An old saying is “To do the job right, you need the right tools.” I had almost none of the tools to make whistles when I started out. So I started with a metalworking lathe:
My old one gave up the ghost; this one is brand-new. You can see a bench grinder behind it — I use this to sharpen tools and occasionally to face off reamers. The table is also new — I made it from 8020, extruded aluminum channel stock. It’s topped with finished plywood. In front of it you can see a magnetic tool holder. I dunno what I did without those. Now I mostly make the metal fittings on this lathe; occasionally I true up a piece that’s warped after roughing or something.
The metalworking lathe is not optimized for making whistles. A few years ago I got a woodworking lathe:
This is set up for drilling, but you can see the gouges and scrapers on the tool holder and the tool rest just front-left of the drill bit. This is a setup for drilling the pilot hole; the final hole is drilled using a gun drill.
A couple of years ago I bit the bullet and decided to begin making all my metal fittings. The curve of the mouthpiece is roughed out with a milling machine, and the curve in the wood is cut with a scroll saw:
The mill is set up for drilling — the wooden parts on the bed are my guides for drilling tone holes — I center everything up on the bottom hole and then insert gauge blocks to position the rest.
You can also see some boxwood under the table. I cut this from logs I bought in about 2007. Pieces still occasionally warp after I’ve roughturned them.
Finally what keeps me sane during my hours in the shop:
This is an all-weather boom box. The first one I had in the shop didn’t last long because the guts became clogged with sawdust.