Miniature Trains

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Project by harvey posted 3082 days ago 7457 views 5 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of my hobbies is making antique-style cars, trucks and trains out of various hardwoods. Using large power tools – from table saws to lathes – to create miniature collectibles is a wonderful exercise in precision woodworking.

Because the pieces of wood I work with are small, I like to spray them with finish or paint instead of using a brush. I also hate to set up my large compressor-run spray tools when I’m working on a small job.

I happened upon a great tool at my local paint store that has made life much easier: the Crown Spra-Tool, which sells for around $10 to $15. You place the liquid (paint, stain or any other suitable finish) you wish to spray in a small bottle, which is provided in the kit. Insert the plastic tubing into the bottle, and attach it to the nozzle. Power is supplied by an aerosol can, which can be replaced for a nominal fee. (You can also buy extra plastic bottles and caps to store a large variety of paints, which eliminates the need to clean a bottle when you want to change colors or finishes.)

Woodworking projects like this take a lot of time and require a great deal of detail work, but the end result is worth it. I’ve thought about selling some of the trains I’ve made (pictured here), but the hours invested in creating them could never be compensated. I take pride in displaying them, and I’ll ultimately give them to my grandsons.

21 comments so far

View Ellen's profile


121 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 3072 days ago

I think these are awesome, but I would love to know the woods used and the size of these trains. Are they to “O”-gauge? Very nice work and interesting way to finish them.

-- Ellen --

View harvey's profile


3 posts in 3083 days

#2 posted 3071 days ago

Several natural woods were used, including oak, birch, pine and walnut. Pieces were stained with a clear varnish. You can purchase the plans from, which lists specs and sizes.

View superbabe621's profile


8 posts in 3000 days

#3 posted 3000 days ago

Superb idea & work! And thanks for the website.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2926 days

#4 posted 2917 days ago

Nice work, I’m the same as you when it comes to selling, I wouldn’t want to make work out of something that’s fun to do. I do make things as gifts though.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2787 days

#5 posted 2691 days ago

this is amazing! And you challenge yourself by using BIG tools to make SMALL pieces…

People today aren’t likely to pay what they are worth, but I guess when your great-grandchildren are having them appraised they will be surprised at the $$ value that is placed on them.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View PanamaJack's profile


4469 posts in 2704 days

#6 posted 2688 days ago

These are fantastic pieces. Keep the great work going.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View TomFran's profile


2942 posts in 2621 days

#7 posted 2495 days ago

Amazing detail! Nice train. Thanks for the tip on spraying small projects. It makes sense to me to not have to set up the whole compressor scheme to spray small things like this.

Thanks for sharing your ideas with us!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2448 days

#8 posted 2307 days ago

Hi Harvey,

You have the distinct honor of posting the first project on this site. This one could not be nicer. You put a lot of detail and imagination into this train. This is a wonderful gift for your grandsons.

Thanks for the post and thanks for being the first to start this process.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Roz's profile


1659 posts in 2413 days

#9 posted 1820 days ago

This is great, but I would love to know where you find the patience to make something so intricate.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View a1Jim's profile


112010 posts in 2203 days

#10 posted 1820 days ago

cool train great job

-- Custom furniture

View jim1953's profile


2671 posts in 2468 days

#11 posted 1700 days ago

Great Lookin Train

-- Jim, Kentucky

View Tim Pletcher's profile

Tim Pletcher

88 posts in 1700 days

#12 posted 1682 days ago

nice, very detailed!


View remy97's profile


206 posts in 1641 days

#13 posted 1585 days ago

sweet job man! just out exploring some really old threads and came across it, but again sweet job man!

-- ---ray suppan--- anger + woodworking = -finger AHHHHHHHH!!!!

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 2449 days

#14 posted 1563 days ago

It is nice to come back to this one and still stand amazed.

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

View DAWG's profile


2850 posts in 1763 days

#15 posted 1544 days ago

Great train, man what patience you must have. Thanks for sharing.

-- Luke 23: 42-43

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