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.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

.....Three woods, and lots of labradorite


And the primary wood is pretty special. New Zealand Kauri is about as big around as a house and still grows there. This kauri was harvested from a tree that fell over, and into a peat bog, about 50,000 years ago. This material costs between $70.00 and $140.00 per board foot. By contrast, Eastern red cedar costs between 25 cents and 5 dollars per board foot. The wood is too pricy to fiddle around with in terms of build experiments. The other two woods are macassar ebony and SE Asian amboyna burl. The world’s most expensive burl wood. The remaining components include labradorite, Mexican boulder opal, turquoise, Sri Lanka sapphires, abalone, Brazilian topaz….and more labradorite. The instrument is tuned to Fm, and is 22-1/8 inches in length. As always, play nice with one another, and remain Covid cautious.  

Monday, September 06, 2021

The bird potential lunch

 So about 12 years ago, I cut some live edge amboyna Burl, and had a tiny scrap left over. I thought then….maybe I can make something with this someday. I stumbled across it once or twice a year since then. I just finished a flute of Oklahoma red cedar, and used that scrap as part of the block, and it tells a story. The latest flute still has a bird, but in this case, the bird is potential lunch. It also has a cat, stalking the bird. Cats will stalk animals smaller than themselves, even if they’re not hungry. I guess it’s just a fun thing to do. The assemblage was somewhat fragile, so I stabilized it with crushed Arizona turquoise and chrysocolla, and created two birds, and two cats….figuring somebody will eventually break one or both of them. While fooling with it, I set the second bird up on the butt of the cat, and the visual got me laughing so hard I almost pee’d myself…..I’m entertained easily. Anyway, if you find yourself in a bar fight, and your only weapon is this flute, please remove the block before mixing it up. If you are in a bar, and pull out the flute to improvise a little tune,…I guarantee you’ll find yourself in a bar fight. Ingredients include Mexican boulder opal, Mexican fire opal, Australian opal, garnet, faceted African cognac diamonds, abalone, labradorite and turquoise……In the meantime, Covid 19 is making a return engagement where I live, it’s got a new cast of characters and the same deadly plot twists. Get vaccinated and stay Covid cautious.#Nativeamericanstyle #querenciawoodwinds

Monday, August 23, 2021

Adios Laotian Flamewood


Laotian flamewood is one of the hardest, most beautiful, and nastiest of the rosewood species on the planet. There are aspects of this build that look like they were done by a six year old, owing to the obstinance of the material. I have one chunk of wood left of this stuff, after which I'll say adios to working with it again. Ever. Tuned to D#, this oval bore flute is 22-1/4” in length. Contrasting woods include amboyna burl and Bethlehem olive, while inlay material is predominately turquoise and labradorite, with a little abalone and hematite thrown in. As we continue to run around under the cloud of Covid, please remain cautious. Extra cautious if like myself, you got a J&J vaccine. It appears the newest variant (Lambda) just laughs at this vaccine…..probably uses it for food. Stay safe and play nice.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

A few words about burls....


Burls, when found growing on the sides of trees, or within a tree’s root system, are an interesting anomaly for any variety. They are nothing more than a wart, and look and behave without regard for any attributes of the variety of tree on which they’re growing. Building anything from a burl is challenging and frustrating as there are voids, twisted grain, and weird knots. Oddly, they are always more expensive than their straight grained counterpart. I’m guessing it’s due to their rare and unique beauty. Generally, they’re popular as bookends.

This flute was built from Oregon myrtle burl wood. Fortunately only 4 voids in the body had to be filled with powdered turquoise from Arizona’s Sleeping Beauty mine. One previous project, specifically California Buckeye burl,  had 56 holes in need of backfilling.

Tuned to Gm, the woods used are limited to the myrtle burl, SE Asian amboyna burl, and macassar ebony. The stone work includes Mexican crazy lace agate, Mexican jelly opal. turquoise, labradorite, abalone, amber, and hematite. There will be a burl quiz next week, now go out and play. No bullying.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021


Huangana Negra remains one of my favorite tone woods in building flutes. This started out tuned to F#m, but became a Gm after adding the stylized snake tuning hole at the far end. Amboyna burl, old growth redwood burl, mappa burl, box elder burl, with addl. accents of African garnet, Mexican crazy lace agate, labradorite, Sleeping Beauty mine turquoise, abalone and hematite. and a little rawhide wrap.....Stay Covid cautious, and play nice with one another.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Poplar is not a favorite, but.......


Poplar F#m, 20.5” in length, 7/8” bore diameter. This material is excited to become a flute, instead of the predictable destiny of becoming a cardboard box. It is not one of my favorite tone woods, because it sounds too much like…..well, poplar, and by extension, like red cedar. However, I’m pleased with the end result, as to tone and visual appeal….. The fetish block is not a bird. I’m going with hybrid. I was trying to create a bear, but I think I’m stuck with gopher or possum….your choice……Sleeping Beauty mine turquoise, labradorite, Australian opal, abalone, box elder burl, and amboyna burl.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Trash Tree of Texas...


Here at the tail end of the Covid Collection, I have a G#m flute built from Mesquite. Also known as the "Trash Tree of Texas", it is living proof that Mother Nature has a sense of humor. Not being a sought after wood variety for Native American style flutes, This material's greatest contribution to mankind is probably it's willingness to become.....charcoal. That being said, it is nevertheless a little screamer, as flutes in that key tend to be. Additional materials include Mexican cocobolo, twice dyed box elder burl, Battle Mt. NV turquoise, spiny oyster, labradorite, and removable, slide off wrap of Western diamondback rattlesnake skin. The skin was harvested from the Spike Box ranch outside Benjamin TX and I tanned and dyed it to try and maintain the color scheme of the instrument, and basically just to see what would happen. Stay well, and play nice.