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Welcome to my updated website.

I am a flute maker based in Tubbercurry, South Sligo, Ireland.

South Sligo is an area with a rich history of Irish traditional music with many generations of great local musicians (particularly flute & fiddle players). 

I have a long involvement personally in Irish music & have been playing flutes of one sort or another for over 30 years. I have been making flutes professionally for around ten years after studying 'Woodwind instrument making & repair' at Newark on Trent, U.K.

After working for several years with the exotic hardwoods normally used in flute making (like African blackwood & Mopane), alongside alternative materials like Delrin (a polymer), I have now decided to concentrate my attention & focus on to Delrin exclusively. I have spent the last few years exploring the unique possibilities offered by this material in respect to flute making with very positive  results. My thoughts are that Delrin flutes may have aquired a reputation previously for being only a simple budget option. I have never subscribed to that view. I believe it is all in the skill and dedication of the maker. The tone & response of a well made Delrin flute is almost indistinguishable from a wooden instrument. Delrin not only has the advantage of having very similar tonal qualities to African blackwood (for example), but being a polymer it is not susceptible to the many variables that can affect wooden instruments. Delrin will never crack, warp, swell, shrink or distort in any way. Delrin is completely unaffected by moisture & there is also no need to oil it. On top of that Delrin is not affected by the subtle atmospheric changes that can affect a wooden flutes daily response & performance. A Delrin flute can be left assembled without worry. In fact Delrin itself is incredibly strong ,stable, & virtually maintenance free, just a few of the reasons it was developed for extensive use in the engineering & manufacturing industries. With over 200 Delrin polymer flutes leaving my workshop & being delivered to satisfied customers worldwide over the last ten years, I have 100% confidence that a top quality instrument can be constructed from it.

Much of the making process is almost identical to wooden flute making with the instruments being machined to fine tolerances from solid rod on a precision engineering lathe and milling machine, with the detailed finishing work being performed by hand & eye, with patience, at the workbench.

I take great care to tune, voice & finish all my instruments to the highest standards. The flute will be played by myself until I am completely happy with it.

My flutes are based on instruments produced by two of the best known historical wooden flute makers of their time, Rudall & Rose, & Boosey & Co. These antique flutes have long been sought after in Irish music circles for their fine tone & craftsmanship. My new instruments based on these originals are tuned at modern pitch  A440 & optimised for Irish traditional music, with a solid low D & rich resonant first octave, with a bright & clear second octave.

After experimenting with different models over the last few years I now offer just two, both only available in Delrin.

The new 'Standard' model, a full length four section flute with sterling silver rings & a nickel silver tuning slide. This model closely resembles the 'Rudall' model offered previously whilst taking some influence also from the 'Pratten' design. This model is capable of great volume & projection, whilst it can also be played softly with equal ease in a more nuanced style. In my opinion it is all about the responsiveness of an instrument. I'm confident that this new model will satisfy the great majority of players.

The 'Student' model, a slightly shorter & lighter two piece design (following a 'Rudall' profile) with a Delrin tuning slide & nickel silver rings.

This model has proved very popular with Comhaltas groups & music schools across Ireland & beyond. The same care is taken during making despite this flute being more affordable.

Both models are available in the usual key of D with other keys available. Interchangeable body sections in different keys are also an option, please contact me for details.

Up to six sterling silver keys can be added to either model. The keys are mounted on solid anodized aluminium round blocks, which can be added to the flute during making or at a later date. The blocks are attached to the flute in a similar way to traditional metal pin mounts, being counter sunk into the flute body & permenantly fixed. Being aluminium it is my view that they will offer superior performance & reliability in the long run when compared to traditional wooden blocks. The aluminium blocks are lightweight whilst offering excellent wear resistance and being less prone to damage. I believe this is a major innovation with my new design. The key pads are also made from high quality closed cell foam (think wetsuits), a fantastic hard wearing modern alternative to traditional leather or felt pads. These pads are impervious to moisture & are even washable.

If you purchase a keyless flute & would like keys adding at a later date that is also now an option I can offer. I can also 'retro-fit' keys to any already existing keyless Delrin flutes that I have made previously.

For added ease of maintenance and durability nitrile rubber 'O' rings are fitted to the joints (instead of thread or cork). O rings are purposely designed to form a reliable long lasting flexible seal in countless mechanical applications. They work absolutely perfectly with Delrin & are easily available, inexpensive & simple to replace. Even the usual cork stopper in the headjoint has been replaced by a Delrin plug, secured with O rings. Spare O rings are supplied free with every flute.

Ultimately my aim has been to produce the highest quality Delrin flute for Irish music, focusing on  playability, reliability & ease of maintenance.

Whether it's a starter flute, a second flute (for travelling maybe), or a main flute, I believe you will be delighted with my instruments.

To place an order or if you have any questions please use the form on the 'Contact' page, or pay a visit to my workshop in South Sligo (by appointment please). Please note I am not currently taking on any repair work.

Damian Thompson

Standard model 6 key with case
Decorative end caps
Student flute 3 key
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