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 Post subject: Hobbyist whistle maker
PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:33 pm 
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Hi I'm new here and interested in making penny whistles. I don't play myself, but my wife and several friends do. I scrolled through the whistle makers directory sticky and it looks like those are all resources for buying whistles. Are there any resources about making them? Particularly wooden ones, since I have my own wood shop.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:34 pm 
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An article in FineWoodworking, Fall ┬┤77, pgs 80-81, got me started down this primrose path :D . Your local library, or possibly inter-library loan. Search for ┬┤Flageolet┬┤.

Bob

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The Beginner's mind has endless possibilities.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 6:44 pm 
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A choice of some of my whistle/flute-making bookmarks.

https://sites.google.com/site/guidogonzato/ggwhistles
https://www.aswltd.com/tuning.htm
https://github.com/edwardkort/WWIDesigner/wiki
https://www.theflutemaker.com/tutorials.php
https://www.yamaha.com/en/musical_instr ... sm002.html
http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/modern.html
https://skiphealy.com/index.php/de/unte ... l-the-bore
http://iotic.com/flutomat/
https://www.shapesbyhydro.com/en/materi ... m-designs/
http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/index.html#Top%20of%20list
http://www.oldflutes.com/19C-play.htm
https://www.olwellflutes.com/blog
https://www.irishflutestore.com/product ... folk-flute
http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/heads.html
https://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/rockstro/
http://www.oldflutes.com/
https://archive.org/details/storyofflut ... 1/mode/2up
http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/McGee-Flutes-Care.htm
https://woodenflute.com/building
http://www.acoustics.ed.ac.uk/wp-conten ... h_2009.pdf
http://www.lazarsearlymusic.com/Wenner- ... flutes.htm


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:50 pm 
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That's an impressive list of links, and the first one is the best place to start.

There are a few other whistle calculators available, including https://sourceforge.net/projects/twjcalc/ by Phill van Leersum, and https://www.music.bracker.uk/Music/Whistle-Calculator.html from Hans Bracker based on Pete Kosel's Flutomat. They are easier to use than WIDesigner (Sedi's third link), but only look at the first octave, not both octaves.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:29 pm 
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I mostly used this one, but unfortunately it is no longer online:
https://people.adams.edu/~rjastalos/Flu ... tomat.html

Nowadays I use an Android app called "DIY flute". It works pretty great but the overall length it calculates always seems to be off. The distances of the holes from the bottom are correct however. So what I do is, I first cut the tube a little longer, then build the mouthpiece (or drill the embouchure when making a flute) and then tune the 2nd octave D (or whatever key the whistle/flute is in) by cutting little pieces off the end of the tube until it is in tune (this I do in the living room where it is warm, the workshop is too cold and the whistle/flute would be out of tune). Then I mark the holes and drill them. Works like a charm. Always better to tune the 2nd octave. The rest is trial & error.
edit: I never managed to find out how WIDesigner works btw :oops: .


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 6:56 pm 
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If you have some wood working chops but haven't made any wind instruments, "The Amateur Wind Instrument Maker" by Trevor Robinson (University of Massachusetts Press) could be really useful. It's what got me started.

Does your wood shop include a lathe? I use a Delta Midi lathe (1/2 hp motor, 18inch bed) that I bought back in the mid-90's for about 600$. Looks like you can buy similar things from Harbor Tools nowadays for around 300$.

Good luck!

Al Cramer


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:55 am 
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Wow, thanks for all the replies, I'm excited for all the stuff I get to test out.

@alcramer I do have a pretty substantial Craftsman variable speed lathe, it's part of the reason I want to learn to make wooden whistles.

@sedi I'm excited to check out the Android app, and I've already learned a good bit from going through all those links.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:01 pm 
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If you've got a lathe and chucks and chistles, I expect you're good to go!

Re timber: if you're in USA, hard maple (aka rock maple or sugar maple) is really abundant and cheap. You can buy 1" X 1" X 12" turning square from Bell Forest Products for 1.25$ a stick. To make the final product I suspect you'll want a harder tropical wood, but hard maple is great for experimenting with bores, tone hole placements, wind channels etc.

Al


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:41 pm 
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Sedi wrote:
I never managed to find out how WIDesigner works btw :oops: .
Sorry about that. Did you get as far as starting up the application, or did you not even get that far?

Edward Kort is hoping to run an interactive seminar on WIDesigner at some point. It would focus on the NAF model, but would at least help whistle and flute modellers get started. Would you be interested?
GKmaker wrote:
I do have a pretty substantial Craftsman variable speed lathe, it's part of the reason I want to learn to make wooden whistles.
If you're hoping to use that lathe to ream anything more than a straight cylindrical internal bore, you'll be needing WIDesigner. When it comes to tuning applications for non-cylindrical bores, I think it's the only player on the field.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:15 pm 
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I did get it to run and I can open one of the models. But when I click on any of the items on the left, like "Hole Size Optimizer" or "Taper Optimizer", etc. nothing happens.
I'd like to calculate a stepped tube for example, take a thicker-walled tube for the body of a flute, because that way I can make the holes smaller and closer together, and then add a head with a more thin-walled tube to get a "fatter" sound. But I have no clue on how to do that with that program.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:35 pm 
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Sedi wrote:
I did get it to run and I can open one of the models. But when I click on any of the items on the left, like "Hole Size Optimizer" or "Taper Optimizer", etc. nothing happens.
I'd like to calculate a stepped tube for example, take a thicker-walled tube for the body of a flute, because that way I can make the holes smaller and closer together, and then add a head with a more thin-walled tube to get a "fatter" sound. But I have no clue on how to do that with that program.
Once you've opened an instrument file and a tuning file, and selected an optimizer, you then use the Tool menu to run tools. In particular, Tool-->Optimize instrument will launch the selected optimizer on the instrument and tuning. There are also buttons in the toolbar for each of the tools, but you may find some of the icons cryptic.

To model a stepped tube, you'll need to change the bore profile for the instrument, adding bore points at the beginning and end of every section of the bore that has a uniform taper. A step would be modelled as a very short segment (like 0.1 mm) with different bore diameters at the top and bottom. I can give examples if it would help. The instrument samples for the Reed Study include a three-stage didgeridoo made of three sizes of cylindrical tubing.

WIDesigner doesn't need to know the tube thickness explicitly, but it does show up in the tonehole depths, and the window depth.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:01 pm 
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Thanks for the advice. I might give it another try then. At the moment I am pretty happy with my latest flute design however :D . Worked out nicely. But I might try a new design at some point. Always fine-tuning things.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:24 pm 
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alcramer wrote:
If you've got a lathe and chucks and chistles, I expect you're good to go!

Re timber: if you're in USA, hard maple (aka rock maple or sugar maple) is really abundant and cheap. You can buy 1" X 1" X 12" turning square from Bell Forest Products for 1.25$ a stick. To make the final product I suspect you'll want a harder tropical wood, but hard maple is great for experimenting with bores, tone hole placements, wind channels etc.

Al



I actually had a big branch of sugar maple come down at work last week, so I took a few sections home to mill up and dry just for experimenting on! Glad to know my instincts served me well :D


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