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Train Bank – Part 1

I’ve been promising my son I’d make a Train Bank for him for awhile now. He’s been collecting money in anticipation of having someplace to put it. Since I got some good shop time in last weekend, I thought I’d get started.

The Train Bank is from Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts Holiday 2008 and was designed by Paul Meisel.

First I photocopied all of the patterns from the pattern insert. Since it was so large, I had to tape the copies together to get the complete pattern. The design calls for 3/4″ material that is glued up in 4 sections to create the body of the train. I think he used pine, but I went with MDF since it was going to be painted anyway. The roof and window accents were in 1/4″ MDF. I spray-mounted the pattern to the wood and got everything lined up.

I used my scroll saw for all of the cutting on this project. I used a #5 scroll reverse to cut the pieces. I had to cut each of the train bodies individually, but I stack cut the windows and roof details. I wasn’t too concerned about accurate cuts. I figured once I got everything glued up, I’ll finesse the lines with my spindle sander. That way all 4 layers will be even.

And now for the glue-up. Since the outside pieces are slightly different than the outside peices, I glued up the inside pieces first. Here’s a little tip to keep things aligned: Tap in a small brad into two corners. Don’t go too deep, just enough for it to stay in the wood. Then with some wire cutters, snip off the rest of the brad. A little bit of metal will remain proud of the surface. Place your next board on top. When you have everything aligned, press down. This will create a little dimple into your mating piece. Now when you glue it up, you’ll find your mark and your wood won’t slide all around while clamping.

So I finished gluing the body of the train (with perhaps too much glue). I didn’t add the accent pieces just yet because I wanted the body of the train to sit flat on my spindle sander while I smooth everything out. The photocopies of the patterns must have been off, because nothing fit very well. I was about to throw the piece away, but I decided I’d try sanding it and see if I could salvage it. Lucky for me, I was able to get everything to line up with a lot of sanding. The end result was pretty far from the pattern, but nobody will notice.

After I got the edges sanded flush, I added the accent pieces as well as the round plugs at the front of the train. Then with some hand sanding, I eased the edges.

Now I’m at a stand-still. The belts on my drill press were ruined from misalignment from my last project. So I’m waiting on UPS to bring me my replacement belts. Then I can drill the hole in the bottom, a mortise for the train’s smoke stack, and the hole for the axle and wheels.

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