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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2019 11:30 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 04, 2019 2:47 pm
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Location: Kansas City
Hi, all; this is my first post here, and I hope I'm posting in the right place.

I've made several wooden whistles, but about half of them are "stuck" and won't whistle. Either I'm making the window too long or the windway too short or something. When I blow into it I only hear air - no whistle noises. Sometimes I can manage a wheezing whistle sound if I blow hard enough. I've made several that do work, and quite well, but I haven't figured out what to do to get the others working.

Here's my process:
Get a block of wood about 6" long and use the drill press to drill at 3/4" bore 5" long into it (I want a hole for a lanyard at the far end).
Then I drill a hole where the window goes, which gives me about 1" for the mouthpiece.
Next I carve the window, usually I try to make the window as wide as the windway will be. And I put a 45 degree angle for the labium (lip).
Then I use a dowel rod for the fipple, cutting it flat on the top, trying different thicknesses to get it to whistle.

Now, if I stop there, it works nearly all the time. But where I go wrong is when I make extra holes (like on a flute) to give other notes. These holes often ruin the whistle. I've made two out of 6 that work with the extra holes.

I'm thinking that I don't have enough thickness above the bore and maybe the thickness of the labium is too thin?

I've been following the directions and tips at Low Tech Whistle, for the most part (except he makes all his from pvc).

Anyone got some tips for me? I'll try and posts some pictures soon.


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 7:02 am 
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It sounds like you're making short, wide-bore whistles with one closed end, in which case you can't expect finger holes for other notes to behave the same as on a longer, standard-bore whistle with open foot.

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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 8:11 am 
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Location: Southwestern Ontario
With the closed end, what you are making is more like a vessel flute than a pennywhistle. For a pennywhistle to work, the air has to blow (at least in part) across the outside of the window. Your construction has all the air blowing across the inside of the window, except that with the closed body the air has nowhere to go but out the window, so the jet is directed to the outside and can set up an oscillation. As soon as you drill another hole in the body, the air has somewhere else to go: the jet rushes past the inside of the window and out the open hole, without any need to set up an oscillation. Your construction has the top of the windway lined up with the bottom (inside) of the labium. You might have a better chance at making a note if the design has the bottom of the windway lined up just inside the bottom of the labium, as with Guido Gonzato's whistles.

You're dealing with a very small vessel, so you'll be getting high pitched notes. I think you'll want to make the finger holes quite small.


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 10:23 am 
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Joined: Sat May 04, 2019 2:47 pm
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Location: Kansas City
Those notions make sense. The whistles are closed ended.

Would leaving the end open work for short whistles with finger-holes?
I did succeed in making one 6-inch whistle, close-ended with three finger holes! I just can't seem to do it a second time, which is what I'm after. Yes, they do tend to be high-pitched.

I'll try leaving the end open, but I don't think it's going to help; I've experimented with that with these short whistles but it doesn't usually help and I end up having to plug the end-hole anyway.

[later]
Okay, I tried leaving the end open, but that never seems to work at all. I don't think you can leave the end open unless the shaft is long enough. And all of mine are short shafts because I don't have any way to drill longer ones.

I also tried using a separate little flat piece as the labium so that it can extend downward into the shaft to meet the air at the *bottom* of the windway - like an extended labium, but this does not work at all. I'm not sure how to make the labium lower than it is. I've tried carving the windway higher within the mouthpiece, but this never works either. I know - photos would help; I have to get some of those.

[later]
@Tunborough - I was thinking about what you said about making the windway meeting with the labium... I'm experimenting with carving the fipple like a ramp so the air will rush upward toward the labium instead of rushing straight into the pipe. I'm also going to experiment with the angle of the labium with relation to the ramping fipple.


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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2019 6:48 am 
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No matter what you do, I don't think you can make a usable whistle with a 3/4" bore and short tube. You can't change physics. Keep at it though and let us know how you do.

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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2019 10:53 pm 
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Location: Kansas City
I've done it, and quite successfully. As soon as I get home I'll post some photos. I've used 1/2", 3/8" and 5/8" bores, with shafts from 3 to 4 inches long. I've made a few with 3 finger holes with 5" shafts. The real trick is to angle the fipple to direct the air against the labium. Even the slightest difference in angle has great effect. After about 14 whistle attemps, my last four have nice clear, non-wheezy sounds that increase in volume as you increase the amount of air. I'd like to make longer ones with more finger holes, but I haven't figured out how to drill longer bores. Maybe I'll have to buy some extra long drill bits.


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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 11:51 am 
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This is a dog whistle!
I’m currently making a set of tunable ‘dog whistles’ for a customer and these are very much in the style of a Swannee whistle, closed ended with a moveable core to change the pitch. These will be in the octave 6 range and will give chromatic notes from A through to D

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