Wood train whistle. Toot it up!

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Blog entry by Stevinmarin posted 12-07-2012 08:57 PM 28736 reads 30 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s how to make a 4-toned train whistle made using a 2×4. These make great stocking-stuffers or gifts. Kids love them.

This is a good project to make if you have limited tools. All of my sawing could easily be accomplished with a hand saw.

To get started, here is a PDF with the measurements I used

-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers.

24 comments so far

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

726 posts in 3559 days

#1 posted 12-07-2012 09:36 PM

That’s a hoot !

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10923 posts in 4831 days

#2 posted 12-07-2012 09:36 PM

It’s good to see you “Tooting your own Horn”!

Thank you very much!

I have one like that… have had it for YEARS… every time I look at it, I think to myself,
“I’m going to have see if I can make one of those… for kicks.”... but, never do it!

I can see now, thanks to you, that I would have had trouble… those dowel pieces inserted & glued are NOT visible from the outside world… it would have driven me absolutely NUTS!

So, thank you for saving my sanity!

I shall make some of these for Christmas / New Years gifts!

Thanks again! Great project!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 3244 days

#3 posted 12-07-2012 09:40 PM

I had better not make one for my 2 year old, he will drive the dog NUTS!

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View AJswoodshop's profile


1057 posts in 3055 days

#4 posted 12-07-2012 09:49 PM

Man! Those are COOL! Maybe you play with those in your end of the year video! Bring your noisemakers too!

View jbschutz's profile


598 posts in 3470 days

#5 posted 12-07-2012 10:23 PM

Great video, Steve…..well presented and explained. I made a few of these about a year ago, and they are amazing. I decorated the outsides with India ink drawings of train and paddlewheel boat images.

-- jbschutz

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24806 posts in 3884 days

#6 posted 12-08-2012 01:55 AM

Neat instruction on making the whistles! Thanks, Steve

ps. I’ll bet a 4×4 would have a very DEEEEEP sound!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30552 posts in 3116 days

#7 posted 12-08-2012 04:17 AM

You’re awesome as always

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View rance's profile


4273 posts in 3939 days

#8 posted 12-08-2012 04:56 AM

Another neat project Steve. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us all. You are our hero.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


19251 posts in 4454 days

#9 posted 12-08-2012 05:09 AM

Toot! Toot! What a hoot ;-) Another great video! Where do you come up with these ideas?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3635 days

#10 posted 12-08-2012 11:03 AM

Steve that was good

You sure can cheer me up,


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3969 days

#11 posted 12-08-2012 03:11 PM

” All aboard the wood working train!” Why did that crack you up so much??? It was the perfect intro:)

Very cool project!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 3614 days

#12 posted 12-08-2012 04:25 PM

I think I’ll make one of those for my nephew to use at his grandparents house, they’ll love it.

-- A posse ad esse

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3782 days

#13 posted 12-08-2012 04:30 PM

Another amazing user friendly project, thanks

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4355 days

#14 posted 12-08-2012 04:39 PM

View harriw's profile


129 posts in 2986 days

#15 posted 12-10-2012 12:37 AM

Hey Steve! Very nice! I’ve been working on a pair of train whistles for my son and nephew for Christmas, and was about to head out and put some finish on them when I realized I hadn’t seen this week’s video yet… Imagine my surprise when I see this week’s video is about… Train Whistles!!! :)

My bench-top drill press isn’t tall enough to drill into the blanks I was using though (and I don’t trust my skills to keep the holes straight anyway), so I made square “tubes” on the router table instead (Got the idea from here: I think you probably get better sound quality with the round holes, but I found that by routing a square channel the whole way through the blank and then using square plugs to block off the “tubes”, I could easily tweak the pitch of each tube by adjusting the position of the plugs. This allows you to get a perfect train-whistle chord (I did some quick research, and it looks like most train whistles use a 1, 3, 5, 6 chord). Since you need the “tubes” open to make them on the router, they’re fully accessible before you glue the cover over the tubes, which allows you to easily move the plugs around.

Here’s what mine look like (the one in back still needs to be sanded – sorry). Pretty much the same way Steve made his, with some obvious differences. These are also 4-note whistles – 2 on top, two on the bottom.

-- Bill - Western NY

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