Spoon carving from a Bushcraft perspective with Jon Mac...
I am a spoon carver who lives and works on Dartmoor in Devon.
I carve spoons and Kuksa from green wood, using the three principal bushcraft tools. The knife, Axe and hook knife. I find spoon carving gives me a greater understanding of these tools as I can demonstrate a precision of craft in the finished spoon. I have developed my own spoon carving knife 'The MaChris' which is made by 'Chris Grant' a fantastically talented bladesmith.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

A Simple Wooden Whistle...




The first thing I need to find is a suitable piece of stick, preferably seasoned, but in this case I used a green stick. The problem with using green wood is the fluff that's left in the chamber when you drill it out. I'm sure that I can sort out the problem with a piece of hot wire later.

wooden whistle+jon mac+spoon carving


wooden whistle+spoon carving+jon mac

I carefully drilled out the chamber with an 8mm bit and followed it up with a 10mm. The diameter and length of the chamber dictates the pitch of the whistle...

wooden whistle+jon mac+spoon carving+first steps

Once I've finished drilling out the stick I need to measure with my finger where to place the Window and Lip...

wooden whistle+spoon carving+firststeps+jon mac

About a thumbs width from the drilled end will suffice...

spoon carving first steps+wooden whistle+jon mac

I start with a cut straight down...

jon mac+spoon carving+wooden whistle+firststeps


first steps+spoon carving+jon mac

And then a cut on the diagonal to meet it...

jon mac+spoon carving+first steps+wooden whistle


first steps wooden whistle

I keep going until I reach this point...

first steps wooden whistle

Now....Any amount of blowing at this point will only produce a red face. So I need to make the Fipple...
Don't laugh....That's what it's called.....
I quartered a short piece of stick and started whittling a dowel with a flat edge...

first steps+wooden+whistle+carving

Here I am with work in progress...

first steps+spoon carving


first steps+spoon carving+wooden whistle

I keep trying it for size as I go...

first steps wooden whistle jon mac


hennock+first steps


hennock+firststeps


What I needed was an interference fit, somewhere between staying put and splitting the whistle was fine...
Push the Fipple in until it nearly reaches the window...
At this point I gave the whistle a few blasts just to check it was all hunky dory....

hennock+first steps

I used the flame of a lighter to singe away the furry bits....Next time I will use a seasoned stick...

hennock+first steps

When I was happy with the whole arrangement I cut of the tail end of the Fipple...
Now...The Fipple may stay put, but just to be on the safe side I would recommend making up some glue. Easily done with some Bear grease, pine resin and charcoal.
Now...In Devon we've got plenty of Manglewurzles but we're a bit short on Bears, so I would advise nipping off to the ironmongers and purchasing a wood glue of your choice, remembering that you will have to put the glued end in your mouth...

hennock+first steps

And there we are...One perfectly formed wooden whistle...

hennock+spoon carving


hennock+spoon carving+first steps

Well...Perfectly formed after a bit of carving anyway...

first steps+hennock+spoon carving

The International Mountain Distress Signal is 6 rapid signals (by whistle, torch, shout, etc.) repeated at one minute intervals until you are located.


Just in case my old mates come looking...
ENJOY...