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Questions and Ideas from a wannabe Oc Maker; Looking for help from more experienced makers
Topic Started: 2 Dec 2017, 04:25 AM (670 Views)
MatheusMota
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Pendant Ocarinist x 2
Hi Y'all!

I've been doing some research on TON for a few days on how to make an (tuned) ocarina. As I said on my introduction post, I've got a six hole pendant (it doesn't really play) that a friend gave me a few years ago. That Oc is so bad that just recently my interest on ocarinas was rekindled by an archaeologist friend of mine whoose area of expertise is ceramics. The forum posts and some YouTube videos were really helpful but some questions remain.


  • Acording to the Making an Ocarina in a Predetermined Key we can calculate the necessary volume of the cavity for a given voicing window diameter. For that reason I'm planning on making a round voicing window with a diameter of 0.97 cm (0.38 inches) based on this video by Chris Heuer on a C3 10 hole ocarina. Has anyone tried this method for a sweet potato shaped ocarina? If so, were the results good?
  • In my mind, for the above mentioned method to work I would need a really precise way to make the chamber in order to ensure the volume would be right. So Chris comes for the rescue again. I'm planning on using the drape form technique that he shows on this video. This post by Bas on Little Geese shows the technique in a little more detail. My resoning for using this method instead of a 2 part plaster mold is that I could calculate the volume of the cone and add half of the volume of the ball to it and figura out quite precisely the volume of the chamber. What is the opinion of other makers on this method? A 10 mm thick slab would be good enough? What proportion the ball should be in relation to the lengh of the cone?
  • The clay I got from my friend is a Terracotta without grog that she says shrinks about 10% when fired between 650C-1020C. I'm planning on making the ocarina about 11% (maybe a little more) bigger (in volume) than the value given by the formula from the first question so that when the ocarina is fired it would still be a little flat and I could tune it up by filing the holes. Is this aproach resonable? How do you tune the fundamental note of the instrument after it is fired? Do you guys tune all the holes going up in the scale or is there some special trick for tunning?
  • Everyone says that the voicing has to be propotional to to the body. Has anyone figured out a way to calculate or measure this proportion?
  • Are there standard dimentions for making an airway stick? If yes, what are they?
  • I'm planning on using a 10 hole italian fingering system. Is there a way to keep the left hand pinky hole from getting to lage? Should I split the right hand pinky hole? If so, how is it done?
  • For finishing I'm planning on burnishing the ocarina and then giving it one or two coats of shelack after it is fired. Are there any tricks on how to do it?


I think that's it for now. I would be really happy if soe body with experience answered some of the questions (all of them would be really nice) and if you've got any more tips I will happily accept them.

Thanks in advance,
Matheus Mota

P.s: I have a little bit of experience with clay and poterry due to archaeology and I don't really mind that it will be really hard to get a playable instrument. I want to experience the process of making the instrument and I'm not shying away from the failures and frustrations of it. So, there is no need to say that I should start doing something else like apendant or something. BTW I am able to make clay whistles and I was able to make a one note vessel flute on a workshop that my above mentioned friend gave.
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MatheusMota
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Pendant Ocarinist x 2
pandorado100
3 Dec 2017, 01:30 AM
Chris' videos on ocarina making are really good. It will take you through the basics. If you want more specific information on details like voicing size etc. you could try asking Ross Dubois. He sometimes drops by here on TON but he can more easily be found on Facebook or you can post a question to him on his Etsy store page. He is the owner of Oberon Ocarinas.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/OberonOcarinas?ref=l2-shopheader-name

https://www.facebook.com/OberonOcarinas/?ref=br_rs


Thank you Pandorado100! I'll try to bring myself to messaging Mr. Dubois. I'll have to think about how to approach him. But none the less thank you. If you've got tips of your own I would like to hear them too.
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MatheusMota
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OH, if Ross is ok with sharing his knowledge, I'll try to contact him. I know a tiny bit of italian maybe I'll be able to talk to Mr. Cataldi.

Quote:
 
I have never made ocarinas and have no desire to start. My arthritis would make handling clay very difficult. :D


It's a shame that your arthritis doesn't let you handle clay, but as a player what is the most confortable shape for you to play? by shape I mean how big of the diameter of the round part of the ocarina has when compared to the length of the instrument. In general what do you look for in an oc?

Thanks for the kind posts and for the attention.
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MatheusMota
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Siscoe
4 Dec 2017, 03:22 PM
Robert Hickman (Pure Ocarina) wrote a book about making Ocarinas as well.

https://ocarinamaking.com

Siscoe

Yes, I know Robert has a book but buying things in USD here in Brazil is quite expensive so I guess I'll have to wait on that one.
Hi Soren,

Quote:
 
I hope you find some of this information useful. Feel free to ask me any additional questions.


Yes, it was truly helpful and I'm bringing myself to go about sending PMs to people that I've never interacted before (That's kindda why I started this topic). If you could post the a feel of the measurements that you've got would be nice since I don't own a transverse ocarina so I can't take measurements from it.

Quote:
 
I cannot say anything about the ball-to-cone proportion, as I do not build with this method.


This proportion doesn't need this method to exist. What I really mean is the relation between the widest diameter of the ocarina when compared to te lenght of the instrument.

I will send you a PM with some of the measurements I'm planning to use so you can compare it to yours.

Best regards,

Matheus Mota
Edited by MatheusMota, 5 Dec 2017, 12:28 AM.
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MatheusMota
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Harp Player
5 Dec 2017, 09:08 AM
Have you read the book on making Ocarinas?

https://ocarinamaking.com/
So as I told Siscose, Buying thing from abroad, be it in USD or in pounds, is really expensive here in Brazil due to the weakness of our currency and import taxes. Right now I cannot buy the book, but I plan to in the future.

Best regards,
Matheus Mota
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MatheusMota
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No worries about the question.

I've been looking into the forums for a while now (even before I registered) and his posts were really useful. I just posted the questions I couldn't answer myself. I'm glad that the topic is beeing active and it has been really helpful for me.

Best regards,
Matheus Mota
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MatheusMota
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That's really nice to hear. Generally people are really secretive about there techniques and their way of designing stuff. I think it would be nice to here some inputs from players about the things that they like and don't about the shape of the instrument.
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MatheusMota
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Pendant Ocarinist x 2
Harp Player
5 Dec 2017, 11:27 PM
I have carpal tunnel syndrome because of my many years of hard work, so I have to play inline Ocarinas. For that reason I don't have a lot of experience with the various makers products. All I own is Mountain Ocarinas, and One of Robert Hickman's Pure Ocarinas. I love the sound and feel of the Pure Ocarina but I can only play it for a few minutes without my hands going numb.
Wow! It's very interesting how people with different body conditions are a part of this community. Maybe when I menage to make a nice sounding instrument I'll try to play with the ergonomics of the ocarina.
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MatheusMota
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Harp Player
6 Dec 2017, 07:14 AM
The inline oarinas are generally made from hard materials such as wood, metal or Injection molded plastic. I love the sound of it, but some don't like the different texture that you get from the Mountain Ocarina.
I really like the idea of instruments having character in their sound. If all of them have the purest sound possible there is no point on using them as means of expression. I hope that what comes out of this ocarina making adventure is worthy of expressiveness, That's why I'm doing my research and writing text walls of questions on the forum.
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MatheusMota
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I'm totally fine with failing. It's a part of learning. What I call a ocarina making adventure is not just the first ocarina that I make. I'll start putting things together this weekend. Hope I'll start making the ocarina soon.
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MatheusMota
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spoonyspork
7 Dec 2017, 06:07 PM
You used to be able to get Robert's ocarina making book in PDF format.

I don't think a lot of people are so much... secretive... about making ocarinas, as it's sort of difficult to explain the techniques. So much just ends up coming down to intuition, then once you have a method that works for you... how do you explain it? This is true for the thread on the pre-determined key as well. That formula will really just get you somewhat *close* to where you want to be, as there will be other factors changing things, such as clay shrinkage, temperature/humidity, etc. Chris's videos are probably best for a basis for your own techniques though.

10mm might be a little thick. I've always done the 'press mold' method, and find just a little more than 1/4" (between 6 and 7 mm) works well for work-ability and also being nice and light weight. I'd imagine it's similar for drape molding.

Good luck! Making ocarinas can be frustrating, but also a lot of fun :)
It's not so much the shipping cost of a fisical book. The problem really is the currency. The Brazilian Real is worth one fifth of a pound so buying things from abroad is quite difficult.

I was trying to say that normally people who make stuff are quite secretive about the things they make, that seems to be different with the ocarina community and that is really good.

Thanks for the tip about the thickness of the slab.
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MatheusMota
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tytoalba
11 Dec 2017, 06:16 PM
The advice given to you by others is more than enough to start. The optimal dimensions can be found with the tests. This is because the shape of the chamber affects the total volume. Start working and never get discouraged. Insist and you will see the first results.
Thanks Giorgio! I'll start building later this week and probably create a build log thread to share my progress.
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