Instructables

Build a Toy Train to Fight for What's Right

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In a pure technical documenation style, starkly simple, I hope to reflect:

(1) How the construction of personal and personalized toys helps fight the vast commercial/industrial complex of sameinizing that our children undergo (this project was intended for the Instructables holiday contest, but I missed the deadline, I mean really really missed the deadline).

(1a) In my continuing belief that technical people should be conversant in cultural and linguistic implications of human life (note that the humanities make life worth living when we are back from the office/lab/shop/factory), I invite them to study point #1 above for its deconstructive implications, though I was never really a post-modernist myself). That is to say, if you build this train as I show here, you will add to the problem. See my final step, even my final sentence, for a solution.

In specific, the project involves the making of wooden train for a child, which can intersect with the concerns of technology, nostalgia, craft, and childhood pleasure all at once.

NOTE -- Some steps have more than one photograph conflated to a single step, so be sure to click on them all.

 
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Step 1: Concerning Materials and Tools; flesh and blood, and its distress


SAFETY NOTE -- Be safe. Don't do stupid things. Work slowly, even if you are going to miss a deadline. A forstner bit pulling your thumb into its ripping, inexorable maw will form a long-term memory, but not one to be treasured. If you use a double-sided Japanese saw OH, BE VERY CAREFUL, AND DON'T FORGET THE UPPER EDGE AS YOU HOLD THE WORKPIECE. Push wood chisel away from any body part. Watch your knuckles as you turn workpiece on the belt-sander (the wound is a little like being skinned alive). Have I left anything out?

THINGS NEEDED

TOOLS: rip and cross-cut saw, bandsaw (useful, not necessary), drill press (useful, not necessary), hand drill, electric or drill or bit and brace or push (necessary), smoothing or jack plane, wood chisel, wood rasp (useful, not critical), adz (fun, not necessary), compass scribe, small square, bench-mounted belt sander (useful, not critical; but I must say, for small work and hobby work, this has been a a great shaping tool, saving much time, as has the bandsaw and drill press on occasion), sandpaper (100 grit, 150, and 220 if you insist).

MATERIALS: Thick wood if possible (4-inch slab, about 4 x 4 square and 30 inches long, preferrably inherited from your father and seasoned 35 years in the barn attic, purchased from the sawmill up the road; if you can't get any, you can glue-up a block of mundane wood to follow these steps). Pine is OK, easy to work but soft and dentable, maple or oak would be OK too for longevity, though much harder to work (make all your marks and cuts very precise). Also some 3/4 inch pine (from the scraps you keep around). Paint: engine red from a craft store, small bottle; clear poly coating. Wooden wheels from the craft store (inch and a half dia.). Wooden pegs also about 2.5 inches long. Candle-holders, two, or some other short (1/1.5 inch round cylinder that can be fashioned into a headlight and a smoke stack).

NOTE: In general note that many gew gaws you can find at any local crafts store can me made into many things if you do not have a lathe (or time!) to create well-sized turnings: I once cut a wooden game piece down and drilled a hole in it to create a supercharger scoop for the hood of my son's cubscout wooden racecar, etc.).

Earths_hope3 years ago
I've been programming many trains at roblox P.S. I like trains
Grimling7 years ago
Oooowww !!! My babysit kids would love this. Woden toy's last 5min. longer than plastic there :)

Next project = put in on rails ?
whats up my homie?
ya mum
Wade Tarzia (author)  Grimling7 years ago
I thought about that but tracks were a little above my ingenuity. Tracks would involve a router and cutting many curves with a batten or jig, and the project suddenly escalates ;-)
Wade Tarzia (author) 7 years ago
I thought about that but tracks were a little above my ingenuity. Tracks would involve a router and cutting many curves with a batten or jig, and the project suddenly escalates ;-)
Tracks? How about ice cream sticks and glue?
Wade Tarzia (author)  VIRON7 years ago
But the wheels have to stay on or they're not tracks ;-) I did have a thought for an off-road train, though: the tracks are carried by the train -- I guess that would make it a train inside a caterpillar tread. Or two tracks: while the train is on one set the set is on its arm ready to be put down as the train rolls off the first set. real possibilities here ;-)
It seems like the tracks could be made of sticks and also keep the wheels on, such as by having one level for the wheel and another to guide it, unless there are a lot of big differences in the spaces between all of the wheels.
Wade Tarzia (author)  VIRON7 years ago
True. I suppose this train is then an over-land steam vehicle as used in the alt-hist sf novel, The Difference Engine (Brit scientist started out exploring the American West in one, bargaining with Indians along the way for food).
noahw7 years ago
Thanks so much for this really well documented instructable. I have boyhood memories of building wooden toys with my dad when I was little. Learning how to build while your young and playing with hand made toys from people who care are certainly good ways to fight the vast commercial/industrial complex of sameinizing that you speak of. Keep up the fight.
Wade Tarzia (author)  noahw7 years ago
Thanks. I wish the ideology were more supportive, but kids have so much pressure to have toys that buzz and blink. I was no exception; I like wooden toys much more as an adult than as a child ;-) I remember feeling sorry for a friend who had a wooden truck! But my friend's father was a radio hobbyist (back to his own preWW2 childhood) and started him out on 'fake gizmos' -- creating cool looking stuff out of wood, spare radio parts, etc. My friend grew to be highly skilled in mechanical hobbies (besides an excellent geologist). Nowadays when I give away my toys, as I do all of them, I have to impress on parents that these are to be used as toys, not set up on a shelf high on a wall as an ornament. To encourage use as toys, I always make the offer, "If something breaks, I can fix it easily, and so bring it to me." Of course, it helps to make toys tough; and so far nothinghas broken, even the motorcycle for my nephew with working suspension (springs from pump soap bottles). Still, I encounter the issue of "How thick do I make these spars?" when I make toy sailboats. Too thick is ugly, not enough = broken.
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