With every head being unique, listing different models has always seemed a bit silly. However, I've been doing a lot of experimenting and here are some of my latest ideas:
1. Recycle your old headjoint. I've carefully avoided this topic for years because my supply of wood was limited. I've just gotten a fresh supply (cut in 1979) and can offer a new service. If you have a cracked or otherwise useless head by another maker, I will happily cut it up and use the metal parts with a piece of my wood to make you a new headjoint. The good news is cost. I hate making sockets and rings, so I will make you a head for HALF PRICE! Yep - that's $400. The bad news is that some of the magic is in my handmade sockets. You'll get most of an Eldred Spell headjoint, but there are some subtleties (particularly tuning) that I can't achieve with the original socket. It will look and play very much like my regular heads, but it won't have the maker's stamp or a serial number. And, while my regular heads are always sent on approval, the rebuilt heads must be paid for in advance. Since the metal parts are yours, so is the headjoint. Refunds are very, very unlikely.
Here's a "remanufactured head," originally by a famous Boston maker.
2. Nicholson Model. I did my dissertation on Charles Nicholson and his flute design. He had a trick called "waisting" that improves articulation, focus, and response in all registers. The price is a slight loss in "depth" of sound. I wouldn't recommend this for the hard-core professional, but if you are a casual player or just need a really safe headjoint, this may be a life saver. This feature is available on any new piccolo head at no extra charge.
3. A crack-proof piccolo head? Piccolo heads do crack. This is an ongoing problem with most makes of wood piccolo heads (including mine). There are two ways that this happens, both related to humidity and the tendency of wood to absorb and release water. When wood absorbs water it expands and when it dries out, it shrinks. The metal socket inside a traditional head won't shrink or expand. In the winter when the humidity drops, the wood shrinks and pulls tight around the metal. This causes the wood (and me) considerable stress. Eventually something's got to give and it's not the metal socket . . . CRACK! This can also happen from playing in a dry environment. If the bore absorbs moisture from playing, the inner part of the tube will swell and literally push the outer tube apart. Again . . . CRACK! A crack doesn't usually ruin a piccolo head. Clem Barone always insisted that his heads sounded better after they cracked and my own subjective experience bears this out. Still, it's traumatic for the owner and a real headache for me.
I've been treating my wood with either tung or linseed oil for decades. The oil is very conventional, but my technique drives the oil deeply into the wood - hopefully to waterproof and prevent cracking. It works well enough most of the time, but not always. A real solution would require two things: a) the wood has to be truly immune to changes in humidity, and b) there needs to be no metal in the socket. The solution is simple enough, but it's very, very messy. Instead of using oil, I can treat the wood with epoxy. This is still at the experimental stage, but the initial results look promising. The process itself is a minor industrial secret, but I can force epoxy into every pore in the wood. That would seem to take care of the humidity question. It happens that the epoxy also strengthens the wood considerably, so I can make the head with only one metal part - the small tube that mates with the piccolo body. No metal socket or rings! This idea isn't new to me - George Opperman was doing it years ago. What's new is the epoxy treatment of a solid piece of mountain mahogany. I expected a piece of wood-colored plastic, but it plays quite well. The focus and response are close to amazing. I've only made one prototype -- which doesn't quite provide statistical significance. On the other hand, the first two people to try it happened to be William Bennett and Jeff Zook, both of whom gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up. The prototype is now getting a real-world trial in Canada. If you'd like to be a guinea pig, let me know.