An ‘All Aboard!’ Train Whistle:
John Swinkels and Bernie Leadbeatter make wooden train whistles on a lathe.
Bernie brought some wooden train whistles to the club – Woodturners of the Hunter – and was happy to share with us how to make them. The whistles have four holes and Bernie designed and built a jig that made drilling those holes in a blank an easy procedure.
We made a few from radiata pine (Pinus radiata) but found the sound seemed to be richer if they were made from hardwood. So we made four whistles from local hardwood. We made the whistles using jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata), merbau (Swintonia floribunda), coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalem) and macadamia (Macadamia ternifolia).
Things you will need
• Disk sander
• Pyrography tool
• 22mm Forstner bit
• 12.7mm drill bit
• Try square
• Jig to support blank during drilling of four holes and support for cutting out small triangular parts
• Finishes – I used polyurethane varnish
• 330mm long section of hardwood – 35 x 35mm
• 12.7mm dowel
1. There is an unseen piece of wood that just fits between the lathe ways.
2. Under that is another smaller piece that can turn and lock the jig in place.
3. The visible lowest piece is fastened to the unseen one and has a bolt with a wingnut that locks the jig in place.
4. The trapezium-shaped uprights support the actual channel.
5. Bernie made his channel from a solid section and routed the recess in it.
6. Another option is to build the channel from three sections of timber. Getting the channel in the correct position, just 4mm below the drill bit requires careful measuring. It can, however, be accomplished by measuring with the drill bit in the Jacob’s chuck and checking exactly where the channel should go so its inside lower surface is the required 4mm below the drill bit. The channel is 35.5mm wide so that the 35mm square whistle blank can move inside it. Mark on the jig how deep to drill.