How To Make a Homemade Train Whistle

There are several different types of train whistles.  Below are directions for the two most popular, single hole and quad whistle.

Material you will need:

10' X 2 'X 2' piece of wood (preferably pine)
4' wooden dowel rod, 7/16' in diameter
Sanding file
Wood glue
Scroll saw
Paint or markers

Single hole train whistle

Step 1:  Drill a 7/16" hole 3 5/8" into the end of the 10" block of wood.

Step 2:  Place the wooden dowel rod in the drilled hole, to ensure it fits properly.  Sand the wooden dowel down slightly if it does not fit.  Make sure not to sand off too much, sand off small amounts until it fits in the drilled hole.

Step 3:  Use the sanding file to flatten one side of the wooden dowel rod so that air can pass through the train whistle.  Place a medium line of glue down the middle and slide into the hole.  Allowing the wooden dowel to stick out at the edge. (Allow glue to dry completely before proceeding to next step)

Step 4:  Once the glue dries.  Use the scroll saw and cut a single, angled notch in the block of wood.  Go ahead and test out the sound of your whistle.

Step 5:  Sand the edges of the train whistle until smooth.

Step 6:  Add paint, stain or color with markers to make this truly a unique train whistle.

Quad train whistle

Step 1:  Cut the 10" wooden block into two pieces. One piece will be 8" long, which leaves a 2" piece to be used in step 5.

Step 2:  Using the lathe make four holes in the top of the 8 inch piece of wood.  Make sure the holes are approximately 3/8 inch from the edge.  Below is a chart that tells how deep each of these four holes should be:

    1st – 7 ¼ inches
    2nd – 4 ¼ inches
    3rd – 6 ¼ inches
    4th – 4 ¾ inches

Step 3:  In each corner measure and cut four notches.   Cut away from the corner, approx. 3/8 inch.

Step 4:  Create four reeds by cutting a 7/16 inch piece of wooden dowel into smaller 1/2 inch pieces.  Sand each piece flat on one side.  Glue the reeds into holes, leaving about a 1/8 inch gap at the top of the train whistle.

Step 5:  Drill a hole ¾ inch around and ¼ inch deep in the center of the leftover 2 inch block of wood.  Line this piece up with the 8 inch block, glue into place hole-side up.

Step 6:  Sand the whistle until it is smooth all over.  Stain, paint or use markers to add a decorative touch.


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