Chiff and Fipple Forums

Using a Dremel for making thumbholes?
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Author:  LimuHead [ Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Using a Dremel for making thumbholes?

Hi all! Long time member here that has been gone for several years but back lurking the last couple of months. I've been busy playing Hawaiian music I mostly play solo uke & sing now.

I have several whistles that I want to add thumbholes to and have a Dremel that should be able to handle it.

Before I jump into drilling I'd like to hear from people who've done it already. I did do a search but all that came up was arguments for/against having thumbholes. I like my whistles that have them and want to turn some of my whistles that don't have any usable (reasonably in tune) cross-fingered C
naturals into instruments I'll actually play.

Do you have any tips that may help the process go easier?

What size drill bit should I start out with?

What type of file should I use?

Would one of the Dremel attachments work better?

Thank you for any help!

Aldon Sanders

Author:  O'Brien [ Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Using a Dremel for making thumbholes?

Are they metal or wood?

If wood, you should use a drill press and a bit with brad points. A regular bit will not drill a curved wooden surface cleanly.

If metal, you should also use a drill press and mark the hole location with a punch. Then start with a small bit and gradually open up the hole, using increasingly larger bits.

I wouldn't recommend a Dremel.

Use a small jeweler's file with a curved surface to tidy up the holes.

Author:  Tommy [ Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Using a Dremel for making thumbholes?

If you use a dremel or drill find some material that is the same as the whistle to practice on. For cleaning small holes I like to use small diamond files. Diamond files will cut in either direction. Great for removing wood fibers from the bottom of a wood hole that sometimes leaves fibers hanging inside. A C&F member (Judy K) use to make nice whistles from delrin using only a dremel tool.

Author:  LimuHead [ Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Using a Dremel for making thumbholes?

Thank you for the tips & suggestions!

I expiremented with tape on some the C# holes of some of the worst in tune whistles and the difference in playability of the cross-fingered C naturals improved dramatically!

So I may hold off on drilling for now.

To Mr. Obrien: I'm enjoying playing the chromatic whistle!


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