Picture of How To Make A Wooden Ocarina
   Hello everyone, I know I haven't made an instructable for a very long time but I'm back and I would like to share my newest project with you. Since the beginning of high school I have made about 10 ceramic ocarinas and 3 wooden ocarinas but now that I have graduated, I have decided to finally make an instructable on how to make one of these awesomely haunting instruments. This project will be perfect for anyone struggling to find a project for shop class because not only will they have every tool they will need at their disposal, but they will also be able to obtain the materials much more easily.

    Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take photos for a couple of steps so I will try to recreate and explain them the best that I can.

Step 1: Tools And Materials

Picture of Tools And Materials
   For this project, you will need a few tools. You will need a:
- power drill
- drill bit set
- jigsaw
- disk and belt sander
- wood carving gouge
- mitre saw
- dremel
- wood glue
- chromatic tuner
   When it comes to making an ocarina, or any instrument, the range will always be important. The size is a major part of determining the range of your ocarina. Generally, the smaller, the higher in pitch, and the larger, the lower in pitch so when it comes to making your own ocarina, personal preference can mean different measurements. I will use the measurements to my ocarina which I believe is classified as a tenor(G3-C5). You will need:
- two 2 x 4 x 12 pieces of oak which will be used for the top and bottom of the ocarina
- one 1/2 x 6 piece of red oak which will be used for the lining between the top and bottom and between the body and mouthpiece
- two 1/2 x 4 x 4 squares to be used as the top and bottom plates of the mouthpiece, they should be the same type of wood as the body, not the middle lining.
- one 2 x 4 x 3 1/2 of white pine which will serve as the middle lining of the mouthpiece 
- Sweet Almond Oil

To get the 2 x 4 and 1/2 x 4 x 4 pieces oak, I cut them out of a stock of oak my teacher gave me. I have provided a diagram of how the stock was divided into the different pieces. Also, the measurements provided on the list are nominal while the measurements on the diagram are actual.

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LachlanC11 month ago

him confused on how to make the mouth piece can you please help

buildingupbob (author)  LachlanC11 month ago
Of course I can :) what did you need help with?
brycelee4 months ago

Do you know why you used the measurements that you used? I need to be able to calculate frequencies for physics.

buildingupbob (author)  brycelee4 months ago
Honestly, there's no special reason for using the measurements I used besides determining the key that ocarina was in which even then, it was pure coincidence. All I know is bigger means lower and smaller means higher. I just put the measurements I used as a reference for everyone. I'm sorry if I didn't really answer your question :/ I don't know much about calculating frequencies and stuff. Anyways good luck! :)
sabre11367 months ago

Before I put the two halves of the body together so I can mount the mouthpiece, do you think I should apply a sealant to the inside hollowed chamber? Ideally it would help preserve the instrument but I wasn't sure if it'd bother the resonating any so I figured it'd be best to ask around before I did it.

buildingupbob (author)  sabre11367 months ago
Hello! I think that's a great idea and no I don't think that it would affect the sound at all provided its just a thin coat.
Superdude48009 months ago

Hey, do you know of any tools I could use instead of a gouge? I accidentally lost the only one in the woodshop.

Nevermind. My dad bought the gouge so that I could use it. I'm planning to finish it over the weekend. Thanks for the how-to!

buildingupbob (author)  Superdude48008 months ago
Hello! I'm so sorry I didn't reply sooner I haven't been on instructables in a while but I'm glad you got a gouge and good luck with finishing it I wish you the best! :)

hey umm if the ocarina doesnt make any sounds what does that mean and how do i fix it? i mean ik i set up the mouthpiece correctly and the main body except a few tiny leaky areas... also how should i fill them in?

also if its the holes i used the smallest drill piece available and went up a couple sizes but im afraid to go any bigger... also do i just make one hole bigger at a time? i think i failed at making it but if i cant get it to work ill just buy a real one and keep the one i made for decoration but i want to at least try to get it to work...

buildingupbob (author)  Superdude48008 months ago
Hi! To answer your first question I wouldn't let any leaks anywhere because it wouldn't make a sound which made me worry a lot too but you can always fill them in with wood putty and to answer your second question I worked one hole at a time. I made sure to cover the holes that weren't being used and see if they were hitting the right note. You just have to be really patient. The wait was killing me too lol but it turned out fine so don't worry :)

Lol its ok if I fail at making it work. I'll just buy a real ocarina and keep the one I made for decoration. Also umm I filled all the leaks but it still wont make any sound. Btw is it possible to glue the mouthpiece on "backwards?"

Oh, wait I already told you the first part of that...

buildingupbob (author)  Superdude48008 months ago
Oh :o maybe you made the holes a bit too big. I remember the first wooden ocarina I had made wouldn't make a sound past the 3rd note because the holes were too big. It depends on the size of the ocarina. Do you have a photo I could see that way I can help you out better.

Thamks so much I got a great grade on it!!!!

gonna dig up some exotic woods for this

Is there another way to hollow out the two sides of the main body of the ocarina? Because i don't have the proper tool.

The only other thing I've tried to hollow it out with is a dremel with a sanding bit but it seemed to take forever. There might be another way but to my knowlege I don't know of one sorry:/ If it helps, I know that hobby lobby sells some chisels for around 5 dollars for a small set and 9 dollars for a bigger set. I've never tried them but I don't see why they would work differently from any other set. Hope I helped :)

try a burr, it's like a router bit, but ball shaped. there's some that are almost smooth, good for metal, nearly useless for wood.

I am going to paint it blue...ZELDA RULES!!!!

I'm a tad bit confused on how you made the mouth piece, (fipple, airway, etc.) I'm new to woodworking and your diagrams are a bit confusing. could you give me measurments the are at least approximents to what you used to create it? beautiful Ocarina, btw. Love love love the colors (:

buildingupbob (author)  liftupthefallen1 year ago
Thank you :) I'd be more than happy to but could you tell me what measurements you needed exactly
lborges61 year ago
Dear Gladiator Bob wanted to know what would be the measure you used.
and could you explain me this part .

" - Two 2 x 4 x 12 pieces of oak wood that will be used for the top and bottom of the ocarina
- A 1/2 x 6 piece of red oak which will be used for the coating between the top and bottom and between the body and the nozzle
- Two 1/2 x 4 x 4 squares to be used as top plates and bottom nozzle, which must be the same type of wood as the body, and not the liner means.
- A 2 x 4 x 3 1/2 white pine, which will serve as the medium nozzle liner - Sweet Almond Oil For the 2 x 4 and 1/ 2 x 4 x 4 pieces of oak, I cut them out a stock oak my teacher gave me . I have provided a diagram of how the stock was divided into different parts . Furthermore, the measurements given in the list are nominal, while in the diagram are actual measurements . "

because I was confused on what would be the order of steps, which are: width, thickness, and length.
buildingupbob (author)  lborges61 year ago

Hello, I am extremely sorry for answering you so late but I made a little diagram of what belongs where to kind of help out and I'm sorry but I don't know what you mean by the meaure I used. Do you mean the dimensions of the ocarina as a whole or just the individual pieces?

Does the mouthpiece/fipple have to be connected to the body before it can produce sound or should it be able to create a tone on its own? I've attempted to make the fipple numerous times and have not managed to get sound out of it, but have not tried it connected with the rest of the ocarina. Any tips?
buildingupbob (author)  CrazyJoe3211 year ago
No, as far as I know it shouldn't be able to make any noise by itself. It has to be attached to the body first. I'm sorry I took forever to reply I've been a bit busy but good luck :)
Arremer2 years ago
How does it sound?
buildingupbob (author)  Arremer2 years ago
I'll try making a sound sample so you can hear it. I'll try uploading it today.
GTAtomten2 years ago
Great instructable and beatiful Ocarina. It'd be fun making one, but I got lost in the mouthpiece section. I'll probably buy one to begin with.
buildingupbob (author)  GTAtomten2 years ago
Thanks, if you want I can redo the mouthpiece part a bit, just tell me what it is and ill fix it.
You shouldn't have to do that, I'd guess it's more my stupidity than your writing that does it.
buildingupbob (author)  GTAtomten2 years ago
Lol don't say that, I'll see if I can make a replica and I'll try to post it up sometime soon :)
If you say so. I'll be keeping an eye out. :)
I thing you will win
buildingupbob (author)  Icecreamismine2 years ago
Lol thanks, keeping my fingers crossed
Tangski2 years ago
Don't worry about using a woodcarving chizel. Just make sure it is a GOOD one, and very sharp, that way carving is much easier to master when using one. It takes to the wood like a hot knife to butter then. Glad you used a good water based exterior water proof glue, saves it from falling apart!LOL. Good to know about the layers too.. I thought so, but was just making sure. It will be nice to see some internal clarification on the mouth piece, and the angle of the air split ramp...usually I think they are about a 45 degree angle, but on this instrument it could be more or less, and of course must line up with the airflow mouth chamber. Oh, after you glue the spacer wood onto one side of the sound chamber, you can (should) finish it also on the inside. When you do, you get an even better sound in any internal chamber of an instrument as then the air is allowed to 'flow' without bucking into rough edges. Use your dremel drum sander to round off the edges and then hand sand the inside of both halves. This little extra detail will give you an even better sounding voice chamber. Try it and see the difference. If you only leave a flute in rough cut, if effects the sounds vibrations dramatically. So, smooth out the insides as much as possible, and finish it just as you would do the top outside! I would show you a picture of my flute process with this, so if you want to email me to see what I mean, this is my addy down below. Keep making instruments. Try all kinds! The world needs music for healing. And it certainly needs LOTS these days...not to mention man as well! The sound vibrations have healing abilities, or so science has finally caught up with and proved that cells will increase their healing properties when someone is listening to 'good' positive tones. Like who knew, eh!?LOL You never know where your creative hands will take you, so never give up, and keep exploring possibilities. Wood has an energy that keeps living on, even after you cut down the tree. So giving the tree a 'voice' is one of the best ways to keep the energy going, and going and going. It has also been recorded that tree energy can be photographed from objects well over 3000 years old....so, you tell me. Many artists who create with wood, including a great master of furnature arts who was Japanese, credited trees with having a 'divine' energy, which is why he wanted to only create and make them into lasting gems. His work is around to this day, and his daughter now carries on the tradition in wood. Cool, eh? When we think of all the different wood instruments out there, it is really no surprise. Becoming a master maker for musical instruments is a great gift. Even the simple instruments can spread joy!
Cheers Tangski
buildingupbob (author)  Tangski2 years ago
Thank you for the valuable advice and I see what you mean, I made sure to sand the inside of the Ocarina with a very fine sandpaper. I'll be sure to try it out the chisel if I ever get a chance to make another Ocarina :)
OMG!!! I've been looking for something like this for FOREVER!!! Thank you SO much, this is really gonna help!
Lol your welcome I'm glad I could help :)
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