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.

Sunday, August 16, 2009




"The flute player played songs of the forest and, songs of the sky, songs of the meadows and songs of the sea. all day and all night."
--Robyn Eversole, in The Flute Player




A little something more, about flute pricing. My flute pricing is based on two factors. The cost of materials, and the labor or length of time necessary for the little voice in my head to tell me, “This flute is done” My most pricy flutes consist of expensive stone work, pyrographics, crushed inlay, fetish overlays, and difficult wood. In attempting to build a flute for between $100.00 and $200.00USD, I have to cut back on every one of these elements, yet still craft an instrument that is unique and noteworthy among the hundreds of flutes available at that price point. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I’m still trying to develop that formula……..without much success.

On another note, business wise, … I involuntarily listened to a radio program recently, wherein the topic of discussion was “How to keep your small business from getting smaller” during the current economic downturn. Despite all the smoke and mirrors to the contrary, Querencia Woodwinds is not a Fortune 500 company yet. However, I came to realize, the size of my company is perfect during the current economic s***storm. It can’t get any smaller, unless I lay myself off. And I won’t do that because I don’t want to deal with the paperwork associated with suing myself for unlawful termination. Plus, I think I would have to hire two attorneys to fight over my claim.

Switching gears, I recently purchased enough 50,000 year old New Zealand Kauri, to add a spare bedroom here at Rancho Relaxo. I’ll be making flutes from this material, not a bedroom, but I’ll be doing it very slowly. Given my construction methods, which are a little different from some builders, and way different from most, I find this material to be acoustically superior to any other woods I’ve used, particularly if the work is done slowly. In keeping with the timeless/ageless nature of this wood, inlay materials will include Anasazi pottery shards from 1050 AD, found on a private Utah ranch,
6000-8000 year old North African projectile points, beautiful 70 million year old Ammolite, and small disks I had milled from the 6 Billion year old Gibeon meteorite. If I find anything older, I’ll add that too.

A brief note about diamonds. I place approximately 75 diamonds in flutes each year. I do my best to responsibly source my diamond purchases, using one Canadian wholesaler, and two in the orient. The majority of my purchases originate in conflict free South Africa, while the remainder comes from other Kimberly Process countries. Despite this, embargoed war torn countries, routinely smuggle their stones into conflict free countries for export, and the US is the largest importer of diamonds in the world. It is a horribly flawed system, but better than no system at all.
Speaking of gemstones and cabochons, my flutes contain between 2 and as many as 10 stones, and occasionally they………….fall out. Although I use a bullet proof slow kick two part marine epoxy, contraction and expansion of the wood, can although rarely, fatigue the bond and loosen the inlay. Should this occur, we both have a record of the materials used, and you can return the flute or fetish, for a replacement at no charge. Your only cost is the shipping necessary to get the flute or fetish back to me. This is a lifetime policy, but it’s MY lifetime, ……….. and I’m getting old. Ok then, as always, play nice.