Apr 25 2012

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Toy Car 3: Sports Theme

I planned on making another toy car for my nephew and I wanted it to be different. My brother-in-law loves the Vikings, so by default his children do too, and the Vikings colors are purple and gold.  I figured I’d make a car out of yellow and purple heartwood. Purple heartwood is a favorite contrast wood of many woodworkers because of its deep purple color after it has been exposed to air a few days (it’s brown when you first cut it). Supposedly if you don’t seal it it eventually turns brown again, but I’ve had some purple heart in my shop for years that is still purple. Yellow heart might be less familiar, but it has a very even yellow color and smells bad when you cut it. I thought these two woods would contrast well.

Rather than pay through the nose for 1/4″ thick purple heart, I resawed a 3/4″ piece of purple heart on my table saw leaving a small connecting island which I cut with a handsaw to separate the pieces. I planed away the remaining island with a block plane. From making my previous car, I remembered how hard it was to scroll a 8/4 piece of maple, so rather than glue up the blank for the body first, I cut each piece out separately then glued them together. It might not have saved me time, but it definitely saved me blades.

Once I had the body underway, I cut the wheels out with a hole saw on my drill press. I build yet another jig to round over the wheels on my router table, which worked but turned out to be dangerous to both me and the wood, in fact it gave me the final push I needed to go buy a lathe. Luckily I wasn’t hurt, but one of the wheels suffered some serious tear out when the bit grabbed the wood and started the wheel spinning. I used a little epoxy and sawdust to patch the wheel and finished sanding the wheels.

I finished the body and wheels with 4 or 5 coats (I don’t remember) of wipe on urethane. I learned from the last car that I couldn’t just let the wheels rub on the body or else it would ruin the finish, so I made some plastic washers out of a plastic milk jug. I also used my homemade dowel cutter to make purple heart dowels for the axles. I’m not sure if purple heart is a good material for axles or not because I snapped one while trying to push it into a wheel — then again my nephew already broke one of the poplar dowels in another car I built for him.

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