Take me right back to the track, Jack

I have tons of projects upon which I should get cracking. There’s the grandfather clock that’s been sitting unfinished for almost 8 months, a hanging tool chest for my hand tools that I’d really like to get done so my lovely Lie-Nielsen friends can quit getting all dusty, another grandfather clock to build on a commission (thankfully a much less complicated clock than the unfinished one and the customer is is no hurry), a quick DVD cabinet for my brother, a reproduction of an old-fashioned ice-chest for a friend, some improvements to, and appliances for, my workbench, a  Krenov-style plane to display at the store as an advertisement for an upcoming class I’m teaching… At school I’m working on a sack back Windsor chair and a roll-top desk. I’m hoarding a beautiful piece of ambrosia maple and awaiting the arrival of the templates so I can start working on Marc “The Wood Whisperer” Spagnuolo’s Greene & Greene style frame.

So naturally I’m spending my shop time lately building a toy train.

If you read the previous sentence and said, “He must have a kid” you’ve nailed it. My son, Sam, is obsessed with trains. I don’t say that lightly. A recent behaviour issue that led to him losing his toy trains for a couple of days had him shaking like a junkie mid-detox. He has toy trains, wooden, plastic (large and small), Lego, Lincoln Log and die-cast in nearly every room of the house. Better than half of the space on our DVR is taken up by episodes of “Thomas and Friends”, “Chuggington”, and “Dinosaur Train.” When he moved from his baby bedroom, now my office (and don’t tell me you’re not jealous because my office has a border with duckies and yours doesn’t!), into the larger upstairs bedroom we painted the room, at his insistence, Thomas the Tank Engine blue with red and yellow on the baseboards.

So recently I was talking about a project; the icebox that I’m planning to build for a friend as soon as we thaw out enough to take a drive out and look at some old oak barn wood I’m hoping to use.

“Daddy, you build lots of things for mommy and gramma and Nana and Papaw… will you build something for me in your workshop?”

“Sure Doodle. What would you like me to make for you?”

Should have known what the answer would be.

Between working in the store and chasing my boy around I’d be annoyed about not getting work done on the myriad of other projects I have on the back, and front, and side burners but for three things:

1.) Building this thing has done wonders to thin out the heap in the corner (there’s a box under there somewhere) of scrap wood.

2.) My jointer knives are out to be sharpened and I won’t have them back until next Tuesday. I did order a second set (can’t seem to find them locally) but they won’t be in for at least a few more days with the ungodly amount of snow that has fallen in Cincinnati so I can’t do much with my rough stock anyhow.

3.) I’m a sucker for kids, especially my own. The reaction I got when I handed him the completed engine was worth not getting to work on my other projects. Thankfully I’m not doing this for a living so I don’t really have deadlines, per se.

I finished assembling the engine this morning. Being the most complicated of the cars with turned parts, etc. it took the longest to complete. I had to glue up a 4″ x 4″ blank just to turn the boiler. Later this afternoon I knocked out the coal tender which was much simpler. I’m not sure how many cars long this thing will eventually become. The engine itself is 14″ long, so it could easily get out of control in terms of size the more cars I add. Mama is handling the paint job, orange of course. In Sam’s world everything should be orange.

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Published in: on February 16, 2010 at 1:34 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. wow these are awesome!! I think i might make one for my son! Thanks for the post!


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