How to make a willow flute

How to make a willow flute

In this article we will guide you through the steps to make your own willow flute. It is recommended to make the willow flute in the spring when the sap in the willow tree is at its highest. This usually happens between April and June, depending on the climate and weather conditions in your area. At this time, the willow tree will be in the growth phase, and there will be a lot of sap in the tree. This makes the wood softer and easier to work with when making the flute. It is also important to choose the right wood to make the willow flute. Therefore, make sure to choose a healthy willow tree with straight branches and a branch with the right diameter to suit the size of the flute you want to make.

  1. Find a branch that is at least 20 cm long and up to 1.5 cm wide. You can choose to make a willow flute from willow or roe. The twig should be straight and without twigs, to prevent the bark sleeve from cracking when it has to be pryed off. If the bark sleeve cracks, the whistle does not make a sound and you have to start over.
  2. Make sure that the end of the willow flute is slanted so that you can use it as a mouthpiece. In the video above you can see that the mouthpiece was made in what we cut from the branch.
  3. Start by making an incision 5-7 cm up the branch. Here you have to cut all the way around.
  4. Make a deeper cut 3-5 mm down the flute a few centimeters above the mouthpiece and cut out a crescent. The crescent notch becomes the sound hole on the flute.
  5. Tap the bark all the way around the flute so that it comes loose from the wood. It is common to knock to a rule. There are often different local rules and maybe your grandfather has one that he used when he was young? Here are two examples borrowed from

    Whistle rule from Asker

    Tick tock tick tock< /em>
    will you go 
    will you get meat and cabbage 
    in the king's farm
    and two shillings afterwards

    Whistle rule from
     Arne Juksemage
    Do you want to go
    do you want to go
    will you get
    don't you go em>
    until evening
    I'll throw you on the fire!

  6. Pull off the bark, being careful not to crack the bark. Here it can be smart to pry a little sideways before pulling off the bark.
  7. Once you have removed the bark, you can widen the half-moon notch so that you form a blowing channel. At the same time cut off a few mm of the wood closest to the nozzle.
  8. Put the bark back on the whistle and blow, then you will hear the sound of the whistle. If you don't hear the sound, you can either blow harder or cut a little more of the wood closest to the mouthpiece.

Good luck!

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