Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Excavator

I was a little excited when I received the tracking update that my wheels had arrived at my house. My wife had other plans with my package that arrived. by the time that I arrived home she had opened it and hid the contents some where in the house. She thought it was great that she didn't have to go shopping for Christmas, packages just arrive. I told her that I had ordered wheels to finish this project. With a little coaxing she divulged the hiding place of the parts. Tonight my son and I finished this project by putting on the wheels. My son does not like the drill yet. I think it was a little to heavy for him.

This project came from the wood magazine. It is a companion to the wood crane that came out last year. I built that earlier so I was excited to see the excavator in the previous issue of Wood Magazine. The parts were actually stuff that I could buy from the hardware store except for the wheels and pegs. and it was easy to make. The only issue I had with the crane and excavator was that it was made out of 6/4 and 2/4 material which is a lot of planing and glue ups.

Both are made out of birch and walnut. The expensive part of these projects was the hardware but well worth it.

This project is where I learned how to make tight movable joints. My son had fun with it once it was completed

Monday, December 21, 2009

Teaching kids woodworking

Found this on the Wood Magazine web site and thought it was pretty interesting. I plan on continuing to follow his blog. Here is the link:
Hope you also find this blog interesting. I think if it would be fun to teach kids so if you trust me with your kids I would be more than happy to provide a class. It would have to be local only.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Helicopter

Well I actually was able to fix my mistake sort of. I am not happy about my screw up but grateful I was able to fix the mistake. On an earlier post I said that I used a table saw to cut the groove when I should have used a band saw. To fix my mistake I had to cut out the middle section of the helicopters and replace it with a strip of birch. I then re-cut the groove using the scroll saw (which worked much better). The wood was given to me from a coworker who likes to turn wood. He ordered some blanks on-line and gave me the "packing material". It turned out to be Huckleberry. It is a nice green grained wood that smells funny. (Each wood has a unique smell one of my favorites is walnut.) The picture doesn't show the beauty of the wood that well.

Despite my mistake it turned out good and I have patterns to duplicate them. There is a lot of angles on the helicopter which were not that bad, probably because I had done the bi-planes earlier. The only tricky part was the pontoons and cutting grooves equally spaced. Making Heirloom Toys does a good job on showing how to do this. They suggested glue and I taped the dowels together. I used a scroll saw to cut the propellers I am getting better but is is pretty obvious they are not balanced.

The Fire Truck

One of the latest projects I completed was the fire truck. This was a request from my wife. It is made out of cherry, maple and birch. The plans are found in Making Heirloom Toys. It was not an easy vehicle to make. In fact I would put it harder than the fairy boat. It is probably due to the fact that I did not have the correct tools. It would have been nice to have a band saw and a lathe on this project. The hose coils were the most challenging to do because I did not have a lathe. I ended up using a router to cut grooves and then chucked it in a drill press to sand the radii.

The fire truck does come with an extension ladder. It is actually pretty cool if it worked. The instructions say to use friction washers. These worked for about a day and then compression set in and it can not hold up its own weight any more. Other than that it is a pretty neat feature. If I build another one I would probably use threaded rod and acorn nuts to assemble the ladder. This way I could tighten it as needed.
The truck is made out of solid wood so it is very heavy. It will actually be fun to see my son play with this toy when he is old enough.