How to Make a Conch Shell Horn
If you visit the Caribbean, you might wonder if a tornado is imminent as mournful wails pierce the tranquil sunset. In fact, it's a tradition to herald the end of the day by blowing a conch shell horn. With a few simple tools and a large amount of elbow grease, you can make your own conch shell horn -- and enjoy a little of the Caribbean even when you can't fly off for a sun and sand getaway.
Things You'll Need
- Dish soap
- Drill with small dill bits
- Medium grit sandpaper
Choose the shell of a large conch, at least 7 inches in length or greater for the best sound quality. Several conch species make suitable horns, but the anatomy of cassis cornuta yields a hearty noise.
Wash the shell in warm, sudsy water. When all traces of the original inhabitant are gone, soak the shell in a 10 to 1 solution of water to bleach overnight to sanitize the shell.
Saw off the pointed tip of the shell with a hacksaw. You must create a dime-sized hole, but no specific sawing depth yields this perfect hole every time. Err on the lesser side, as you cannot replace that which you remove.
Open up the passage beneath the hole with a drill. You must drill through the spiral structure enough to allow air passage but not so much that you remove all air restriction.
Use a file and coarse sandpaper to create a thin lip on the end of the shell. This is the mouthpiece of the horn, so make it smooth enough to feel pleasant on the lips.
Block the conch extraction hole with epoxy. This step is necessary only in commercially cleaned conchs. Find this hole in the fourth ridge from the tip of the shell. Alternatively, you can block this hole with your finger.
- Wear proper eye gear when using saws and drills.
- How to Make a Conch Shell Horn; Malcolm Smith