About

BJS Instruments is one person — me, Ben. I love music but I was originally a visual artist. I play the whistle, Irish flute and flute; I love the simplicity and organic feel of the classic six-hole folk instruments.

I also love the way you can shape and structure them in so many ways — they’re a perfect platform for design and decoration.

This is me playing a Daniel Bingamon Low-Low-A whistle. It works mainly due to faith.

I began using instruments as a medium for visual art — engraving, painting, laminating and planishing to make new forms whose decoration interacted with their sound.

These days I have a small workshop for making and modifying instruments. Let’s take a quick tour of it. You don’t need that much in the way of tools… it’s all in the wrist, you see…

The BJS Instruments manufacturing hub

At the right you’ll see the grinder/polisher.

At the rear right you’ll see the pillar drill.

In the middle you’ll see the Dremel. Have to have a Dremel.

At rear left you’ll see a strange canister of bubbling red fluid. This is Brother Benjamin’s Invigorating Tonic, something else that I make. I plan on selling it by the bottle one day if I can work out whether it’s legal.

In the foreground you’ll see a cheap, horrible engineering vice. I should have paid the extra 20 pounds to get a nice one. Ah well, we live and learn.

In front of the drill you’ll see two whistles-to-be — these went on to become Castor and Pollux, two matching low whistles used by the Ezonoko Ainu Folk Band.

Way way at the back, you’ll see a small school desk from about 1803, with a concert flute on it. Did I make the flute myself? I confess, I did not; I use it for helping tune other flutes.

Not shown: lathe, biscuits, small daughters, hedgehog. The hedgehog lives under the workshop (the daughters live in the house, obviously — otherwise they’d get cold).

I hope you enjoyed this tour!