Make Your Own Whistle




About: Working my dream job in the Telecom industry, so chances are, i'll never have time to respond to comments or messages, nothing personal.

How to make your own whistle. With this instructable we can free America from it's dependence on foreign made whistles.

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Step 1: Get Wood

Got wood? Great!

I used a "pen blank", that's a 3/4 x 3/4 x 5 inch piece of wood. Woodcraft sells a five pound grab bag for $13, so I have plenty of wood.

In addition to the wood, you'll need a 5/16th drill bit and a 5/16th hardwood dowel.

You can start by drilling a 5/16ths hole down the center of your piece of wood. How deep? Less deep than the wood, or if you need exact numbers, the hole should be x-1 inches deep, where x is the length of your piece of wood. Use a drill press and a vice, if you choose to freehand it, please clamp the wood in something, you don't want splinters do you?

Step 2: The Window and Lip

Did you know the parts of a whistle have names? I didn't, but I learned some. So in this step, we'll be making the window and the lip, one is the consequence of the other, so let's just make the window.

Start by using a razor saw to make a transverse cut approx one inch from the drilled end. Cut down as squarely as possible. Stop when the blade of the saw extends approx 1/8th of an inch into the hole.

Now using a chisel (mine are muy dull), cut towards the slot you just cut, making about a thirty degree incline, make the cut as smooth as possible. Stop when the you have sliced into the bore hole about an 1/8th of an inch.

Step 3: Fipple and Windway

If you blow into your whistle now, nothing happens, we need to create a windway that guides the air over the lip, this is called a fipple. The fipple is made from a piece of 5/16th hardwood dowel about one and a half inches long. Using your chisel, slice a flat onto the top of the fipple, now slide it into the hole with the windway on the same side as the window and lip, insert the fipple until the interior end is just inline with the window.

Now what you've been waiting for, blow your whistle, sound okay? Great, if not, back out the fipple, or push it in a little farther, still bad? make another fipple, try two or three, see which sounds best. A pair of vise grips makes adjustment easy.

Once you are happy, change nothing! Use some thin super glue and wick it in around the fipple, don't get it in the wind way.

Step 4: Make It Pretty

If you want, you can stop at the previous step, just trim down the fipple flush and you have an ugly whistle. But I chose to try turning my whistle.

A confession, I didn't use my drill press lathe, I had such a good time using it, that after careful accounting and discussions with the wife, I went to Woodcraft and bought a Jet mini lathe. I just have to give up beer for a year.

So without further ado

I chucked the whistle into my lathe, using a scrap block to prevent the tailstock from pushing the fipple out of place.

Step 5: Shaping

Next I roughed it to round and shaped the mouth piece

Step 6: Finally

I rounded the end, and added a groove for a lanyard.

A little sanding and a buffed on coat of lacquer and it's ready to slip into my pocket.

Hope you enjoyed it!!!


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    83 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Thanks, made a few out of found pieces of Pacific madrone. Not pretty but quite simple to make with minimal tools (since I was on vacation).


    1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing !


    1 year ago on Introduction

    This is a great info. I made one it worked out on the third try.


    5 years ago

    I made these two today. The small one was the first test from a piece of scrap wood, the bigger one is made of green wood from our backyard.

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    I like the way emrude thinks. BTW I shall be creating whistles to

    free Canada from it's dependence on American made whistles. No trade with the enemy!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Was the big one dry or fresh? wouldn't it have cracked around the dowel as it dried and shrunk? And how did you make that curve in the mouthpiece?


    1 year ago on Step 6

    Well done. Your wife may not know it, but the money just starts to leave your wallet when you buy the lathe(great lathe, by the way. I've had mine for 20 years.) Now, break to your wife that now you need, bench grinder, more chisels, pretty wood... and the list goes on!

    Please go buy your wife a case of beer,(or wine) and let it sink in. Let's see; bandsaw, air filter for shop, vacuum chuck, special wood-- oh, heck-- just teach her to turn and she'll start bringing you your beer while you sweep the shop and she makes great things on her lathe.

    Thanks for write up.


    2 years ago

    Would it work to diagonally drill the window instead of cutting it with the chisel? It's just my chisel isn't sharp and most of the time I make it crooked with a knife.

    Also, I made one but it only whistles when you blow it hard. Is that what happens to everyone else?

    If I want a deep sound, where should I position the notch? Or does that depend on how long the whistle chamber is?

    Could anybody tell me why it has to be blocked up at the end? Because I'm trying to base it of the mouthpiece of a recorder or tin whistle, and that whistles without being blocked. Thanks.


    3 years ago

    Any wood in particular? I guess a hardwood would work better but correct me if I'm wrong


    5 years ago on Step 6

    Nice whistle. How big can you make one of these whistles ? I assume the longer you make it the deeper the note but do you also have to make the hole bigger ? is there a rule of thumb between length and diameter of the hole ?


    11 years ago on Step 6

    Very cool. I would have appreciated a brief "what to do" for those of us who don't have a lathe but would like to have something other than a rectangle for a whistle. As for me, I think I would maybe chamfer the corners with my chisel (and then maybe chamfer again), and then go over it with a rasp. Never done it, so I don't know how it'd work, but I think that's what I'd do. Nice one, though!

    7 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 6

    I hear you. I had the same problem. But the beauty of it is that you shap the wood however you want. I'm making a couple of these for my niece and nephew for xmas and i don't have a lathe but it's not to difficult to roughly round out the blank and carve something into it. I think it would look very cool.

    thepeltonCharles IV

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I have made whistles in wood with a round hole, and a piece of dowel for the mouthpiece that is sanded so that it lets a little air in by a hole that looks about like a crescent moon or fingernail clipping.

    Tool Using Animaloffseid

    Reply 11 years ago on Step 6

    Chamfering the corners and then again (4-8-16-32) until round would work fine, I'd not do it with a chisel, a block plane or shurform tool would be a safer choice.