Wooden Whistles: How To Make Them
Wooden whisrles are easy and fun to make. Impress your children with your knowledge of making fun items from what nature provides by making them a slip bark whistle.
To a child, and many adults, even the most remote item can spark their imagination into a mirade of situations. A walk in the woods has them inspecting pine cones, flowers, rocks and branches with images of what could be made from them. Everything becomes a toy to a child or an item of fun and beauty to an adult. The next time you take your children for a walk in the woods, impress them with your knowledge of making fun items from what nature provides by making them a slip bark whistle. Even adults will be entertained by this simple musical instrument.
To make a slip bark whistle you will need to find a striped maple or willow tree. The best time to find a tree that has all the right conditions to make your whistle is in the Spring. Cut a smooth, unblemished branch from the tree that is approximately 3/4 inch thick. From this you will need to cut out a straight section that is 7 inches long. The narrowest part of the branch piece will be the mouth piece for the whistle.
Begin by peeling a 1/8 inch wide ring of bark from the center of the branch piece and completely remove it. Next you need to loosen and remove the bark around the narrower half of the branch. You can do this by tapping the entire bark area with a pocket knife handle and then gently twisting the bark until it will slide of the end. Be careful not to tear the bark because you will next replace it on the branch piece. Grip it firmly to keep it in place and shape the mouth piece of your whistle by making an upward curving cut on the underside of the narrow end. Cut a small wedge shaped piece at the top of your whistle about one inch from the narrow end. Be sure when you cut to sever this wedge through the bark and slightly into the branch wood.
Slide the loosened bark piece off the branch again. Be careful not to damage it because it will be an important part of your whistle. Then whittle out the wood from the base of the wedge to about 1 1\2 inch of the handle. The handle is the part of the branch that still has intact bark. Continue to whittle until you have gone about half way through the branch and then slice a thin flat sliver from the front of the wedge to the outer edge of the mouth piece. Dip the core of your whistle in water to give it lubrication. Then carefully replace the bark back on the whistle. Be sure the bark is in it's exact original position. Test the whistle to make sure it works. If it does not, remove the bark again and cut a second sliver from the front of the wedge to the mouth piece and again replace the bark. It is very important that you shave small bits of wood in the mouth piece area. If you cut too much or too little the whistle will most likely not work. You may have to practice a time or two to get your cuts just right. But the end result will be a delightful whistle that will be the envy of all your childrens friends. Besides, nature has provided you with a free supply of materials to work with in this case. You may find yourself enjoying this simple toy so much that you will want to share it with your friends too!