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Jorvik Pan Flute Replica by WurdBendur Jorvik Pan Flute Replica by WurdBendur
I finally finished this (crude) replica of the Jorvik pan flute today. The original artifact, made of boxwood, was found at Jorvik and dates to the 10th century. Mine is made of apple wood from a branch that broke during a storm.

The size of mine is a little off, but it's pretty close at about 9.6cm tall x 6.1cm across, and 1.8cm thick. It's mainly a bit thick (the original was 1.1cm), but that seems okay. After all, the original was broken (one edge split off), and probably discarded in antiquity because it was unplayable, so mine should be more durable. Though the spacing of the holes is a little tighter, making it somewhat difficult to use. The tuning is also a bit wrong. It should play the first five notes of the A major scale, A B C D E (top A to top E), but instead plays A B B Db E because I accidentally drilled the C and D holes too deep. But that's okay - a little wax in the bottom will fix it, as soon as I figure out how to get it down there. I'll have to get a hold of some beeswax to make it authentic. I think I also need to do some work to the top edge because it's really hard to get it to sound.

The hole at the bottom is used to hang it on a leather thong, which I can put around my neck and easily play it without having to take it off. I guess the original was probably carried the same way, but if so, the leather has long since decayed. It's offset because it would run into the sounding holes if it were centered. It's already pretty close to the D hole (second from the edge). The holes are longer than I thought they'd be when I first saw the original, and the space inside is well-used. The lowest hole, the A hole (teehee), extends down to less than a centimeter from the bottom edge.

Edit: Just so you know, the gouge in my finger is from shaping this piece with a rasp. Those things hurt. Also, it is still kind of dusty, and I taste wood whenever I blow on it. Sawdust makes me thirsty.
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Julesjustjules Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2010
hey thats amazing! I just saw this on time team today, and thought that would be cool to make! and here i see you beat me to it. nice job.

Were did you get all the details from?
WurdBendur Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2010
Thanks, I'm glad you like it. :)

I estimated most of my measurements from the drawing on this site but of course the actual result is very approximate since it was basically done through guesswork and hand carving. The depths of the holes were also based on that reference, though I made sure to drill them a little shorter first and then lengthen them to bring it into tune. Even so I messed that up.

I also used this useful site for reference, though I really ignored most of it and tried to rely on the drawing (it's where I got the measurement given in the description, but that was only after I made it).
chemoelectric Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2009
Do you plan to oil it or anything like that?
WurdBendur Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2009
I'm not really sure. I like the raw wood, but I should probably do something to protect it. I don't know what this wood will do if I just leave it.
chemoelectric Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2009
Such a relatively solid instrument might not need oiling, the main purpose of which is, I believe, to help keep the wood flexible.
WurdBendur Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2009
My biggest fear would be that it would crack as it's drying out, but I think it had plenty of time for that before I got around to finishing it.
chemoelectric Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2009
A new wood instrument has to be broken in slowly, they say, so it can get used to moisture without too much swelling, but I guess there are exceptions: I don’t think it matters for a tinwhistle with a wooden block, for instance, because if the block swells then so what? But you’re generally not supposed to seal the wood against moisture.

I’m no expert on either wood or wind instruments (although I do know more about wind instruments than any other kind :) ).
WurdBendur Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2009
I'm sure you know more than I do, which is basically nothing. ^^;

I have noticed it changing a little, but it does so in such a way that it becomes really hard to get a clear note at all. I think it's more to do with temperature than moisture, though. I've done some work on the top edge, out in the garage where it was pretty cold at the time, and it was really disconcerting when I had got it to sound nice only to have it stop working once I brought it inside.
chemoelectric Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2009
Yeah, probably it needs to be worked at room temperature, but blowing a flute isn't easy in the first place. Maybe sharpening the far edge of the holes will help; I just had a boxwood flute made recently, and I'm supposed to be careful not to damage the sharpening of the far edge of the embouchure hole, not even rubbing it on my sleeve.

With a recorder it's common to tuck the head joint in one's armpit to warm it up before playing, or people will pack it next to warm water bottle.
vcfgr Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2009
Amazing job! What happens if you use too much beeswax, though? Would you have to drill some of it away?
WurdBendur Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2009
Well, I've never worked with beeswax, but I'd probably just find something long like a screwdriver to reach inside and scrape it out. Warming it up first should help too, like a warm knife in butter.

And the work I'll do on the top edge will probably change the sound a little, so I'll want to do that first.
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Submitted on
January 5, 2009
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Jan 5, 2009, 10:37:27 PM