Making A Wooden Whistle

DSCF0951thumb.JPGThis was a quick Saturday morning project to do something that's been on my To Do list for years and years - try to make a wooden whistle completely from scratch.

woodwhstl015-07-26-13h40m02s47.pngI began with a small Birch log that has been drying in my garage for a year - I originally collected it and used half to give our gerbils something to gnaw on - this other half just sat there waiting to be used.

woodwhstl015-07-26-13h40m38s228.pngThe best possible way to cut small blanks for woodturning is probably a bandsaw, but I don't have one of those, so I just split it with a hammer and chisel.


woodwhstl015-07-26-13h41m34s231.pngIt's a straight-grained piece of wood, so it split very cleanly and neatly into usable pieces.

woodwhstl015-07-26-13h42m15s159.pngI drilled a deep, 10mm diameter hole into one end of the blank, then mounted it in my drill-powered lathe and turned it down to a rough cylinder.

woodwhstl015-07-26-13h43m36s197.pngI turned it until the walls of the hollow part were only about 3mm thick, then shaped a taper on the closed end - this would be the neck where I would attach a lanyard later.

woodwhstl015-07-26-13h44m12s44.pngI sanded it very smooth with strips of abrasive while it spun in the lathe.

woodwhstl015-07-26-13h44m44s97.pngAlso while it was still spinning, I gave it a rub with some wax polish using a soft cloth.

Then I pressed a junior hacksaw blade against the spindle end to cut it away and release it.

woodwhstl015-07-26-13h45m30s51.pngI turned another solid peg - this would be used for the fipple plug.

woodwhstl015-07-26-13h45m49s10.pngI filed a flat on the fipple plug (this will become the slot through which air is blown).

woodwhstl015-07-26-13h46m53s125.pngI drilled a hole avout one third of the way down the hollow part of the whistle, then filed this out square to make the voicing hole, with one sloped side, called the labium.


woodwhstl015-07-26-13h47m26s203.pngAfter a little trial fitting and blowing to find the point where it whistled the best, I glued the plug in place using PVA.


woodwhstl015-07-26-13h48m45s209.pngOnce the glue was fully dried, I undercut the fipple slot to make a mouthpiece.

I sanded all of the rough edges away, then put on a little more wax polish and buffed the completed whistle to a soft shine.

DSCF0951thumb.JPGThe completed whistle is a lovely little thing, if I do say so myself - and it makes a sweet, yet soft, high-pitched flute-like note.



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