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.
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?
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.).