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How to Carve a Willow Whistle

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

whistle

Make a variable-pitch whistle that you can use to signal, play a tune or just show off your carving skills.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Pocketknife
  • Small piece of willow branch, 3 to 5 inches long, about the diameter of your little finger

WHAT YOU’LL DO

whistle-1

1. Cut a 45-degree bevel on one end of the stick. This will be the mouthpiece of the whistle. Just forward of the bevel and on top of the whistle, cut a notch with a 90-degree edge close to the bevel and angle off the top. This will be used for airflow. Cut the bark around the stick at the desired length of your whistle.

whistle-2

2. Tap the whistle with the handle of your knife to loosen the bark from the wood. After tapping all sides of the whistle, twist the bark loose. Keep at it until the bark eventually comes off, but be careful: The bark must remain in one piece.

whistle-3

3. Take the stick and cut off the beveled part flush with the 90-degree cut of the air hole. Cut a small sliver off the top of the beveled part of the stick. This will make the hole needed to allow air to go into the whistle. This part of the stick will then become part of the mouthpiece. Insert this mouthpiece part into the angled end of the bark piece.

4. Put the remaining part of the stick back into the other end of the bark, and the whistle is complete. Blow into the whistle and slide the stick up and down in the bark. This will give you the range of your whistle tones.

whistle-final


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12 Comments on How to Carve a Willow Whistle

  1. darkshadyperson // November 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm // Reply

    slipping the bark off is hard

    • plantsciencemomma // October 7, 2014 at 9:46 am // Reply

      To slip the bark off, do it in the spring, the cambium will be more slippery as the “sap is running”

  2. Should I make one?

  3. ok I didn’t do it yet

  4. To loosen the bark, you can both tap it and roll it on a railing, pressing pretty hard.

  5. my name is elmo // August 5, 2013 at 1:57 am // Reply

    how do u do this it is so confusing

  6. dragonryder // July 31, 2013 at 9:15 am // Reply

    THIS IS REALY COOL

  7. does It need to be a live branch.

  8. I screwed up when I tried. How are you supposed to cut the branch with a pocketknife?

  9. Can you use an oak tree branch?

  10. Awesome! im gonna try this now!

    I have a willow tree in my back yard =)

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