Tim Adams Irish Flute Maker 

Grain of rice

People think we flute players blow into our tubes in some secret magical way. Not true. We simply breathe out slowly through a tiny opening the size and shape of a grain of rice. We use our tongue to direct the jet of air to the tiny 'grain of rice' opening.


Here is a basic first octave finger chart for a Tim Adams Irish Flute. Use the same fingering in the second octave. 


A wooden flute likes some care and attention. Play it often. Care for it always.

Playing in tune

Line up the holes if you want to play in tune.(2:00s)


Flutes like to be played. It’s the best maintenance. That way, they get moisture, movement and air, and the music gives them some vibration in the wood, to enjoy. When they’re left lying around, the wood gets sad and squirms and twists. So ... play often!

Take it apart

When you take a break from playing (30 mins or more), get into the habit of taking the flute apart (3 parts) and laying them on the cloth case. By doing this, you allow the cork in the joints to swell and dry. If you see lots of moisture on any part of the flute, wipe it away with a cloth or absorbent paper. Never leave your flute assembled overnight.


When you’re finished playing for the day, or for several hours, swab the flute, remove any moisture from the inside bore, the tenon joint (inside and out), and anywhere you see it. Every time you play, some moisture will gather inside the bore of the flute. It’s good to remove it. (1:44s)


Here are some dos and don’ts about putting the flute together. Good to know. (51s)


If you have moved the cork for some reason, and want it back exactly where it was when I tuned your flute, here’s how to do it. (1:45)


Especially when the flute is relatively new, grease the cork parts often (cork, end cap, tenon joints). Cork loves grease. It prevents the cork from drying and seals the flute joints. (1:47s)


African Blackwood and Mopane Flutewood are very dense woods. They don’t absorb wood oil like a porous wood does. When you oil the inside and outside of the flute, remove excess oil with a cloth and the cleaning rod. Otherwise the oil will get dry and sticky and the sound will be affected negatively. Even the sides of the holes enjoy a bit of oil now and then.
I prefer to use Almond oil on my flutes. It is a soft, kind and colourless oil that doesn’t harden, doesn’t smell and it is easy to polish. (1:06s)


You might want to freshen up your flute and make it look and feel like when it was new. (7:02)

Tight tenon joint

If you notice that the tenon joint is getting too tight for comfort, this is what you do. If you’re not happy about doing this yourself, let me know and I’ll fix it. (2:02s)

Brass ring

If one of the rings falls off (over time, the wood may shrink and a brass ring loosens and falls off), don’t assemble the flute until you have replaced the ring. The rings prevent the wood from cracking.

Lip stain

Around the embouchure the wood gets a bit worn and discoloured after a while, due to the skin contact and all that goes with that. I usually rub it with a damp cloth, then dry it, then rub some Almond oil on that area. Dry that off too.


Finally, here are some Irish traditional music resources that you might find useful.

A collection of tunes and melodies that I brought from Dublin to Sweden many years ago, along with my Andy Irvine song book. Choose a tune, at random. Surprise yourself!

Jon Antonsson passes on his knowledge and expertise. Tunes (slow and fast versions) with notation, bodhrán metronome, drones, flute exercises and inspiration.


A list of tunes that pretty much everybody knows, even me!


A huge community-supported database of tunes and melodies from Ireland!


When you want to know the name of a tune there is an app for that too – Tunepal (available for Android and iOS). Here is the Tunepal website:


Any questions or comments? Send me an email. I always answer!
Good luck with everything! Enjoy the music and magic of the wooden flute!

Tim Adams
Irish Flute Maker

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