elder whistle

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elder whistle

Postby robin wood » Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:09 am

I just copied this tutorial from Jon R at www.bushcraftuk.com though people here would be interested. He is a talented young chap and his website with lots more tutorials is worth a look.

15 More tutorials just like this one at www.jonsbushcraft.com

In this Tutorial I used fresh Elder wood that was still green. It is best to use dry dead wood, otherwise the wood may shrink and cause the whistle to stop working. The construction of the whistle is exactly the same if you use dry wood which I recommend.

We are taking advantage of elder wood because it has a very soft pith which can be easily removed to create a hollow tube.
To help you with your tree identification I have taken these photos of some [IMG]Elder so that you know what you are looking for. The picture on the left shows typical thinner branches and leaves whereas the picture on the right shows the thicker trunk of the tree. Elder usually grows only a few meters tall and tends to grow in poor quality soil.

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Cut a small branch that is already the correct width. You can see how thick this piece is in comparison to my fingers.

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It is important that the wood has a large pith in the centre because this will make plenty of room for the sound chamber, however you will want the layer of wood to be thick enough so that it is not fragile. A shoot of wood about 2 years old is usually good.

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Cut a section from your wood about a finger long.

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Scrape the bark off if you like.

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Push the pith out and scrape the inner walls with a small stick until totally free of pith.

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http://www.bushcraft.ridgeonnet.com/IMG_2238_small.jpg[/IMG]

About 2cm in from the end you need to cut a notch in the whistle, a few cuts at 90 degrees and then some more at 45 degrees. The pictures explain it all...

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Now you need to make a small piece of wood to fit into the mouth end of the whistle. Carve a stick down to the correct diameter to fit the inside of the whistle. Test how well it fits by pushing it into the end of the whistle.

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To create the air passage carve a flat face on the side of the dowel.

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Cut the small piece of dowel to the correct length. (as long as from the mouth end of the whistle to the vertical cut of the notch)
The dowel should be a tight fit and will need no glue if it fits snugly.

Fit the dowel so that when you blow through the small gap the air runs level with the notch.

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Once you have fitted the dowel in the end you could carve the mouth end to a better shape if you like.

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You can see how the air passage is created by the flat side on the dowel.
At this point you can test the whistle to see if you get a sound. Put your finger over the other end to block it, then blow the whistle. You should get a nice clear sound.

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If you get sound you can block up the other end of the whistle with another piece of wood. Do the same as before but don't carve the side flat. No air should be able to pass through this end.
You get a higher pitched sound if you make the sound chamber smaller.

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Your whistle is complete. You could add a loop of cordage so that it can be put onto a key ring if you like...

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15 More tutorials just like this one at www.jonsbushcraft.com
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Postby paul atkin » Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:46 pm

great stuff robin, thanks, am going around the hedgerows tomorrow, on the look out.
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Cuckoo whistle

Postby Robin Fawcett » Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:39 pm

If you drill a small hole - say 3-4mm - into the resonant chamber you make it into a two-tone whistle. It should sound like a cuckoo's call.

Perhaps you can confuse the real thing soon?:twisted:
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Postby Fuzzy » Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:53 am

Excellent site, lots of easy stuff and nice for beginning. Thanks!
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Postby robin wood » Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:32 am

Thanks for the feedback, I enjoyed it too. Robin you know a lot about whistles I thought the image of the notch looked a bit furry on the edge and thought this was a critical bit to get a good sound is that right? When I make whistles sometimes they are a bit wheezy and windy rather than whistley what are the most likely causes?

Did anyone look at Jon's birch tar tutorial? this was the standard glue of the stone age and it looks easy to make.
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Furry whistles

Postby Robin Fawcett » Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:04 am

That part is called the windcutter - if you want to get technical. You can get away with a certain amount of furriness here but obviously the sharper the better. One way to do this is to push the piece of dowel that is going to be the fipple right into the hole and then shave the ramp into this - so it doesn't just have air underneath it. With the elder whistles this furriness may be caused by the pith not being completely removed. I make mainly hazel whistles and drill an 8mm hole - then look down the hole and make the vertical cut into the part that looks least furry.

I think the reason some whistles sound a bit wheezy is because the windcutter is too large and deep and too much wood has been cut off the fipple making too large a windway.

Don't forget there are quite a few variable factors involved here so my advice is not to glue in the fipple until you are sure the whistle works. After making hundreds of whistles I now have a very low reject rate.
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Postby Mark Allery » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:14 pm

Yes I have looked at the Birch Tar tutorial. I must say that this is an excellent site and the tutorials are really very well presented. Thanks for pointing me towards this site.

It looks to me as if it will work very well and it seems quite simple but I imagine that you need to really pack in as much bark as possible to make a decent amount of tar.

I am just a little envious, because I find it hard to make the time available to try all these things and then struggle to become proficient - let alone to present it so well! I hope that I get the opportunity to try the tar out before too long,

cheers

Mark
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Re: Furry whistles

Postby robin wood » Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:44 am

Robin Fawcett wrote:That part is called the windcutter - if you want to get technical. You can get away with a certain amount of furriness here but obviously the sharper the better. One way to do this is to push the piece of dowel that is going to be the fipple right into the hole and then shave the ramp into this - so it doesn't just have air underneath it. With the elder whistles this furriness may be caused by the pith not being completely removed. I make mainly hazel whistles and drill an 8mm hole - then look down the hole and make the vertical cut into the part that looks least furry.

I think the reason some whistles sound a bit wheezy is because the windcutter is too large and deep and too much wood has been cut off the fipple making too large a windway.

Don't forget there are quite a few variable factors involved here so my advice is not to glue in the fipple until you are sure the whistle works. After making hundreds of whistles I now have a very low reject rate.


Great just the info we needed there I knew you would come up with the goods and what fantastic names.
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