Ways & How

How to Make a Penny Whistle

How to Make a Penny Whistle

Those who love playing flutes will surely love tinkering with the penny whistle, a kind of fipple flute invented in England during the 18th century. It is a type of wind instrument with a unique mouthpiece known as a fipple. Although penny whistles were traditionally made in the key of D, there are now f penny whistles in different keys. Making one in a different key can be done just by changing the size of the pipe and the holes in it. You can even play hymns using the penny whistle. The best thing about it is that you can make your own at home. Here are the steps on how to make a penny whistle:

  1. Prepare the following tools and materials:

    Electric drill

    Dowel rod measuring 9/16 inch



    Round file measuring less than 1/8 inch

    Flat file measuring less than 1/8 inch

    Drill bits with the following measurements: 3/16, 13/64, 15/64, and 17/64

    12 inches of copper, brass, or tin pipe

  2. Your penny whistle will have 7 holes, 1 window, and 6 fingering positions.

    You can start making it by getting your copper, brass, or pipe and outlining the holes in it. You can either write directly on the pipe, or you can also cover the pipe with tape and write on it.

  3. The window should be a small rectangle that has a height of 1/6 inch and a width of 1/3 inch. This should be drawn 7/8 inch away from the top of the pipe.

  4. As for the finger holes, start measuring their placements from the bottom of the pipe. The distance from the bottom should be 42.5 mm, 70.5 mm, 92.5 mm, 116.5 mm, 140.5 mm, and 153.5 mm. The diameter should also be as follows: 13/64, 15/64, 15/64, 3/16, 17/64, and 17/64 inch. Remember that it is very important to be accurate in placing the finger holes since this will affect the pitch of the pipe.

  5. Once you have marked the holes and the window, cut, or drill them away.

  6. Smooth out the edges of the holes and remove their metal burs by filing them using a round file. Use a flat file to smoothen the window.

  7. Cut an inch from the dowel rod since this will serve as the plug at the end of the pipe.

  8. Push the rod inside the pipe. To make the dowel rod smooth enough to slide inside, you need to sand it first. Do not attempt to hammer down the dowel rod, as this can disfigure the pipe or even damage it, thus destroying the sound of the pipe.

  9. Continue sanding the plug to flatten it, and open the air passage essential for the mouthpiece. You need to remove 3/32 inch from one of the plug’s round sides.

  10. Apply glue on the plug’s rounded faces, then push it until it reaches the end of the pipe. However, you have to make sure that the plug does not cover the window.

  11. To create a mouthpiece, cut both the plug and the pipe, with the angle of the mouthpiece approximately cut to 45 degrees. Continue sanding the edges.

  12. Create a lip by pushing down the pipe’s face right below the window. Make sure that the lip’s upper edge is in line with the air passage in the mouthpiece. Always check the position and the angle of the lip.

  13. You can now try blowing through your penny whistle.

If you want to have a pretty unique wind instrument, you should learn how to make a penny whistle. It is a musical instrument that you can carry anywhere you go.


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