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Largest Selection of Flutes in Wyoming

I have been building flutes for a very long time… Living in a place like Wyoming brings a never ending stream of inspiration to draw from.  Like my passion for photography I share an equal passion for building Native American Style flutes.  I have spent many an hour working on commissioned base flutes trying to deliver an end product that hopefully meets or exceeds the buyer of my art.  I fully enjoy the commissioned project experience but I just can’t stop wanting to build more.

As I approach my 58th birthday this year I find myself once again seeking a change in what I do.  Many who know me know that for the past 33 years I have been a health insurance broker with focus on the International Expat markets.  This will continue to be part of my daily efforts but as for my website Jackson Hole Tim I want to be more proactive in my flute building efforts.  Crafting one of these awesome wind instruments never get tiring.  Although I have enjoyed the commission side of building flutes I prefer designing the flute, building it and then sharing it with others.

 

I am pretty sure that I maintain the largest selection of Native American Style flutes here in the state of Wyoming.  Every one of my flutes is hand made by me using mostly hand tools.  That is just the way I do it.  My inventories are finally starting to grow for the first time in a while.  If you were to visit my farm gallery here in Afton Wyoming you would find a minimum 25+ flutes in various stages of the build with more on the way.  I have over 100 blanks pre-cut and gluing up new ones weekly.  By end of summer I may have as many as 40 or more to choose from.

Map to 85 Rich Lane Afton Wyoming

One of the nice things about how I build my flutes is that I work on many at a time so each one is in a different phase some from the glue the up stage to being a fully completed flute. Having a variety in different phases of construction allows you to pick one that stands out to you that may not be completely finished and this allows for my to still add some of you to the flute before delivery.  My shop is now in Afton Wyoming and our little ranch is open to those who want to venture out and visit us.  We are just a mile or so off of the main highway (HWY 89) and we very easy to find.  Although we are home most of the time we do travel from time to time so call first.  But feel free to stop by and check out the flutes I have available.  We are open 9-5 Monday through Friday so reach out to me and stop by… I would love to meet you.

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Truth About Blanks…

wymadeRecently I have been hearing all kinds of criticism about the quality of flute blanks people have been purchasing lately.  Believe me I have heard just about everything negative there is to say over the past few years but lately it seems to have gotten worse.  I must say though that most of the criticism has not been directed at me and our products which in a way makes me feel better – I think.  The truth is there are so many variables than can affect the quality of a flute blank and I thought I would take some time to address some of the concerns that have been expressed to me recently and then try to help you better understand the difficulties in crafting a quality flute blank ready for you to complete.

First I have to say the some of the criticisms voiced about some of the other suppliers that I personally know have not been well founded.  Usually these types of complaints/concerns come from people who are fairly new to flute building – that is just he simple truth.  This is not to say that their concerns are not well founded and at the very least they should be listened to but we are dealing with a wood product and no two flute blanks are the same.

POC_75_432G_10_13_1_lgThe schematic at the top of this page is a general example of the two blank halves that make up a typical flute.  It is important to note that in our shop we have always crafted our flutes in this manner.  There are a few other suppliers out there that use the rifle boring method and then turning the blank on a lathe for final shape.  Two different ways to craft a flute and both are correct.  I have always crafted my flutes by hand – or as much of the process I can do by hand.  The blank itself… we use power tools to create the main components of the flute blank for many reasons but primarily consistency and speed.  But the signature shape my flutes have come entirely from hand planing the flute body to shape.

Although the components of the NAF flute seem and are fairly simple, crafting a consistently good flute blank is actually harder than it may look.  First finding the right lumber to cut the blanks from is not only a journey in itself – it is time-consuming and expensive to get.  Then any lumber we use here in my shop it is left to sit and acclimate sometimes for weeks or even months before it is cut.  We hope to stabilize the wood as best we can to our local climate before we cut into it.  Then there is the issue of warping or twisting which is fairly common.  Some of the warping comes from the cutting process and other times it comes from weather changes.

fluteblanks1

The most common complaint I here is that the blank set is warped or twisted.  One of the most common factors that can cause a blank set to warp is how it was cut.  Secondly, the blank itself is only 7/8″ thick and 1 3/4″ wide.  When you cut a matched set from a larger piece of wood-stock you are subject to the way the fibers unload.  We try to cut most of our blanks from tight old growth vertical grain stock which helps eliminate this.  Letting the lumber acclimate to your climate is very important.  But we can ship a blank set from here in Jackson Wyoming at 6,475 feet in elevation, limited humidity and ship it to the coast or the south and the change in climate can and will have an effect on the blank set.  If the warping is limited to a bow or reverse bow you should let it sit for a week and then you should be able to work with it.  If the lumber twists then it can make building your flute much more difficult.  But I am pretty sure that the guys I know that manufacture flute blanks do not intentionally ship bad stock.

I have always tried to use Old Growth stock or very old reclaimed lumber for my blanks.  I prefer air-dried lumber over kiln dried AND air-dried is more expensive usually.  There is the sheer cost to deal with as well.  The cost of good lumber is very high – much higher that what you can find in your local lumber yard usually.  The people I like to deal with know what they have and their lumber garners a fairly high price.

The actual process of boring the components of the blank takes a proper jig setup as well as time and skill.  I have produced countless flute blanks both by using my proprietary jig setup and using CNC technology.  After cutting a lot of blanks using both methods I have come to the conclusion that the hand crafted blanks – for me – are preferable.  For some reason CNC cut blanks have more warping issued than the hand cut ones and I can actually control the cut better by hand.  We use both crafting methods but for the most part most of the blanks from my shop are really pretty nice.

ogw_blankset

So when you shop for a blank set to for your next flute project keep in mind how much cost and work actually goes into the finished product.  Our pre-bored flute blanks sets range from a low price point of $28.00 all the way up to around $70.00 depending on the wood.  It is important to note that I do not use any exotics in my shop – only domestic species.  Part of the reason for this is the Plains Indians did not have access to Cocobolo or Ebony or other exotics.  They used what was immediately available to them in their region.  You can make a Native American styled flute from just about any wood or plastic material, but when you have a nice piece of old growth wood properly bored you have the foundation for a really nice flute project.

Many of you have shopped with us before when we had our website Teton Marketing…  After closing it last year to re-focus on flutes and not lumber we are now selling a limited supply of nice flute blanks with several bore sizes.  Each blank has been hand select by me and those that are currently available can be found on our new website at www.JacksonHoleTim.com.  If you would like to see what we are up to and what supplies we have ready to ship check them out…

CLICK HERE TO VIEW FLUTE SUPPLIES

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Images West Magazine Features Western Design Conference Artists…

imageswestmag_3Each year Jackson Wyoming is host to the Western Design Conference which opens the Fall Art Festival held each year in Jackson Hole.. WDC is one of the premier shows that features “Functional Art”. Every artist must be juried in to be part of the annual event and their art must be a functional piece of original work. Some of the best artists this country has to offer attend this 3 day event. This summer Images West magazine has highlighted several WCD Artists in an article titled “Functional Art”. We were so proud to be considered for this article as one of these artists. On page 30 you can read about some of the artist’s and their work, including ours.

Images West is published at the beginning of each summer and is available throughout Jackson Hole. Published for FREE, you can find one at just about every hotel and gallery in town. Images West is a very nice publication featuring the Arts in Jackson Hole. If you plan to visit here this summer pick one up and see what the Jackson Art Community has to offer.  Oh yeh be sure to visit the website www.tetonmarketing.com and the blog www.3feathersflutes.com for more…

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Morning Coffee – Winds of Change…

Some of you may be wondering what happened to our weekly posts and the truth be told is we have been enjoying the most amazing Fall weather.  I can’t remember when the last time we saw such a beautiful, warm, completely awesome Fall in Jackson Hole.  Weekends at the lakes with our kids, people still riding their bikes around town and on the trails and more tourists seemed to hang around longer than in years past.  Simply a very nice surprise for those of us living in the Yellowstone Basin.

But as we all know the winds of change come quickly when mother nature decides that it is time.  One of most unusual things I noticed this fall was the complete lack of snow on the Tetons.  It seems that there is always snow somewhere on these majestic peaks but this fall snow was almost devoid of this precious white commodity.

One of the side effects of this wonderful warm weather was the total lack of water that we saw this summer.  Jackson narrowly escaped one of the worst fire seasons on record and because of the heroic efforts of so many firemen and state and federal assets Jackson narrowly escape what could have been a tragedy.  So with our rivers and streams down and our open spaces brown with thirst this warm fall season left many of the true locals lacking the very basic things they need to survive the upcoming winter.  We saw a return of the Bison to the area north of town and it was clear to me that this past spring and summer was good to these herds as their young were everywhere.  But the lack of tall grass like we saw last year seems to be on the thin side and so we ponder how they will fair this winter.

One clear sign that pickings are thin were the numerous bears we saw this fall all looking for something to eat.  On the Moose Wilson road the Hawthorne bushes that are usually packed with life giving berries simply did not seem to materialize.  The lack of water this summer showed clearly how devastating this could be when it came time for these animals to find food in preparation for winter.  We watched bears climbing trees and pulling empty berry branches to their mouths eating what ever they could get their paws on (literally).

Another event that fall brings is the beginning of the hunting season.  People are pulling permits for Elk, Bear, Antelope, Wolves (new this year), Bison and even birds.  Especially for the elk, fall brings the double hazard of foraging for food while hiding from hunters doing the same.  Small groups which to me look like little families run for cover after coming out of hiding for a well deserved drink and then it is quickly up the hill side to the safety of the trees.  Although I enjoy a good elk steak I enjoy even more seeing these beautiful animals in the wild.  Yes Jackson Hole and the surround area is a magical place to live.  And with each change in the seasons you definitely know what time of the year it is.

My worry this year is that because of the amazing summer and warm fall weather we have enjoyed, this winter may bring a true struggle for life for all that inhabit the great Yellowstone Basin.  Especially for the young, this first winter for them will be the test of how strong they are.  Food is scarce and they need these calories to make it through the winter.

As of now they look strong to me, and I am sure the Great Spirit will lift her hand to comfort them and bring them through what is about to come.  I leave you with a Native American Flute Song that shares with you a message of peace and hope.  Written and produced by Nakoa Heavyrunner, Assiniboine Native American Music Artist, The Honoring  is presented first in song, then by Native American Flute, then English and finally one more time in Northern Cree.  We too wish all of you peace and good life this winter.

Click to Play “the Honoring”

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Another Port Orford Native American Flute Ready For A Home…

New Port Orford Cedar Flute Special $210 + Shipping

Several times over the past months we have hand crafted a smaller Native American Flute that is greatly suited for carrying with you in your backpack when you hike into the back country.  The last NAF flute we made in this size was crafted from a reclaimed piece of Hawaiian Koa and it was really a cool flute and found a home right here in Wyoming.  So we decided to make a new one and this time the wood of choice was from a piece of Old Growth Port Orford Cedar.

This flute was crafted from a single piece of wood and the flute is 21 inches overall length and it features a 3/4 inch bore.  This is a five hole NAF flute tuned to the key of A at 440Hz  and features the Four Winds tuning holes.  The cutting edge is crafted from a single piece of inlaid walnut which provides a very nice color contrast between the woods. This flute was tuned at an altitude of 6400 feet and a temperature of approximately 65 degrees.  The fetish was crafted from the same stock of wood and it is our Otter styled design.  The fetish is attached to the flute body with a single piece of hand cut Buffalo hide lace, black in color.

This flute like all of our flutes was hand planed to achieve its signature shape. Although this flute does not feature any added accents it is a beautiful little flute and it plays beautifully. The body of the flute is finished with more than 20+ light coats of high gloss lacquer. The inside of the flute bore and slow air chamber were also sealed with many coats of finish to help prevent moisture absorption. Small enough to put into most any backpack you can take it on the trail with you, in your car, on your bike… this is a really nice flute.

Port Orford Cedar not only makes for a great sounding flute but as you can see from these pictures it also produces simple elegance. All flutes ship with a hand crafted flute bag to help protect your flute. Shipping is in addition to the price of the flute and we prefer to ship our flutes via FEDEX.  We do not mass produce these flutes and these backpacker style flutes are truly one of a kind.  Each flute is signed by Timothy Jennings, the artist and the key of the flute is imprinted on the body next to the signature.

If you are interested in purchasing the flute please call us at (619) 435-6700 and ask for Tim.  If you have question feel free to email us at sales@tetonmarketing.com and put “307 POC Flute Ironwood Bird” in the subject line of the email.  If you prefer you can purchase this flute on Etsy at the following link.