Rich Halliburton's Querencia Flutes

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Location: Hermosa Beach, California, United States

After building flutes for a number of years now, I sneeze sawdust, and it scares my cat. That being said, it is however an absolute drop dead, no joke passion for me. When I'm not eating sawdust, I'm searching the entire planet for the most beautiful, exotic/bizarre woods, and gemstones I can find. I plow every dime back into purchasing these items, in addition to a few margarita supplies....... I don't follow, or pretend to understand a lot of the cardinal rules of flutemaking, and the end product seems to indicate I'm better off for it. PLUS, I continue to make great friends on a daily basis, most of whom possess humbling talent. ...Ya won't find that working at a carwash, even if it does pay better.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Softer woods....a breath of fresh air.

 So I posted my “Covid Collection” to my shiny new website, and temporarily blew it up…..26 flutes, 260+ photos, 26 sound files, and detailed text for each instrument. The builders had it back up in 24 hours, and said it was not my fault.

During a break from the cold, I ripped and routed 12 blanks to carry me through the rest of the year,….mostly soft woods. What a breath of fresh air….no moon suits or broken tools. This particular instrument is Kentucky poplar……and the lumber gypsies reference it as “Rainbow Poplar” which is nothing more than minerals in the soil sucked up into the tree before harvest. If you have rainbows that look like the color of this flute, you don’t need a flute….you need luggage, and a bus ticket.

Tuned to Fm with a 7/8” bore diameter, woods include dyed/stabilized box elder burl, old growth redwood burl, Oklahoma red cedar, mappa burl, systemically dyed maple, (wherein the tree was fed colored water during growth cycles before veneering), anigre, and myrtle. The inlay includes labradorite, amber, turquoise, Brazilian azotic topaz, abalone, and orange pearls. Summer is almost upon us. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

It's too cold outside.....

Well, ….I don’t have any new flutes completed…or even started. I’ve been unable to rip and route lumber due to the weather, and my rather sketchy work ethic. However, I used the time to post the majority of my “Covid Collection” to my website having added text, photos, and sound files for a couple dozen instruments. I now have about 42 flutes available of 53 posted, as the others are sold. Feel free to take a look, and tell me what you think.

Sunday, April 03, 2022

Beautiful........and nasty.


It’s been a month or so since my last post here, and I mentioned I had two potential flute blanks left, already ripped and routed, of some really horrible wood. Since the only volunteer I had fo help rip and rout lumber, via a table mounted router, and a huge saw, was a 6 year old neighbor kid, who’s parents said “Oh Hell no”……I had to build a flute from one of them. Meet Laotian Flamewood. It took 120+ hours, or a month with my work ethic, to turn it into a flute. On the Janka hardness scale, it weighs in at 2430, while cedar rates at 900. It’s hard. Those numbers could be jelly beans for all I know. It also weighs 65 lbs a cubic foot.

Tuned to Gm, the flute has a 1” bore diameter and length of about 20”. Woods used include SE Asian amboyna, Thuya burl, box elder burl, mappa burl, Virginia walnut, yew, and Oregon poplar. Inlay includes Mexican boulder opal, Mexican crazy lace agate, almandine garnet from Sri Lanka, abalone, turquoise, and hematite.

Owing to its density, condensation wet out is always an issue with extremely hard wood, so I incorporated a low tech wicking system taught to me by the late Leonard Lone Crow. Stay safe, and send up prayers for the well being of the people of Ukraine.  

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Found one more usable stick

So I mentioned back in January I had no more blanks for building flutes, so I was taking a vacation to start noodling with my steel guitars. Ms. Denise won’t let me play them in the house because I’m horrible at it, and playing them in my unheated flute shop, at 52° F turned out to be way less than fun. Rooting around, I found I had two instruments already ripped and routed, and don’t want to touch either. One is Laotian flamewood (VERY hard) and the other is Lignam Vitae…the hardest wood on the planet. This crap is so hard and oily, it’s used as self lubricating bearings in submarine engines. Then I found I had ONE blank left of New Zealand 50,000 year old kauri bogwood…so for the last 7 weeks I’ve been building a flute. Most of that time was spent in building the compression fit bird. It simply slides on and off. I’ve built them before, and they mostly look like turtles. This one doesn’t look so much like a turtle, but looks a little like a flying anteater…..I’ll take it.

The ingredients include a couple of rare items. In addition to the Kauri, having been preserved in a bog for 50,000 years, and maybe longer, I’ve included two examples of ammolite, which is the occasionally iridescent  internal shell structure of the ammonite, a cephalopod like a nautilus.  Having lived in the shallows of the sea that extended from Alberta CN to New Mexico, along the Eastern slopes of the Rockies. These critters, as gemstones, are rarer than diamonds. The example at the mouthpiece is “dragonskin” ammolite, and is rarer still. Both are between 70-110 million years old. Other woods include SE Asian amboyna burl, CA buckeye burl, Virginia walnut, yew burl, and mappa burl. The remaining ingredients include almandine garnet, abalone, hematite, turquoise, and Australian fire opal.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Time for a Little Break....

 So, finished two days ago, this flute is my final build for 2021. I’m taking a couple of months off, as I have 23 flutes that need sound files, and posting to my website. I also need to refresh my memory and that of any of my neighbors within earshot,  as to why I should not play any of my seven steel guitars. Ever. Although this flute is not unusual, it is the last of the 2021 Covid collection, so I’m posting the spec. sheet that is included on the website, and sent to a buyer, rather than a brief paragraph of ingredients and a crank note about Covid. Stay safe and play nice.

01221/Oregon Myrtle Gm.


Another example of one of my favorite woods, this flute is 20-5/16 inches in length, with a 7/8 inch bore diameter.


Woods used in the build beginning at the mouthpiece include twice dyed/stabilized box elder burl, sandwiched between layers of Bethlehem olive, and capped with the myrtle. Each side of the compression chamber includes 19mm disks of the box elder, with addl. 9.5mm disks inset to those disks as well. The fetish sits on a base of flame scorched Oklahoma red cedar, with fairly accurate representations of bobcats found in North American petroglyphs etched to each side. The animal is my loose interpretation of a a bobcat, cut from Oregon myrtle burl, with natural voids filled with powdered turquoise from the Sleeping Beauty mine in Globe AZ.


Inlay, again beginning at the mouthpiece includes a 10x12mm dome cut labradorite cab, flanked by 4mm turquoise dots. Accenting each side of the compression chamber is an additional set of 4mm turquoise dots as well. The sound chamber includes a faceted 12x15mm labradorite cab followed by four 5mm abalone dots and a 6mm turquoise cab accenting the finger holes. Lastly, the fetish has a 6mm turquoise cab set to the animal’s crown, and 2.8mm hematite beads set as eyes.


A permanent wrap to the sound chamber is fashioned from distressed 1mm round domestic rawhide and Romanian hemp because I enjoy doing it.


The flute was tuned at a wood temperature of 73.7° F as measured by non contact laser, and an ambient temp. of 72.3° F at sea level with a humidity factor of 62%.

For drying purposes, it is unnecessary to completely remove the fetish block from the flute body, simply loosening the ties and pulling the block gently to the side is sufficient to dry out the flue area. If you absolutely must take the assembly apart, have plenty of wooden toothpicks on hand to gently coax the ties back through the flute as well as the base of the block. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

…And a big steaming plate of “ADIOS” for 2021

 With a side order of Good riddance. So much crisis and divisive turmoil is really trashing what’s left of my Golden Years…..but I digress.


This Virginia walnut Gm flute is my last instrument for the year, and it’s a 20 inch screamer. Woods in addition to the walnut include California buck eye burl, box elder burl, SE Asian amboyna burl, mappa burl, and Oklahoma red cedar. Additional condiments include Mexican crazy lace agate, turquoise dots, Sleeping Beauty Mine powdered turquoise, orange pearls, a coin pearl, abalone and hematite. Also includes a permanent rawhide binding and a removable South Dakota prairie rattlesnake wrap.  And yes, the fetish block is another bird carving. There is just very little artistic license you can express carving a porcupine or gopher................On another note, I sold a flute last week, which generated an unsolicited testimonial on Dec. 10th. I have over 100 posted on my website, but I have never shared them outside of that platform,,,,until today. This was a truly humbling surprise. The client wrote  If youre on the fence or deciding between one of Richs flutes and another craftsmans, let me cast the final vote for you: buy from Rich. I got the chills blowing in to this for the first timeits exactly the sound for which Ive been looking. The attention to detail, craftsmanship, right down to the carefully curated paperwork he sends, this flute and the whole process have been world class. I really do feel like this isnt just a flute; I can feel the love Rich poured into this, and look forward to enjoying it for decades to come.….He wanted to add more, but I suggested to do so, would appear that I created the whole thing myself. Here’s hoping 2022 recovers gracefully from 2021and 2020. Play nice, and be safe.


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Some Old, Some New, as well as some Healing elements


This instrument is built primarily from 50,000 year old New Zealand Kauri. The additional woods include Bethlehem Olive, Cedar of Lebanon, and a diamond cut of SE Asian amboyna burl set into the sound chamber. Inlaid stone work includes 70-130 million year old dragon skin ammolite, from the Bear Paw Alberta formation, labradorite, hematite, Brazilian mystic topaz, Iron pyrite, turquoise, and hematite.

…..I need you folks to routinely visit my Querencia Woodwinds Facebook page, as well as my blog, accessed from my website, to become back porch ambassadors for my work. Nobody on earth builds an instrument like mine..except a couple of guys in Ukraine/Russia, maybe. Also leave a comment about what you like, or more importantly, what you don’t like about my work, so I can move in a direction that will generate flute sales. Thank you. Life remains in turmoil. Stay safe, cautious, and vigilant.