Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Black High Whistle Development

I have been wanting to make some high whistles in black, but try as I may, I could not find a source of suitable pipe in America. I found one possible source a couple years ago, but they just sold the last of their black stock and were not ordering more. A few months ago I found a source for 1/2" PVC in black, but the smallest they had was schedule 40, so I made some alto whistles in black. (Which you can see on my web site at
Recently I found a web site that will make "any size, any color" PVC shapes. OK, this should be it. And it would be, if I wanted to purchase 20,000 feet of the stuff. Yes, you did the math right - almost four miles. I'd have to put it in my will.

Quite a while ago, I did a swap with a "web pen-pal" Jem, a wooden flute player, restorer and pvc piccolo maker in Wales, UK.Jem sent me a few lengths of the pipe to experiment with. It would make a nice whistle. But I couldn't find anything like it over here, and I didn't feel right asking Jem to get involved, as I didn't want to put the burden of a regular commitment on him.

One of my dealers, Phil Brown at Big Whistle Music in the UK, called a couple weeks ago and while we chatted he mentioned that he thought he could sell more of my whistles in black than white in Europe.

"Maybe the white color doesn't cross the Atlantic well" he suggested.

"No, I think people would like a black whistle here too" I replied, "But I can't find the stuff over here."
I told Phil about the pipe from Jem, which is sold as electrical conduit in the UK. I had the brand, size and everything, and they sold it all through Europe and Asia from the looks of the web site, but nothing in North America.  
So began Phil's quest for the pipe, and after only a single day I see the following in an e-mail from Phil: "I found where I can get it, but they have to order it in special. If I waited a day to place the order, it would come in a week later. So I placed the order before speaking with you. They only sell it in ninety meter lots. I hope that's OK, because it's too late if not."

HA! My man Phill seems as excited about this project as I am.

Suspecting it might make an interesting tale to follow in real time, I plan to report on the progress as the material arrives, comes across the Atlantic and is turned into the first batch of black Parks high whistles. So as milestones are reached I'll post some photos and reports to this blog.

From what I can tell having played around with a short section of the material I got from Jem, the whistle will sound enough different from the white Every that I don't want to use the same name. Plus the material will be more costly with the shipping over etc. so it will be a different price. So it will need a new name. The first name to come to mind is "Ninja", because of the blackness. Not sure that's Celtic enough.


Here's Phill taking delivery of the first ninety meters. 
(Click on image to enlarge)

Another shot of what ninety meters of 17 mm conduit looks like. 
That should keep me busy for a while. 

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