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Need a new horn whistle! (Broke my old one)

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Howdy all ~


I'm really peeved at myself because last week I broke my beautiful buffalo horn whistle. I bent over a dog crate, hooked it on the wire, straightened up and - *ping!* :(


However, Amy Copeman told me that Ray probably won't be making any more, on account of the cost of materials is going up while the quality of the horn material is iffy.


So ... is there anyone else in the US making horn whistles? I have a Corian one - and brass, and silver, and tin - but the horn one was my favorite.


Help? Anybody?


~ Gloria

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Pete is interested in making horn whistles. But we need an idea on how to?


He has been making buttons.


We sure gotta alot-o-horn.

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Just a few points...


Firstly, I'm still making whistles out of Corian, and Corian makes a very nice whistle which is unaffected by heat or moisture (which does affect the horn btw)). I've personally been using Corian for the last several years and many top handlers are among my faithful customers. I was the first person in the world to use Corian to make shepherd's whistles. I researched this because of some complaints I heard from folks complaining about the taste of some of the horn whistles when they were new. Corian caught on quickly, and as of a couple years ago there are many more colors available (including solid black like the horn).


Buffalo horn, being a natural material, naturally comes with flaws. I've been tossing out 25%-30% of the horn that is shipped to me because it's not suitable for whistles, at least it's not good enough for me. What's even more frustrating is to work a piece into a whistle and have a flaw uncovered in the process. This forces me to throw the piece away wasting not only money but the time I just spent on that piece. I got some horn to satisfy a pent-up demand last Christmas season and it was the same story... not being able to use some of it and having to waste time on hidden flaws. I simply won't send out a whistle with marginal qualities which is one of the reasons I'm still making whistles.


IMO horn from sheep/rams is not suitable for whistles. It's not as dense as buffalo horn, and it soaks up with saliva with use and becomes soft. The leaves will then compress closer together and the whistle will eventually become unusable. Sheep's horn does have a nice translucent honey color though :) It looks great, but its weaknesses are discovered with use. Water buffalo horn is dense enough to withstand being in the mouth for sometime without deteriorating, but even it will require some maintenance (like regular cleaning and occasional treatment with an oil or some kind of "replenisher") that some folks are unwilling to do and consider a nuisance. Much of the sheep's horn is hollow which means that most horns won't have enough material to make whistles from. I've also tried other kinds of horn none of which is as good as buffalo horn for whistles. Over the years I have, in fact, done a fair bit of investigation on this, and there are reasons for using what I use (and reasons for not using what I don't use).


And Gloria, a couple reasons why my personal whistles last so long is that I keep it in my shirt when I'm not actually using it to work my dog. I also recommend holding the whistle with your lips and not your teeth and keeping it clean for optimum performance. Good luck.



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Hi Ray ~


I hope my inquiry did not sound like any sort of complaint, certainly not against you or your workmanship. If so, I deeply apologize!


I'm simply kicking myself for breaking the horn whistle I had - one of yours, which Morgen Magnuson bought for me when she placed an order a year or so ago - and your lady wife subsequently informed me (via Facebook) of your difficulties with the horn material. So, I'd hoped to find someone else in the US who made horn whistles to replace the one I foolishly broke, but evidently the answer is No


I have one of your very fine Corian whistles, which I bought from a seller at Sonoma this spring. I can't remember who she was, but I'm certain it's one of yours, and I like it very much. I loved the horn one, too, and as you say, I should have kept it in my shirt. 99% of the time I did ... except the one time when I didn't.


Anyhow, I will certainly come to you again, when I want another whistle, as the quality of your work is unquestioned, at least by me. Again, I apologize if my inquiry sounded in any way like a complaint. It's not. It was just hopeful thinking.




Gloria Atwater

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No, Gloria, your message did not sound like a complaint to me, there's no need to apologize. I merely took the opportunity to explain how I've come to my most recent position. I also added some hopefully helpful info for Tea and her friend, Pete, if he should decide to start making whistles. I learned everything I know about making whistles the hard way, and I thought I might save someone some time and trouble. The tip I offered to you about keeping the whistle in your shirt is not only for the whistle's longevity but for your own personal safety. The whistle is attached to a lanyard which is tied around your neck. If you leave that swinging in the wind you never know what might come along someday and grab it.


Of course with me being human my position on whistle making is subject to change without notice and at the slightest whim :) ,but this is how I feel about it now. Again, good luck.



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