As with all my homemade 'Thomas' stuff, I have started with Basswood. My former supply of 1/2" thick stock has been used up, but I did manage to find a woodwork supply store that had nice pieces of 3/8" thick boards for about $1.50 each. They also stock the wheels and axles needed for this project, I would recommend buying 100 of each as they are only 4 cents each and then you won't run out and have to reorder or drive halfway across the province to get more like I did. I had originally used some rare earth magnets and holders from Lee Valley (Shown in some of these pictures) but they turned out to be WAY too strong for a child's toy and so I ordered and replaced them with some ceramic Magnets and Round Head Nails from Cherrytree Woodworking. These magnets were far cheaper than the Rare earth ones, and would only cost about $0.45 per car except for the cost of shipping them to Canada (now about $1.50 per car with shipping). In total for a single 6 wheel car I used about $1.70 in parts, and most of that is in shipping the magnets.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
Drill Bits - 11/64", 1/4" and 5/16"
Sandpaper (Medium & fine - 100 & 220 grit)
Scroll, Jig or Band saw, whichever you prefer...or a coping saw if you are oldschool.
A piece of wooden track for testing
Materials needed for this project:
Basswood 12" x 4" x 3/8" (this will make at least 4 or 5 trains)
3/4" Wooden Wheels - 4 or 6 per train
5/8" Axles - 4 or 6 per train
3/8" Magnets and Cups - 2 of each per train
Thin Hardwood (I used some offcut from some wooden blinds)
1/4" dowel 4" long (the small wood pegs from Ikea furniture work well, if you have any leftovers)(optional)
1/2" dowel 9" long (optional)
Acrylic Paint and Varnish
Acrylic Gel Medium
Sharpie Markers (thick and thin)
Brown paper bag