Sep 22 2011

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Making Another Toy Car

Click picture to see slide show.

Click picture to see slide show.

I’m taking a step back and showing how I made the wooden car I recently posted here. I first got the idea for this particualr design by looking at some of the wooden cars on the Arizona Wooden Toys website. I liked the design of their “Zoom Racer;” I thought the open body would be great for smaller children to grip. Plus I’ve found that the larger the wheels, the better the car rolls, something that’s not lost on my four year old.

I found a 6 x 7 x 1-3/4″ chunk of hard maple for $4 at Rockler that I thought would be perfect for the design. Using the dimensions of the block, I created a template out of some scrap plywood that would allow me to cut two cars out of the chunk. I transferred the shape of the template to the block of maple and cut it out on my scrollsaw. The 1-3/4″ thick hard maple really pushed my scrollsaw to its limits, cutting was slow to say the least.

Then using my RIDGID oscillating sander I had recently purchased just for this project and ones like it, I evened out the rough cuts left by the scroll saw and smoothed both the inside and outside surfaces to the point where I could rout all the edges.

I used a 2-1/2″ hole saw to cut the wheels out of the same free piece of walnut that I used to make the peg to my Ladder Toy. I used pretty much the same techniques that I used to make my Yo-Yo sides to smooth out the wheels and round over the edges.

I decided not  to finish the axles along with the rest of the car. I had two reasons for this. First the turning axle would quickly rub off any finish. Second, I see the axle as a replaceable part. The way my son destroys toys, I figure it’s only a matter of time before the child I give the car to starts wrenching on the wheels and snaps the axle.

When it came time to put the car together I tried a new technique I saw in Wood Magazine’s Online tips. To keep the wheels from rubbing on the body I cut four slugs out of a gallon milk jug with a plug cutter. I found that trying to drill into the plastic with the plug cutter tore it up rather than making a nice round slug, so I ended up cutting just deep enough into the plastic to see the circle and finish cutting it out with a pair of scissors. Next time I think I’ll try sharpening the edges of a pipe to make a die. Then I used a 1/4″ Forstner bit to drill out the center of the slug. I found that if I centered the slug over a 1/4″ hole I was able to punch out the center cleanly.

I really like the way the car turned out. My son likes playing with it, even though it is a gift for another child. I like the smooth curves and I’m really impressed how the urethane brought out the grain in the walnut.

Again, be sure to click on the picture to see the slideshow of how I made the car.

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