How to make a homemade train whistle

Written by jennifer hudock
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How to make a homemade train whistle
Commission Junction train whistle (

Few things get a child more excited than the sound of a train whistle. As times change and trains are less accessible, that sound does not have to fade into the past. Making a simple, wooden train whistle is a fun project to engage children in, and a variety of different sizes can be created to make different pitched whistles.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • 10-inch piece 2-by-2 pine
  • 4-inch wooden dowel rod (7/16-inch diameter)
  • Drill
  • Sanding file
  • Wood glue
  • Scroll saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain, paint or markers
  • Lathe

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    Single Hole Train Whistle

  1. 1

    Drill a 7/16-inch hole 3 5/8 inches into the end of the 10-inch block of pine.

  2. 2

    Test the dowel rod to ensure it fits into the freshly drilled hole. If the dowel rod does not fit, sand it down slightly.

  3. 3

    Flatten one side of the dowel rod with a sanding file to allow air to pass through the whistle. Add a line of glue to the dowel rod, and slide it into the hole. Allow the dowel to stick out at the edge.

  4. 4

    Cut a single, angled notch into the block with a scroll saw once the glue dries. Test out the sound of the whistle.

  5. 5

    Sand all the edges until the wood is smooth. After you sand the whistle, stain or paint it. If you are making the whistle as a project with a child, give the child the option of decorating the whistle with markers.

    Quad Train Whistle

  1. 1

    Cut the 10-inch block of pine into two pieces. One piece should measure 8 inches, leaving a 2-inch piece to be used later.

  2. 2

    Use a 7/16-inch drill bit or lathe to make four holes in the top of the 8-inch length of pine, each one 3/8 inch from the coinciding edge. The first hole should be 7 1/4 inches deep, the second 4 1/4 inches, the third 6 1/4 inches and the last hole 4 3/4 inches. Make sure the holes are smooth and straight.

  3. 3

    Measure and cut four angled notches, one into each corner, 3/8 inch away from the corner.

  4. 4

    Make four reeds by cutting a 7/16-inch piece of wooden dowel into 1/2-inch lengths. Sand each piece flat on one side, then glue the reeds into the holes, leaving about 1/8 inch of space at the top of the whistle.

  5. 5

    Create a top piece for the whistle from the leftover 2 inches of pine block by drilling a hole 3/4 inch around and 1/4 inch down into the centre. Align this piece with the longer block, and glue it into place hole-side up.

  6. 6

    Sand the block, bevelling the edges if you wish. Leave the wood unfinished, or decorate and finish the whistle.

Tips and warnings

  • These plans may be modified to make smaller or larger whistles.
  • Use nontoxic paint or finish if you decide to decorate it, because the whistle will have contact with the lips and mouth.

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