Make Your Own Conch Horn

In addition to getting some much needed rest and relaxation, I had time over the break to pursue a project I’ve wanted to do for some time – make my own conch horn!  These primitive but fascinating instruments can be purchased online, but with the right tools can be easily constructed at home.  Basically all that is needed is some sort of tool to safely remove the tip located at the larger end of the shell.  Once removed, a small cavity inside the opening needs to be created to function as a mouthpiece.  It is also necessary to make sure the inner and outer surfaces of this opening are as smooth as possible – otherwise you risk cutting your lips on any sharp edges.  I owe a big thanks to my Dad on this project, as he had the perfect tool for this job, as well as the know-how to execute the necessary cutting and sanding.  Since conch shells come in a wide variety of sizes, there aren’t really any hard and fast rules for cutting the appropriately-sized mouthpiece.  My advice would be to make the opening as close to the size and shape of your own horn mouthpiece – we used a dime to approximate the correct inner diameter.  In addition to the Dremel tool linked above, I also recommend using several different grits of sandpaper ranging from coarse to fine to get the mouthpiece nice and smooth.  You’ll probably only be able to get a few notes on your horn, but you can alter the pitch by using your hand. The sound of these instruments is actually quite nice, and they make great conversation pieces for your studio or office.  See the pictures below for some up-close views of my conch-horn, as well as a short video clip of me demonstrating it.  The video was shot with a digital camera, so I apologize for the microphone quality. If you are interested in making your own conch horn and have any questions about the process, feel free to contact me.

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