How to Whittle a Whistle From a Stick

By David Sandoval

When many people hear the term “whittling,” one of the first things that may come to mind is a grandfather sitting in his rocking chair carving away at a stick or switch. To a serious woodworker – and, quite often, a hobbyist – whittling is a means of woodcarving that uses a knife as the primary means of shaping wood. When used in conjunction with other forms of woodworking, someone who whittles is able to create objects ranging from complex pieces of art to things with practical value (such as a whistle made from a stick).

List of Items Needed

  • Sharp knife
  • Wood stick, 3/4-inch diameter and 4 inches long
  • Drill with 5/16-inch bit
  • Wood dowel, 5/16-inch diameter and 2 inches long
  • Wood glue
  • Handheld rotary tool with sandpaper accessory (optional)
  1. Use the knife to carve any rough edges off the ends of the stick. Carve the ends until both are rounded in a way that resembles the tip of a wood broom handle. If the ends are already rounded, proceed to the next step.

  2. Use the knife to carve a small notch in the center of one of the rounded ends of the stick. This notch will serve as the pilot hole for the drill bit.

  3. Drill into the stick lengthwise through the pilot hole until you have created a 3-inch tunnel in the stick. Take care not to drill through the stick completely.

  4. Use the knife to whittle the dowel so that the top half of the dowel is flat. Use the unsharpened part of the knife blade to smooth the flat top of the dowel so that there are no rough edges protruding from the dowel.

  5. Carve a V-shaped notch approximately halfway down the stick, with one of the notch edges parallel to the mouthpiece. Carve the notch so that the bottom of the “V” is approximately halfway down the tunnel inside the whistle. Carve the remaining part of the notch so that the notch makes an angle of approximately 45 degrees. Smooth out any rough edges by rubbing the unsharpened part of the knife blade across the notch, or you may use a handheld rotary tool with a sanding accessory to sand off any rough edges if you do not have enough space to maneuver the knife edge.

  6. Place the dowel, flat top upward, into the drilled hole in the stick. Blow into the whistle mouthpiece. If the whistle does not make any sounds or is barely audible, adjust the dowel by moving it in or out and blow again. Note the dowel placement once you have attained the desired whistle sound.

  7. Remove the dowel and spread a few drops of wood glue on the rounded bottom of the dowel. Carefully reinsert the dowel to its previous position and wait for the glue to dry.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear protective eye gear when operating power tools.

© Demand Media 2011