tried making wood whistles

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  • tried making wood whistles

    Just on a lark. Tried once before but with little luck. This time a little more organized.

    3/4 inch sq by 4" blanks from scrap reclaimed hardwood.

    Drill a hole 3/8" x 3-1/2 deep in one end.

    Cut a notch 1" back and 5/16" deep from the open end, with a 45 back side.
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    Trim a 3/8" dowel 0.090" deep flat on one side for the "reed". It took a special table saw jig to do this consistently. Microadjusting the rip fence width allowed me to fine tune the reed size that worked most consistently. The dowel was a tiny bit oversized so I drilled the block with a lettered drill to get a good fit. And drilled the 6-7" block from both ends using a vertical drilling fence I posted in jigs once and the drill press. Holes met perfectly! Rip the block about halfway through. You will make about 4" on each pass.
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    Zero the calipers on the dowel diameter and then measure the flat depth (comes out negative, that's correct).

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    Cut the dowel about 1.25" long pieces and insert into open end; test blow, adjust back and forth to get whistle sound; usually the inner end is right at the vertical edge of the notch.

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    This is the hard part - although I cut them fairly precisely it took a lot of playing and sometimes trimming the notch a little deeper to get the whistles to work.

    Mark the reed location depth, then remove and glue in place. Then trim the mouthpiece bevel 45.

    Ended up with 11 working whistles and one that never worked for some unknown reason.

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    PB230494.AVI me and whistle in action!

    It was fun and challenging how to make the cuts consistently - made or used existing jigs I had. I was a little disappointed in how critical it was to make it work with a lot of fine tuning on each one until it worked. I was thinking I could just cut and assemble and they work, but it was not easy. I don't really understand why its so critical... and that bothers me a little.

    But elating when they work!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 11-24-2021, 01:01 PM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

  • #2
    Okay, that's pretty cool. Sand them down, and finish them with a food safe sort of finish and hand them out as stocking stuffers for Christmas...
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    • #3
      I remember a couple of uncles making me whistles when I was little. One drilled out a small limb and made it; the other did with cane. I can't imagine how critical the spacing should be, but evidently they understood it and adjusted until it worked. I tried to make one when I was a teen and never could get it to work. My two uncles had moved away by then and no cell phones for instant consultation. Gave it up.

      That said, I am not musically inclined, in fact the farthest away from musically inclined as one can get. And I am 50% deaf in my right ear. I used to play with harmonics both in sound (hearing) and frequency. I was intrigued by it. But never could make wind instruments or those hanging wind tubes to give great sound or harmonics of each other. Very tedious!
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

      Comment


      • #4
        Next project is a train whistle. Has four tubes/chambers of different depths for that complex whoo-whoo sound.

        https://youtu.be/43nYG_HQxE8

        https://woodworkingformeremortals.co...rs-noisemaker/
        Last edited by LCHIEN; 11-24-2021, 01:46 PM.
        Loring in Katy, TX USA
        If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
        BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

        Comment


        • #5
          I made a PVC whistle, but it wooden whistle.

          When I was 8 years old I spent a year in Norway and my uncle made me a whistle out of a tree branch. He used a straight branch with no twigs or leaves and tapped on the bark with a stick or a mallet until he could slide the bark off of the branch so he was left with a bark tube and a bare branch. He then cut the bare branch and bark tube to allow passage of air and to create the sound. I think that he had openings along the bark tubing so different notes would result by placing a finger over the hole.

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          • #6
            Train whistle made today! It was actually easier or I was luckier than making the single whistle and it sounds a whole lot cooler. Polyphonic four tone whistle.

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            See and hear me play the whistle, short 8-second video clip PB280514.AVI

            I had to make one jig to hold the whistle rotated 45 degrees for the cuts on my bandsaw
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            Attached Files
            Last edited by LCHIEN; 11-28-2021, 06:33 PM.
            Loring in Katy, TX USA
            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
            BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

            Comment


            • LCHIEN
              LCHIEN commented
              Editing a comment
              You need about a 6-3/4" or 7" piece of 2x2 or 2x4 ripped to 1-7/16" square. Scraps for me from another project.
              Last edited by LCHIEN; 12-11-2021, 03:19 AM.

          • #7
            A few more pictures on making the whistle. Made a couple of extras.

            There was one that two chambers I could never get to whistle even though I changed the reed thickness and depth all over the place. So I cut it in half.
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            You can see the holes were super nice and parallel. The Two closest to the camera did not whistle, they were the deep ones and went through a knot but I don't think that was the cause of the failure - even a small leak I don't think could have caused it to not resonate.
            I'm thinking it must be the notches although I can't really tell much difference a couple were a hair deeper than the others. Still a mystery to me why it didn't work, but I must say I am proud of my deep drilling rig on the drill press (first 2-7/8 inches) (and completed by hand and a 12" drill bit! The holes are 2-7/8, 3-7/8, 4-7/8, and 5-7/8" and quite straight and parallel, I think. Just goes to show you start the hole straight with a drill press, you can deepen it very straight by hand. Raise your bit frequently to clear the flutes!

            You can get 12" brad point bits set of 7 to 1/2" dia. for about $20 from a number of sources on Amazon. I have had my set for many years. But most 1/2" bits are nearly 6 inches long, if you chuck as little as possible you can get 5.5" hole which is good enough. I just spaced the hole depths equally from 2-7/8" to 5-7/8" because the blank was 6.5" long.
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            Attached Files
            Last edited by LCHIEN; 12-10-2021, 12:18 AM.
            Loring in Katy, TX USA
            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
            BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

            Comment


            • LCHIEN
              LCHIEN commented
              Editing a comment
              You need about a 7" long piece of 2x2 or 2x4 ripped to a 1-7/16" square piece.

          • #8
            Well, I just might have to make a few. My daughter will probably shoot me.

            Looks great!
            Hank Lee

            Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

            Comment


            • #9
              Originally posted by leehljp View Post
              Well, I just might have to make a few. My daughter will probably shoot me.

              Looks great!
              I am assuming you are thinking Christmas gifts from Grandpa?

              Quite a few years ago, I refurbished an old set of bongos for my nephew. My brother in law is still POed at me. It was sort of the point...
              Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

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