Toot, Toot, Tootorial #3: How to make a whistle on a router table

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Blog entry by Mary Anne posted 06-09-2010 08:48 PM 7922 reads 59 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: How to make a whistle on a lathe Part 3 of Toot, Toot, Tootorial series no next part

Sorry about the delay in posting this tutorial of the series. I ran into some technical difficulties… which is another way of saying I sometimes have the attention span of a gnat and messed things up the first time around.

Speaking of messing things up, I’ve injured my knee and have to stay off my feet for a few days. I am only on day two and already going crazy. All in all, it looks a good time for going on with this toot toot tootorial series. —————————————————————————————————————————————————-


This is actually a very simple whistle to make… a couple of passes on your router table, a couple of cuts on your table saw, some sanding and gluing, and that is all there is to it. These things are so easy, we’re going to make two at a time!

Please use safe shop practices and have fun!

Start with a 3/4” board about 5” or 6” long by at least 4” wide.
The fancy-schmancy new Incra stuff is not required. I’ve made dozens of these whistle on a cheap bench top router table I purchased over 30 years ago.


Set up a 1/4” straight bit in your router table, raise it up to route a 1/16” groove.
You could use a larger bit, but I wouldn’t go much deeper than 1/16”.

Stand your board on edge, and center your bit.


Set up a stop on the left so your groove will end about 1/2” from the end of your board.
Route with the grain.


It should look like this after your first pass:

~ Flip the board over and make a pass on the other side to make two whistles at once.


Raise your bit to cut 1/4” deep this time.
Don’t move your fence; you’ll be cutting in the same groove.


Now set up a stop on the right of your bit so that your next pass will start “in” about an inch from the end.
Start with your piece of wood butted up to the right hand stop, ease it down on to the spinning bit, and route all the way across until you come to your left hand stop.


It should come out looking like this:
(note that you have still have about an inch of your 1/16” groove remaining)

~Don’t forget to flip your board over and make the same groove for your second whistle!


Cut your whistle blanks off of each side – make them about 3/4” thick (or whatever the width of your original board) so they will be square.


Next, cut two 1/8” strips off the edge of your remaining block of wood. Be careful! These strips will become the tops of the whistles. You can also cut the strips from a contrasting wood or a lamination (examples at the end of this tutorial).


Cut a 1” piece off the end of each of your 1/8” strips so you end up with two 1/8” thick strips (1 long and 1 short) for each whistle.


Sand one end of the remaining longer piece of your strip to about a 30º or slightly less angle. Don’t go too steep or it won’t work.
Oops, I didn’t get a photo of that, but you can see it in the final photos below if you need to.

Glue and clamp the 1” piece on the end of your whistle with the shallow groove. This will be the mouthpiece. It is more important that it line up exactly where the groove changes depth than on the end of the whistle – you can always trim. Leave a 1/4” space and glue the angled end of your longer piece of 1/8” stock. You may want to trim the end to length first. I usually just get it with the chop saw after the glue dries. Make sure you use enough glue to get a solid seal the length of the whistle, but not so much that the squeeze out will go into your grooves.


While your glue is drying is a good time to reward yourself with a piece of that lemon pie you made earlier.
Oops, you didn’t make a pie? That’s okay, I ate two pieces! ;)

Trim off the any extra lengths of your 1/8” strip, use some sand paper to shape the mouth piece and round off the edges. And there you go… it is a whistle!

Some variations to try:

Make two or more grooves, of different lengths, side by side to make a double train whistle sound.
(example: bottom whistle in the photo is an example of this)

Use laminations or inlays.

Use plain pine and let kids decorate them with paints or markers

Try different sizes

Use contrasting woods

Use your imagination!!

Here is one last variation that I tried—a four holer:

Have fun and please share with the kids in your life! I look forward to seeing your creations.

As I requested with my last whistle tutorial, I hope you will consider donating some whistles to kids who could use something positive in their lives. Check out your local charities, shelters, paramedics, social workers… any place where there are kids in need. Thanks!

Questions and comments welcome, of course.

Next tutorial up will be a Penny Whistle!

38 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5502 days

#1 posted 06-09-2010 08:52 PM

Thanks, Mary Anne. The whistle looks good, but all I can think about now is the pie.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4399 days

#2 posted 06-09-2010 09:00 PM

don´t let us wait so long another time Mary Anne :—)
it looks like a great blog
I have to read it first


Edit : another great toturial from you and very well dukomented with pictures
thank´s for taking you time to do it (already favorited it)

understandeble why you eat two pieces of that pie
it looks very tasty I´m droooling now…lol

hope you recover fast Mary Anne we can´t have you go nuts
we prefure you as normal as a L J can be if thats possiple….....LOL

Take care ToooT – ToooT


View a1Jim's profile


118296 posts in 4861 days

#3 posted 06-09-2010 09:07 PM

Mary Anne
you don’t seem the type of to blow your own whistle or are you since you make your own.
All kidding a side a great blog.


View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5166 days

#4 posted 06-09-2010 09:07 PM



-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View michelletwo's profile


2795 posts in 4299 days

#5 posted 06-09-2010 09:10 PM

nice tutorial..thanks for sharing your process…I told you if you kept kicking ass, you’d throw your knee out! Jeepers!!!

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 4975 days

#6 posted 06-09-2010 09:10 PM

Mary Anne do you supply the Lemon pie with all your whistles if so can i buy one from you

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View degoose's profile


7285 posts in 4638 days

#7 posted 06-09-2010 09:27 PM

Now you have taught me something new.. and I thank You…

-- Be safe.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4320 days

#8 posted 06-09-2010 10:38 PM

Thank you Mary Anne. I can’t turn but at last I can toot!

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 4579 days

#9 posted 06-09-2010 11:07 PM

That looks like the perfect piece of pie.
Can you do a blog on it ? LOL
Love your tootorials they are fun and informative.
The whistles are on my long list of must do’s : )


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 4492 days

#10 posted 06-10-2010 12:12 AM

I could do a blog of easy recipes you can prepare while waiting for glue to dry. LOL

I’ll have to incorporate LJ projects of course.
Think of the possibilities!!

Veggies to cut up on that cutting board you made, served up in the salad bowls you carved.

Cookies made with the rolling pin you turned, served up on the platter you made with your router.

A goblet of wine poured from a bottle balancer.

And a spoon to stir that bean recipe for those who don’t want to make whistles, but still want to toot!

View Phil53's profile


90 posts in 4906 days

#11 posted 06-10-2010 12:29 AM

You shouldn’t throw the curves in there with the pie, I almost lost track of what you was talking about.
The wistle looks good I’m going to have to try that.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4996 days

#12 posted 06-10-2010 12:51 AM

...cooked on the stove using offcuts for firewood!

I really like the blog on this whistle. I have two kidlets that would love these, and being in the EMS world I could probably find a use for a bunch of these there… a great idea!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View tdv's profile


1203 posts in 4354 days

#13 posted 06-10-2010 01:45 AM

Does the pie whistle too? thanks for the tutorial but you forgot the recipe
God bless

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View MrsN's profile


988 posts in 4810 days

#14 posted 06-10-2010 01:54 AM

Awesome!! I love the tootorial. I hadn’t thought of using a router to make a wistle. Great idea!!!!

View OttoH's profile


891 posts in 4294 days

#15 posted 06-10-2010 02:15 AM

Mary Anne, I don’t know if you are a toot, a hoot, or a bit of both, but I love your blogs and your projects! Keep them coming.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

showing 1 through 15 of 38 comments

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