little because of the nature of the wood.
But I also heard a trick (which I don’t know whether I’ll try it or not), which is to put the instrument in the micro-wave oven for a few minutes when it is brand new as it is supposed to “cook” the wood fibers and prevent the tension that end up the instrument bending.

Has any of you experimented instruments made of Boxwood or/and the micro-wave stuff ?

Thanks a lot,


Re: Boxwood


That sounds drastic!

You French just want to cook everything!!!

Shouldn’t you contact the maker first before considering cooking the flute?

Also does it have any metal parts - ie keys, the sleeve inside the headjoint, pins, etc. ?
Metal will arc with the electromagnet - the source of the microwaves inside the chamber. This might result in damage to the cooker, but more importantly, to the flute.

What do they say over at woodenflute-digest? (I’ll post details after I post this.)


Re: Boxwood

So what’s wrong with a curved flute?
Many’s the time in sessions when I could have done with a flute that curved around the head of the person jammed up against me, rather than sticking straight in their ear.

Re: Boxwood

Perhaps a curved flute could work - even be more ergonomic. After all, brass instruments (trumpet, horn etc) are tubes that are curved on themselves for convenience and practicality.


You can also add the larger members of the woodwind family to the list - bassoon and contra-bassoon.

Re: Boxwood

I’m on the woodenflute list, and people have talked about their boxwood flutes swelling. Most folks seem to simply return the flute to a humified piece of tupperware for a few days and the flute goes back to normal overall.

One big plus with boxwood is that most folks I know report it’s more resistant to cracking than blackwood in their experience.

Every wood probably has it’s own pecularities.

As for the microwave, especially with metal - well, that just frightens me!


Re: Boxwood

I have a nice set of pipes made from boxwood, lovely tone. When I got them 7 years ago they were all straight but now they curl all over the place, boxwood does this.

I have seen quite a few old boxwood instruments, pipes and flutes as well as clarinets and oboes, they are all bent, I don’t think you can stop it, but they all sound great! Bending the tubes, in the way tha boxwood bends, does not seem to alter the quality of the sound. You may occasionally have to check on the keys though.

Boxwood has a nice rich mellow tone to it but in my experience without any sacrifice in volume. Sometimes a different quality of note is mistaken for lower volume.

A friend of mine who makes instruments experimented with microvaving wood to release water, chemically and mechanically bonded, in a microwave. He did this before turning the wood. I would not think it a good idea to do this after the instrument has been made and voiced as it would likely change the shape, perhaps for the worst. The boxwood that had been microwaved and then turned into an instrument did eventually bend anyway. If the wood wants to bend it is going to whatever you do, thats my experience anyway.

Posted by .

Re: Boxwood

I think Howard used to make Uillean Chanters out of Coppiced Box, but I think his supplier decided to grub the trees up.
Is your flute made from Coppiced wood Robinson?
I have this idea that if you make a flute out of a branch with all the grain going the right way it aught to be stronger, more stable and less prone to cracking. I’m working on some made from Elder branches.


Re: Boxwood

To Pied Piper and Geb :

Thanks for the advice, about the Coppiced Bow I really don’t know, I know it is Boxwood, I’ve tried it once on the one of a friend and I totally fell in love with the sound it had, it was just wonderful and the flute itself was a real chef d’oeuvre of handcraft and precision in both sound and sights aspects.


Re: Boxwood

Robinson, will you get a flute made by Tom Aebi?

Re: Boxwood

Brother had a beaut of a Potter flute - late 18th century I think - and it was dead straight so maybe yours is not destined for scoliosis!

Microwaving flutes seems a bit on the risky side to me - how long to microwave, at what power setting?

Agree totally with Danny - talk to the maker.

Re: Boxwood

I believe the best wood for flutes and fiddle bows may very well be sapient pearwood, but unfortunately it’s now very difficult to obtain.

Re: Boxwood

So, when people refer to a C flute, do they mean the shape? I prefer a #1, masell….