Earlier this year I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Haynes workshop, one of the world's premier flute makers. Their workshop happens to be in a Boston suburb, the town of Acton, MA. Having played the flute for 25 years, I've always admired (and yearned for) a Haynes flute, so it was an honor to get to tour the factory. And from a jeweler's point of view it was absolutely fascinating, and really opened my eyes to how many jewelry-making skills are used in flute-making!
The founder, William S. Haynes, started in his career as a jeweler. He learned about flute making and decided it was a lucrative business that he wanted to be a part of, and so founded his own workshop in Boston in 1888. Here's Haynes pictured with his protege Verne Q. Powell, who went on to found his own flute company that also became one of the world's premier flute-makers.
Here's a photo from the early workshop.
The company still has one of Hayne's early inventory books, listing their creations and repairs.
In today's workshop, an apprentice works to precisely machine flute parts.
This cabinet is filled with parts from the older models, so when a repair comes in for an older flute they have the parts handy.
This giant press is the original one that Hayne's used, and is over one hundred years old. It was used to stamp out particular flute keys.
Here are some keys that were stamped by the giant press!
There are over 131 parts in the making of a Haynes flute, and here they all are laid out individually.
The polishing room! I spy a Hoover & Strong box being reused as a place to store flute crowns (I reuse their boxes, too!).
These beauties have been polished and are waiting for their keys!
Beginning the assembly process...
and assembling the key mechanism at what looks a lot like a jeweler's workbench!
Flute and jewelry making aren't just similar - some of the tools we use are exactly the same! Check out these files, pliers, and torch - I use the same ones to make jewelry.
The keys are created in wax then cast in silver, gold, or platinum. Check out the key on the right, made of pink wax, and the silver version next to it.
I spy flux and pickle pot! Just like in jewelry-making.
Here are all the keys laid out, next to a polished flute body. The blue covering protects the finely polished metal from being scratched while the keys are attached.
Here they are checking to make sure that the keys are aligned correctly and close tightly...
and shaping the head joint to slide smoothly into the body of the flute.
Stetson hat brims are used for the felt in the flute key mechanism!
Stetson doesn't sell just the plain felt, so Haynes stocked up on brims.
Final testing: Joy works to make sure the sound comes out pure and true, with impeccable playability. (Fyi, Joy is on Instagram with great pics @joymakesthings)
Last step: making final adjustments to the headjoint
After the tour, I got to play one of these gorgeous handmade flutes! The price of this flute was around $20,000. Having gone through the factory and seeing all of the precise work and talent that goes into making these, I can totally understand the price! Not to mention, they play absolutely beautifully.
Thanks for the tour, Haynes! I dream about someday being the owner of one of your gorgeous creations.