Introduction: Wooden Train Whistle

Picture of Wooden Train Whistle

This is a small wooden whistle that is quick to make and sounds great.

Material used in this example is 20 mm x 20 mm x 150 mm pine and 9.5 mm dowel

This plan is based on a similar one by dirtbike98

Step 1: Mark the Centre

Picture of Mark the Centre

Mark the centre of one end.

Draw a line from corner to corner.

Step 2: Drill Hole

Picture of Drill Hole

Clamp your material in the jig under the drill.
Check the drill bit is lined up to drill down the middle.
Drill down as far as you can.

Step 3: Mark Out the Air Hole

Picture of Mark Out the Air Hole

Follow the measurements on the plan to mark out the air hole.

Step 4: Cut the Air Hole

Picture of Cut the Air Hole

First make the straight cut by clamping your work in a vice

Step 5: Angled Air Hole Cut

Picture of Angled Air Hole Cut

Take your time to saw the second angled cut
You can hold the base in a vice and hold the saw on an angle to cut.

Or if that's not working for you use a jig to guide the saw.

Sand the air hole edges smooth with sand paper

Step 6: Prepare Dowel

Picture of Prepare Dowel

Cut a 20 mm section of dowel, this will be fitted into the end of your whistle.
Sand a flat face onto to dowel.
This flat face will sit up so the air can be blown over it and exit through the air hole.

Step 7: Project Complete

Picture of Project Complete

Your whistle may need a bit of fine tuning now.

You can adjust the sound it makes by flattening the dowel some more, smoothing the air hole edges, pushing the dowel in further or removing it a bit and making the hole deeper

Good luck!


fraser02 (author)2016-03-27

Nice project, thanks for sharing!

i might try this out with bamboo...

stannickel made it! (author)2015-11-21

To my favorite down-under whistle maker! This is one I made for a friend who has a little boy. I printed his picture on the whistle. I found an extremely easy way to transfer inkjet photos to wood using this Youtube video: As the guy says, it's not commercial quality, but it does add a personal touch with very little expense and very little work.

Ms Wild (author)stannickel2015-11-22

Hi Stan, Thanks for sharing the picture of your work, the picture does add a nice personal touch. I have watched the video before and began to save the paper, than never tried it out, I will get on and give it a go. Thanks again

stannickel made it! (author)2015-11-06

And then I made six more 4-bore train whistles. I gave them all to the kids in my church. I'm sure they will find a spot on various bookshelves and toy boxes. I hope in 50 years they will try them again and see if they still work!

Ms Wild (author)stannickel2015-11-07

Thanks Stan, I was wondering what they all sounded like, your video answers my question.

Ms Wild (author)stannickel2015-11-06

Oh wow! They look terrific, thanks for posting the picture stannickel.

tsb2225 (author)2015-09-24

So simple - thank you. If you want different tones then you can change the depth of the drilled hole in step 2: shallower will give a higher note. Alternatively, drill right through and use a longer piece of your dowel, slide it in from the other end to the air hole and adjust the note by changing how far its pushed in.

Ms Wild (author)tsb22252015-11-06

Thanks for the comment, I haven't experimented with tones, I will give it a go.

Great suggestion, thanks

stannickel made it! (author)2015-10-18

Neat! I realized that after I drilled the hole and did the cuts, I had to clean out the hole with the drill once more to make a clean sound. Nice project!

Ms Wild (author)stannickel2015-11-06

Thanks for posting your finished project, I'm so happy you shared it!

Yes we do lots of fiddling around with some and others just work straight away, I am so glad your happy with yours.

MJFoster (author)2015-10-17

I've been looking for a pattern for a train whistle and this is the BEST one. Thanks for sharing.

Ms Wild (author)MJFoster2015-10-18

Terrific! Would love to see any pics of your finished work, all the best

MJFoster (author)Ms Wild2015-10-18

I'll be glad to share Ms Wild. :0)

FourOaksCrafts (author)2015-09-29

Nice and simple design! I love it!

caperjack (author)2015-09-20

Great job ,nice whistle ,,when I was a kid in the 50's , when hiking or fishing my uncle would break a branch off a tree he new had a hollow center in parts of it ,and cut it like you cut your wood and make us a whistle for us ,we just thought he was the smartest guy ,and he still is at 86

Ms Wild (author)caperjack2015-09-20

Hi, thanks for sharing the memory, I'm going to look out for small hollow branches!

fran=1 (author)Ms Wild2015-09-24

be carefull their is a hollow weed called hogweed that is what looks good but it can cause skin burns and blindness it grows most places it has a big flower like queenann lace but it grows to 8' or taller please look out for this......frank

Ms Wild (author)fran=12015-09-24

Thanks for the heads up

Truckload (author)fran=12015-09-24

Hi Frank, I think bamboo will be a good choice for this type of project. Michaels (or any art supply store) sells bamboo. I have collected a piece from my friend. I am going to try it out. Thanks for the nice post Ms Wild.

BIVS2000 (author)2015-09-21

Great idea! Have you ever heard of making a whistle with more than one tone? Maybe 2 or 3 or 4? I read about one a long time ago, but of course, forgot where!

Good job!

jklovance (author)BIVS20002015-09-24

Here is a video for a 4 tone version.

Ms Wild (author)jklovance2015-09-24

Thanks for your link, Steve Ramsey's videos are so fun to watch

Anakin47 (author)2015-09-24

Great project to do with grand kids... Thanks for the clear and easy steps to follow.

NathanSellers (author)2015-09-22

This is cool. I like the simplicity of it. Thanks for sharing.

bravoechonovember1 (author)2015-09-21

chuga chuga chuga CHOO CHOO!!

All aboard!

BCDesign (author)2015-09-20

Great work,I will make this with my kids!

Ms Wild (author)BCDesign2015-09-20

Super, would love to see any finished ones

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2015-09-20

Nice DIY whistle. Those look really easy to make.

Yes they are easy to make, and you get to make a bit of noise at the end

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a high school design and technology teacher and I love making things, especially if it involves using recycled materials. I use instructables all ... More »
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