Dec 15 2011

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New Source For Small Wooden Wheels

I was in Michaels a few days ago looking for wooden spheres to use in another project ,when I spotted some 3/4″ toy wheels from Lara’s Craft’s that I thought looked much better than the ones I made for my Flat Car project. They cost about $1.60 for a package of 12, plus the cashier had a 40% off coupon that she applied, so I got them for under a buck.

When I got home and took them out of the package, I was disappointed. The wheels were out of round. They seem to be wider across the grain like you’d expect to happen when wood expands. I tried taking a picture to compare the wheels I made (which are pretty round) and the new wheels, but it doesn’t show up very well in a static picture. You have to see the wheel roll on an axle.

Despite the fact the wheels were somewhat out of round, I decided to swap out a set on one of my son’s flat cars just to see how they looked. This required reaming out the axle hole slightly to make them fit over the #4 screws I was using. I thought they looked pretty darn good and it turns out that they roll only slightly worse than my wheels. The real test is if they work on the track though — which they did. The hardest section of track on trains is the tight curved tracks and these new wheels performed just as well as the wheels I made. After I figured this out I swapped wheels on two other flat cars. I definitely will be buying some more.

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  1. Jeff

    Is there a Hobby Lobby in your town? I’ve noticed all sorts of wooden parts at the craft stores that could be used for toys (while shopping with my wife).

    1. benjamen

      Thanks for the info, but the closest Hobby Lobbies are both about an hour drive for me in cities I never have any reason to go to. I know I’ve seen wooden parts at Jo-Anns too (funny what you discover while you are bored waiting).

  2. Evan Stephens

    For my taste these wheels resemble tires more than I’d like.  But I’ve still used them extensivley and bought them online from Cherry Tree Toys.  I actually prefer the look of your dowel wheels.  I had not thought of making wheels out of dowels before.  That’s a good idea I might try sometime.  For my dowel-style wheels I start with pre-cut blanks sold as “wooden disks” or “wooden nickels” depending on who you buy them from.  You may be interested in some different axel ideas on my site: https://sites.google.com/site/handmadewoodentrains/

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