See Galleries page for images of finished and in progress instruments from the workshop.
Paddy – what can I say? Thank you so much for the diamond wood whistle that arrived today – What a wonderful surprise! Max loves it as well! For anyone out there looking for a hand made whistle you could not fault Patrick Martin’s work. The rosewood whistle I ordered off him has the softest and most beautiful sound. You could all order whistles and flutes – spend the summer learning and give the faerys a wee treat! – Ursula Burns
Patrick is making wonderful handcrafted flutes and whistles, from wood. Usually he makes these to order but may sometimes have instruments in stock. He plays his own instruments as proof of their quality. A variety of tropical and native hard-woods are used : eg Yew, Holly, Boxwood, Apple, Olive, Damsonwood, also Ebony, Cocobolo, Rosewood, Mopane etc. The native varieties are often sourced locally and cut by Patrick himself. Most other timbers are selected from The Woodshed, in Antrim.
He studied and played various makes of whistle over the years, noting the qualities as well as flaws in the different designs:
On developing my own whistles I also spent a good deal of time researching recorder-making, which is very similar – they work in exactly the same way. I’ve been able to incorporate what I learned in my design of windway, and other critical design elements, resulting in exquisite hand-made instruments. Each one is played, tested, tweaked, tuned and voiced for optimum sound and tuning. Other key features of my whistles are that the block is not glued in, and can be tapped out with a length of dowel, for any maintainance, cleaning, or fine-adjustment, if necessary. The tone-holes are all under-cut by hand, for better tone and tuning, and are also sanded smooth and waxed.
The most commonly made keys (pitch) are: D, C, Bb but other keys of whistle can also be made, eg Low G/F
My flutes are simple 3 piece, all-wood models. Simple in design but all carefully hand-made for ease of playing and good tone. I particularly like using local, native species of wood, it keeps costs down but also I feel these instruments have their own unique charm. As with my whistles, the bores are sanded and polished silky-smooth.
I also however, keep a small stock of ‘DymondWood’. This is really super material, made from thinly laminated birch, impregnated with a special resin, dyed, and compressed under high heat to almost half its original thickness. The instruments made from this are maintainance free- not even requiring any oiling/waxing.
I have also befriended a laser-etcher at www.riverlanegifts.com who helps with finishing each instrument with a beautiful etched design.
I have a small workshop, and only wood-turning lathes, my billets are cut to length with an ordinary hand-saw, sometimes roughed-out with a draw-knife..I don’t have any expensive engineering lathes, milling cutters, gun-drills or anything so I’m working in a very traditional, hands-on way but it suits me and is enjoyable to do, and proof of the accuracy and quality I obtain is in the instruments themselves.