Router Table Train Whistle

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Project by harriw posted 12-12-2012 02:13 AM 4743 views 19 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My son and nephew are both big fans of Thomas the Tank Engine and trains in general, so I thought it would be neat to make them some traditional train whistles for Christmas.

I quickly realized my bench-top drill press, however, wasn’t going to be tall enough to fit the blanks I wanted to use (and I didn’t trust my skills to drill holes that deep sufficiently straight with a hand drill). While doing some research as to how the whistles work, I stumbled across this tutorial by Mary Anne on router table whistles: Voila! Problem solved :)

By the way – Steve Ramsey just did a video on how to make the traditional version using the drill press method as well:

Here’s my version. They’re 4-note whistles, with 2 tubes on each side of the whistle joined by a mouth piece. These are made from some sections of that pine pre-made glue-up panels you can get at the big box stores that I had laying around. I didn’t have any 2×4’s nice enough to use so I just laminated 2 pieces together.

Rather than stopping my router dados to seal off the tubes, I cut my dados all the way through the blanks. Then I cut some square blocks to size and used them to plug off the tubes. This allowed me to set the pitch where I wanted by moving testing, moving the blocks slightly, testing, etc. Then I cut some additional blocks to plug the other end so you couldn’t see the back side of the tubes.

Sanded to 220, and finished with 4-5 coats of mineral oil, hand-rubbed once it dried.

-- Bill - Western NY

4 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30064 posts in 2542 days

#1 posted 12-12-2012 03:50 AM

very cool project

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2631 days

#2 posted 12-12-2012 05:10 AM

I can play the mournful notes of those whistles in my head. Years of growing up around steam trains.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4086 days

#3 posted 12-12-2012 06:40 PM

Very nice.
I lot ‘em.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3852 days

#4 posted 12-12-2012 08:48 PM

nice job on those. they look great!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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