The Complete Guide: Make your PVC Quena Flute

Last Revised: Friday, November 30, 2012


Why I started making flutes and a little history about quena flute...

PVC quena flute
Quena Flute Made in Singapore O.o

Let's make Quena!

showing blues clues handy dandy note book
Planning to get a Handy dandy notebk?  
This will be a long post.. step by step  .. on making a quena flute.
I will provide you with my personal secret handy-dandy tips n tricks, hopefully they will be useful for your flute making. And also I've included the making plans and dimensions for my flute.

Don't worry if you do not own any heavy machines or milling machines.. I just find whatever tools I can get around me to make my PVC flute. In another words all the tools that I will be using should be easily obtainable. Yeah!

Materials and Tools:

Tools hardware
Tools Needed
(In clockwise Order)

Saw (any kind will do. Not those that play games with ya)
I want to play a game
Round File
Flat File
Small Files
Hand Drill
Drill Bits
PVC pipes
Marker/ Pencil

Other optional tools: 

(mostly for aesthetic purposes)

Pvc pipes
PVC Pipes
Paper & Tape

Measuring tape and my quena
Measurements of Quena  


Knowing the correct measurement is very important. I'd rather you have a correctly tuned flute than a display piece..
Please be careful when you do your markings.  Always check again to make sure that they are correct before you do any filing or drilling.

Dimension of Quena flute
My Dimension For Quena Tuned in G

Making the Mark 

Measuring pipe inner bore with Viner caliper
Inner Bore Of 

Step 1:  Find a PVC pipe that has an inner bore of 1.8 cm
(Get any colours you like, I Like white) 

Step 2: Mark out the all the points from the above diagram I have provided.

Useful tip:

I'll show you my techniques on how I did the markings..
Some of you may find it difficult to draw a straight line across the longitudinal direction..

PVC pipe with marking line
Perfect Straight line!
This is what I did...
Lay  your PVC on a flat surface along with your marker (both are laying flat on the surface).
Anchor the PVC pipe while you drag the marker across..
you will get a nice straight line..

Marking the PVC with marker
Drag your marker across the surface top
Here is another tip. How I mark the thumb hole which is located directly at the back of the quena?

Get a strip of paper, wrap it around the flute body. Tape or glue the paper to form a paper tube.
Paper tube wrapped around PVCA Flatten paper tube
Flatten the tube.

Use the formed crease, align it to the line you marked out earlier.

There will also be another crease at the back use that as a guide to mark your centred thumb hole.

After you did all your markings, check all of them and make sure they are correct!

Filing & Driling

Filling notch with round file
Filing the Notch

Step 3: Time to play game with Saw.. Remember to leave a few millimetres for filing afterwards..

Step 4: File the ends..
For the blowing end, use the big round file for the notch..

There are no standard angle for filing. I just like my notch to tapered off at a small angle.

Blowing end of quena
Close-up Quena Blowing end 
The shape for the notch may varies.. "U" shape notch being the most common one.

<-- This is how the notch looks like

Tips: Try your blowing and make adjustments until you are comfortable with it.

Drilling the quena fingering holes
Drilling Fingering Holes For Flute

Step 5: Drill the fingering holes..  make sure you have the correct drill bits.
PVC is easy to work with compared to acrylic ones.. (Note: i've drilled acrylic pipes before and they are brittle)

Step 6: Smooth out the drilled holes with a small file.

Basically at this stage, Your flute is Complete!
big bang theory hurray

Quena without binding
Ta-dah! Quena Flute
still not happy? Continue with flute binding...

Durian Opened by Simon Ooh

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