This is the first train and second toy that I made after I started only making toys. I still make other stuff but found a real niche in toys. Toys also don't take up as much room as furniture. The interesting part of this train is that I did it during an adult woodworking class. Last year I decided to take the adult woodworking class at Chaffey High School. Basically I had access to all the tools and was under the super vision of a teacher. This train actually changed my view on toys.
I will talk about the boring stuff first though. It is 54" long and is made out of walnut and pine. It was mostly scrap from previous projects. The plans came out of the Toys, Games , and Furniture book by Reader's Digest. The book has some good ideas but I really was not impressed with the drawings and dimensions.
I don't see this train as a toy. It is more of a model. I see an eight-year-old playing with this train and it was around our tree at Christmas because it looks really good. I don't say that to boast because it really is not to scale and has some blemishes. This train is more of a showing piece. Two of the cars have small ladders. The wheel coverings are thin and can break easily and the box car door really moves. The links are wire hook and eye screws. I read an article in The Wood Magazine about toy making that I have embraced. A toy is something that you take to make well and may only last the amount of time that was put in to make it before it breaks. But it brings a smile to a child's face and a glimmer to their eye. I would be disappointed if this train broke therefore I do not see this as a toy.
Interestingly enough I gleaned a fair amount of knowledge from this project. I learned how to use a band saw to re-saw wood (take lumber and cutting it to different thicknesses). A lot of the parts to this train were 3/8" thick. It would be a huge waste of wood to plane 3/4" wood to half it's thickness. This is where the re-sawing comes in, I cut the standard lumber in half. Please also note that I could not do this without being in the class because I had access to an industrial band saw and an industrial planer. This project is also where I learned that a little bit of color goes a long way. My accent wood is walnut and it makes different details stand out and the entire project look that much better. The walnut used was all considered scrap. This was also a project that was a confidence builder for me. It was fun to make but I don't know what I am going to do with it. Right now it is sitting on a shelf behind other toys so that when children come over they don't see it.