Wooden flutes are recommended for warmer, colder and dryer climates because of bamboo's vulnerability to cracking due to variations in the air's moisture content. The grain and density of each wood differs from close-grained to extremely dense.
Natural features such as sap runs, knots and figured grain, can enhance the aesthetic of a wooden flute without compromising its acoustic performance. Red gum has been used predominantly in Australia's history as cheap, common, and durable construction timber.
Direct from the Central Australian Outback, mulga is extremely hard and dense wood. Mulgawood is a dark-red/brown timber boarded by a lightly coloured sapwood. It has been used extensively in Australia for the manufacture of violin pegs and finger-boards and is one of the few timbers in the world which can be used to make bows; rivalling the traditional timber, pernambuco. Individual and characteristic features such as grub-feasts, cannot always be supplied.
Endemic to the coastal regions of Tasmania, sheoak is hardy and durable. A beautiful timber with an attractive fleck in the grain.
A wonderful Tassie hardwood. The dark colourations in the timber are caused by fungi and can often create sinuous and serpentine patterns. Frequently used for wood-turning, Blackheart sassafras remains one of Australia's most sought-after craft timbers.
Another Tasmanian classic. This lightweight timber is ideal for those with arthritic hands and wrists.
The horizontal lines in the blackwood flute are an excellent example of figure. Figured blackwood is one of the most expensive and sought-after woods in Australia. The figure is caused by compression in the trunk of the tree due to great age and size. It creates lines in the wood that refract light. This effect can be enhanced with polishing to create wonderful "flames" and "flashes".
Enquiries for specialist timbers are welcome. Costs depend on availability and price of materials. Certain timbers require a greater amount of time in preparation and work. Previous creations include:
- Tulip wood (from NSW Rainforest)
- Queen ebony (sustainably harvested from Solomon Islands)
- Honey locust
The most expensive but traditional building material for shakuhachi is bamboo. Specially dried and cured sections of bamboo are painstakingly prepared over the course of many months before even being considered for the construction of a flute. The spacing of the bamboo sections, the aesthetic of the curvature, and the potential of the flute's bore are all considered carefully before selection. Due to these reasons the costs of bamboo flutes can vary enormously.
Handmade shakuhachi using bamboo in the traditional method are available in all sizes and with a number of centre joint features and options.
Prices vary according to the size of the shakuhachi, the quality of bamboo, and the cost and amount of precious metal used in the flute's centre joint.