Creating a Male Connector

Since you're not just making a train track with one big loop, sometimes you need special pieces. In my first go at crating wooden train track I created a piece with two female connectors because that was the exact piece we needed to finish a track layout. Other times you end up needing to connect two female ends together and you need a male-male track connector. The Imaginarium tracks did come with one male-male track connector piece, but with the roundhouse only having female connections, sometimes you need more.

I previously stated there are two options for making male ends: buy a plastic piece like some of the track pieces used, or actually cut the male end out of the piece of track. I came up with another simple option using only 1/2" and 1/4" dowel. I was inspired after seeing the Buyer's Guide for Toy Wooden Railroads site.  On the page the author has pictures of the various methods of connecting track together, and one of the methods employed was a double male connector.

Marking the 1/2" Dowel

Since the hole in the female connector is 1/2" diameter, a 1/2" diameter dowel can be a snug fit depending on your dowel stock. The particular oak dowel I used was about .480"

Cutting the Dowel to Length

Using my miter saw and 1/2" dowel cutting jig, basically a piece of scrap which I routed a 1/2" round groove in to keep the dowel steady and minimize tear-out, I cut a two pieces of dowel to length.

Drilling the Hole for the Connecting Rod

Using a 1/4" Forsner bit in my drill press I drilled a 1/4" deep hole in the middle of the pieces of dowel I just cut.

Figuring out How Long to Make the Connector Rod

With the two 1/2" dowel pieces cut I inserted them int a couple of tracks, butted them together and measured the space between them.

Marking the Connecting Rod

Adding 1/2" to the distance I measured in the last step I calculated the total length as 0.922". Then I marked the 1/4" dowel I used to connect the two pieces of 1/2" dowel.

Single Male Connector

With one piece of 1/2" dowel and the 1/4" connecting dowel I have a functional male track connector. All I'd have to do is drill a 1/4" hole 1/4" + .211" (or approx 1/2") deep in the end of a piece of track.

Double Male Connector

With both 1/2" dowel pieces and the connecting rod I have a functional double male connector

Double Male Connector In Use

Here's one use for the double male connector. The 1/2" dowel is quite snug on most pieces of our track and actually too small on a few pieces. I actually like the snug fit with such a small piece, it will hopefully help keep it from getting lost.

If the piece is two snug, one solution would be to find 1/2" dowel that was nominally a little smaller diameter. When I was at Home Depot, it seemed that their oak 1/2" dowels where quite a bit smaller than the stock I was using. Another solution would be to some careful sanding to reduce the diameter.