The wood that I use for my flutes goes through a lengthy process of selection and seasoning. Boxwood is the main wood that I use for many of my models, as it has been in use for woodwind making in the West for at least a thousand years, if not more.
Boxwood is a slow-growing, tight grained wood with a lovely light yellow colour. Logs used for flute making should be of a considerable size, at least 7-8 cm in diameter, which means they would have been cut from a tree that was at least 80 years old. I like to be able to control the quality of wood I use and the seasoning process.
Most historical flutes were made with ivory or horn rings. These serve a double purpose: they reinforce the sockets, and, as the ivory is much stronger than the wood, it prevents the flute from cracking at this weak point. Ivory was, and still is, a very expensive material, and having flutes decorated with ivory transformed them from “tools” for making music to luxurious objects of art that stated their owner’s refined taste and affluence. Less expensive instruments, especially ones made during the second half of the 18th century, were also decorated with black horn rings.
When making modern replicas I use artificial ivory in order to give the instrument the elegant look of the originals, but as horn is still traded freely, I also offer flutes with a slightly different “look” which makes a nice contrast with un-stained or lightly stained boxwood instruments.