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Friday, December 7, 2012

Make a wood train whistle

I set out this week to make this year's a New Year's Eve noisemaker. I decided to make a horn or some other kind of wind-powered instrument. After making a couple of these whistles, I decided they wouldn't exactly make for much of a video.

I researched whistles and was reminded of the classic wooden train whistle. My son loved these as a boy and they aren't too difficult to make. It's essentially the same whistle as the one above, but with four tone holes and a cap to direct air into all of them.

I took notes on the ones I made and you can download my measurements to try out. It's surprisingly easy to get good tones. Just take some time to fool around with it and come up with something that sounds good to you.


  1. My son has one of these and I contemplated taking it apart to see how it was made but I was unsure if I would be able to put it back together again correctly and that would be bad...

  2. Been following your YT channel for ages and have only just subd to your blog, wondering why i didnt sub months ago now.

    I make the single tone whistles from small tree branches and give them away to kids at shows that i attend, great fun to make and great fun to see the look on the kids faces whern a tree branch makes a noise, but i usually end up as the enemy of the parents by the end of the day though, as all you can hear all over the show grounds are kids with whistles, the variable tone whistgles are the biggest hit by far though.

  3. Great Project, Steve..this is a great pre holiday project idea and not too intense..thanks again for your persistance into keeping things simple here..

  4. Great project Steve. watched your video with my grandson while having breakfast. we went straight to the workshop and made a couple of the simple ones. Now he's been blowing it non stop driving us nuts haha. wanted to send you a photo with this comment couldnt work it out. Thanks Steve love your enthusiasm. Paz

  5. Great project , what happened to the sound ??

  6. I want a SLIDE WHISTLE!

  7. And this surely adds up a fun way to enjoy this coming New Years Eve… Two thumbs up!!!

  8. Cool Train whistles. can I use a whole 2x4 how many train whistles does the whole 2x4 make? I would like to know?

  9. Great project :) It actually got me thinking to make a similar whistle that would give me C,E,G,A which is a standard tuning for my ukulele. Often when I go camping my Ukulele falls out of tune and I often have to tune it and it would look (and feel) so much cooler if I would do it by hand made whistle than by tuner app on my Android.
    Thanks for the great videos - I'm really a fan of your work.

  10. Thanks for the well-explained video, Steve! It helped me put together a train whistle that I then rounded out and used as the smoke stack in a toy train for my nephew! Works great!