Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The new Tug Boat

There are many people that have received a tug boat from me.  It seems to be the baby shower gift of choice.  The original tug boat came from the Making Heirloom Toys.  It was a pretty simple toy that could be made in mass quantities.  There was a couple things that I did not like about it.  The first was the wood that wasted in making these tug boats.  It was a lot of template work so the board had to be wide enough to fit the template.  The second (this was my choice) they were made out of two different woods for color.  This involved gluing pieces together and so there was a a little bit of preparation to make these. I was also not a fan of the router work.  It was a lot of passes for a good smooth finish.  However they were an easy build and I enjoyed making them.  I have worn out two templates and four router bits to make these boats. Each one is unique and does float even though I do not recommend it.  This pattern changes some of the things that I makes it easier for me to make while still maintaining the parts that I love about the original design.
The main thing that I changed was no more pattern routing.  It was a pain to set up and there was a fair amount of waste.  All the parts are cut out either on the table saw or scroll saw.  I still have the two different species of wood for color even though the oak and dark maple do not create a lot of contrast in this one.  Scrap and setup has been reduced.  I also don't ruin router bits and bushings to make this toy.  The roof can also be made out of the cut out from the part that sits on the hull.  My favorite part about this toy.  It is compact and fits in small hands.  There are a lot of places to grip and touch.  It also slides really well on carpet.

Here are a couple of pictures of the old and new versions of the tug boats.  Sorry about the color combination of the old version.  I had beech and green poplar when making them.  It looked better prior to staining.

Here are a couple of things I took away from this project: 
  • This is not in my normal scope of design. I would like to design everything our of standard dimensioned lumber.  This has some 1/2" thick pieces in it.  It is not the end of the world.  This is how I am designing all my trucks.
  • Shellac goes bad.  It does not take much to finish toys so my one pint of shellac lasts a little while, so I thought.  I ruined some measuring sticks because the shellac did not cure.  I noticed when finishing the boats, it took a little while for the shellac to not be tacky.  I guess shellac does not last long after the bottle has been opened.  So my two options are to make my own shellac or buy the aerosol cans.  I think I will try making my own.  Like most wood terminology the mixture is confusing.  Good thing there is the internet to define what is a  2 lb cut of shellac.
  • I am debating whether I need the lower cabin windows.  Opinions would be appreciated.

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