Sunday, June 14, 2009

Making a trombone whistle

I just uploaded a new video on my YouTube site on how I make a trombone whistle. I've been teaching the kids in woodshop class how to make a regular whistle for many years and when we've been on those three or four hundred mile canoe trips it's been the slip bark whistle. Either way a whistle is one of the most popular projects that kids want to learn how to make so I decided to take the whistle to the next level.

One day I finally found the time to explore my idea for a trombone like whistle where I could slide a rod, like those on a real trombone horn, thus being able to control the tones in the sound. I couldn't find any information on how to do it in books or on the internet so I was solely on my own. It took a bit of trial and error but I finally came up with something that works quite well.

This is a neat little woodshop project that only requires a drill press and a few simple hand tools and can be assembled in one afternoon but your wood limbs will need to be well seasoned and bone dry before assembling. I always have a good stash of seasoned red maple limbs and twigs on hand that I gather then bundle up with wire and hang them from the ceiling of my shop for several months until dry. I suppose that other types of wood will work but so far I've only used red maple.

Have some fun with it and as always, never ever compromise safety rules when using your power tools or carving knives!


  1. Hey Dave! Thanks for signing in to my blog. I did not know you had this site up and running. It's a very well designed site, and full of fun stuff.

  2. I enjoyed the article in "Woodcarving Illustrated", great work with the kids.
    I was interested in the slip bark whistle and now the trombone whistle looks similar. I never made one so was wondering if you had some more detailed instructions? You speak of using springtime sap wood, I'm not sure why that makes a difference other than it may be easier to get the center out. Anyway, thanks for the article and any info you have that might be useful.