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Make a Whistle

How to make a Whistle

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Make a silver whistle

Making a whistle is somewhat esoteric but still an interesting and challenging project. It all started with a commission from a captain of a racing yacht. He had lost his whistle and he wanted me to make one that served 2 purposes. Foremost as whistle and secondary as jewelry in the shape of a cross which he could wear all the time. . When competing in yacht racing he used the whistle to get the attention of his crew team because the sounds of wind and sea drown out his voice.  

A year or so goes by, and one day I wake up and I realize that I can't actually remember, how I had made the captains whistle. Luckily I had, in my research, made four or five test samples, firstly out of copper tubing and then out of silver, and I still had these attempts in my silver box of experiments. That is why I made this tutorial on how to make a whistle in silver. 

This free tutorial follows the same format as all my other free and premium tutorials. This gives you a good insight into the technical teaching methodology.

Make whiste from silver sheet

We start with a piece of flat, annealed silver, the size shown. I rolled this down to .8mm thick, but I am sure other thicknesses will be good too, like 1mm or 1.2mm.

Make whistle starting with a tube

I make tubing by bending it round and soldering it up into a tube that has a diameter of 11mm on the inside. One can, of course, buy the right diameter tubing, but what I do is to cut the plate so that it will, when bent roughly round, form a 10-10.5 mm inside diameter. I solder it up and then I tap an 11mm ball punch through the tubing. A bit more of taping and bingo I have a perfectly round piece of tubing. ( my ball punches diameter are the same as the shaft diameter, a very handy thing)

Make whistle saw tube

Then I saw the tube about a third of the way up. The first picture shows the whistle to be 60mm long. In actual fact it turned out to be 50mm long. The reason is that the longer the front of the whistle is the lower the pitch. And the shorter, the higher the pitch. 

Make whistle cut lips out

The front section of the whistle is cut out as shown. The depth of the cut is 5.5mm. The thickness of the 'posts' is 5mm. Those measurement are not finite. There is, within reason quite some leeway. 

Make whistle pierce circle out of plate

Now comes the critical part. This plate is .5mm thick. I pierce it out carefully.

Make whistle fit circle plate snugly

Then I file the lips just so that the plate fits very snugly into the bottom section.

Make whistle solder recessed plate in

Then I solder in the plate so that it is a millimeter or so recessed from the top. Also, I have run a .7mm barrel bur so that the plate and the inner walls have an equal gap. This is all rough still. I will take sandpaper strips and smooth the .7mm gap out and use bristle brushes and brush finish the inside later.

Make whistle test sound now

At this stage I can hold the two pieces together and make the thing whistle. It's a bit finicky, but at least I know it will work.

Wistle make mouthpiece

Now I need to make the mouth piece. I roughly shape a 'washer' of silver.

make whistle mouthpiece fit

Which is filed to about the same diameter as the whistle section. It is about 9mm wide, but in retrospect I could have made it 11mm wide. It would fit my teeth and lips better when blowing the whistle

Whisltle file mouthpiece and circle

Then I file it with a 6mm rattail file ( a round file that is not tapered) and make a circle of silver. The wire is 2mm thick.

Make whistle solder circle

This circle I solder on just so that the bottom part of the whistle will fit in snugly. This looks good and hides the joint.

For whistle make washer

Then I make a flat washer 2mm thick and solder that onto the other side of the mouth piece.

Make whistle solder washer on mouthpiece

Like this.

Make whistle solder mouthpiece to tube

Here I am about to solder the two components together

Three sections of a whistle

These are the three sections of the body of the whistle.

Make whistle solder bottom

Mouth piece soldered on.

Whistle experimental amethyst setting

Experimental part doesn't alway deliver desired result. Instead of just putting a nice gold cap on the end of the whistle, why not put a amethyst there instead. Bad idea. The whistle simply ceased to whistle. I assume the pavilion of the stone upset the air flow. Back to the tried and tested.

Solder cap on whistle

I soldered a gold cap on instead.. The two grooves are there to accept the bail of the whistle

Make whistle align plates and solder

When the whistle is soldered together, it is essential that the posts and the whistle plate align. The whistle will not work if they are at 90 degrees to the posts.

Make whistle all sections soldered

Here the whistle is soldered together, ready to be finished off.

Make whistle measurements and dimensions

Measurements and dimentions of the whistle. 

Make whistle with a designer twist

The commissioned project designing the whistle into a jewelry piece.

Often custom orders have very specific symbolism build into their creation which needs careful planning and consideration to achieve the desired result. The function of the whistle was not compromised by adding the external decorative arms (tubes). 

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