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Wooden Wagon


PLEASE see the warning at the bottom.

Here is a fairly simple wooden wagon that I constructed this past winter/spring. For the most part, it's just a box on wheels. However figuring out the front wheel assembly was somewhat tricky. I copied that from a wagon plan in a book by Janet and Rickard Strombeck. (Either "Classic Toys in Wood" or "Making Timeless Toys in Wood", I forget which).

I used solid ash (~ 7/8" thick) for most of the construction. This is meant for the boys to play with hard, outside, and in all conditions; so I did not try anything too fancy in the joinery. It's glued butt joints, together with lots of stainless-steel wood screws. I finished it in several coats of flecto varathane diamond finish (water based); a marine formula, to hopefully help it withstand the elements.

The wheels are 'surplus' lawnmower wheels from my brother. They don't have any bearings. Thanks to the ash, the wagon is pretty heavy, so pneumatic tires with good bearings would be a good idea to make it roll easier

I have to explain the handle... from the photo you can see that it has a bit of an odd bend in it. Being over 6 feet tall, I wanted a nice long handle so I wouldn't have to bend over when pulling the wagon. I'd used up most of my ash by this point, but found this nice long piece of maple in my wood pile, so I used it even with the funky bend.

Photo Gallery

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No my son isn't in pain. We're squinting in the bright sunshine.

Warning: (Three years later -- Jan 2004).
Everyone is different. Every child is different. You never know what your kids are going to like, and what they aren't.

For us, this toy was a failure.

There is a fairly simple explanation for that. It's too heavy!!!! Yeah, I used solid ash, so it would be rugged. Right. It's too heavy. The first time we piled the kids in for a walk around the block (2km) we realized just how heavy it was. I think we took it out around the block just that once. Maybe some better wheels and bearings would help. For us, we came across a plastic wagon in the trash - replaced the broken wheel, and that is the one that stays in the garage. The kids play with it, we pull them around the block. It's light as a feather. Yes, it is (ugh), plastic. The wooden wagon moved into the basement where it has mostly sat unused over the past 3+ years.

I call this a learning experience.

March 2004 - Broken! The kids were horsing around with the wagon in the basement and the wood snapped where one of the front wheel's was atached. Looks like a simple fracture across the grain. I can see in hindsight that this was a weak point. That's probably the death knell for this particular project. I plan to disassemble it for other use.


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