turned cherry wood bowl

Turned Wooden Whistles In Cheerful Colors

I do a lot of craft shows and there are always children in tow without much for them to do but "don't touch that." So, at my table I like to give them something to do.

Up until now it has been turned wooden tops. In one of my recent shows I had a run on tops by nine year old boys. They wanted to spin all the tops to pick the best one. They would get down level with the table to see the tops as they spun to try to figure out what design features of the point worked the best.

The first two boys went off with their treasures and in a few minutes they sent another friend over to get his top. Then they would go out in the hall and have contests to see whose top was best. In a little while another friend would come up and purchase a top. Sometimes it was aesthetics rather than performance that was the deciding factor.

Now I have something more, thanks to Bonnie Klein. She is a well known wood turner and author of a book on how to make simple wooden projects, some of which are toys. She even designed a small lathe and markets it. What is unique about her work is her use of colors applied to the wood to make it look bright and cheerful. Children love colorful things. So I thank Bonnie and all the other woodworkers who have been so kind to document what they do and share that knowledge with others in the form of books, DVD's etc.

Children adore things that they can work themselves and tat are their size. Every child loves to make noise, and a wooden whistle just fills the bill. These have a soft rather than a shrill tone, something mothers will appreciate. Bonnie said this is a gift to a grand child that you give them when they are leaving. From my side, considering all the ways a child can make noise, this is one of the more pleasant ways. It may stimulate the child to want to make different tones and this, of course, leads to music.

Almost every kid as seen articles about how to make a whistle out of a hollow stemmed plant but, if they were like me, they could never figure it out completely. While the design is straight forward, there are some tricks to getting the thing to work. If the notch is too large or small or the gap in the plug is too small or too large it will not work. The laws of physics are remarkably precise. You have to fiddle with each one to get it to produce a sound. When you do get it right you are rewarded with that unmistakable sound.