As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.
Video detailing Part One of the construction process:
Video detailing Part Two of the construction process:
If you are interested in building your own version of this project, I have a set of detailed plans available for purchase for a modest price.
This includes 1:1 plans which you can print out and tape (or glue) together to create full size traceable plans for Bending Form to make the curved sides, which I think is the most challenging part of the project. Read More... »
I think that the most challenging part of the build is making the curved sides. To make that process painless, I used the Woodgears.ca BigPrint Program to make a 1:1 plan for the bending form.
With that plan it is a fairly simple process to glue together some scrap plywood, glue the plan to the plywood, and cut out the bending form. This is then sanded and wrapped in packing tape.
I ripped a bunch of thin strips of Hard Maple, and one strip of Teak. My strips were a bit less than 1/8" in thickness. I have a push stick (in the left of the photo) dedicated for ripping super-thin pieces.
I used West System epoxy to glue up the strips to make the laminated curved sides. I was very pleased that none of my strips snapped. It was interesting to compare the Teak with the Maple, as the Teak was definitely more flexible. I used epoxy because I wanted a really strong bond, and as little spring-back as possible.
Here, everything is mostly clamped in place. I made clamp blocks that were also wrapped in clear packing tape, as I did not want to have my clamps stick to the workpiece!
After it was dry I cleaned it up on the jointer, ripped to width on the tablesaw, and cleaned up all the epoxy squeeze-out on the spindle sander.
I drew up the wheels in CAD and also used BigPrint to generate 1:1 plans for them. It makes cutting out the wheels very easy, and also helps with locating all the holes that need to be drilled.
After drilling the holes I then took the wheels to the router table and used a roundover bit to ease all the edges, being careful to NOT roundover the holes that would later receive a dowel.
The wheels are used to help figure out where to cut off the bottom of the cured pieces. I left a bit of space above the wheel to makes sure that the inward-curve of the side pieces would not rub.
I used the fence on the Tablesaw to help line up the bottom of the curved pieces. I drew a perpendicular line (on a piece of tape) and used that for alining the two tops to make sure that both were the same. Then I marked and cut off the top.
I could then glue the two pieces together. I also needed to add two extra pieces of maple to thicken up the top. My curved sides turned out to be a bit less than 1/2" in thickness and I needed more substance there for when I attached the handles.
I also added decorative and reinforcing dowels above and below where the handle will be installed.
I again used epoxy to glue the handles in place. As I said before, I don't have a lathe. These handles are shaker pegs that I bought at Lee Valley (Link below). The tenons on these pegs are tapered, so I trimed them a bit to make them more round and trust the epoxy to hold.
Now there is lots of measuring and figuring. I measured between the two sides to see how much space is available for the wheel assembly. I allowed 1/8" for space, measured the thickness of the wheels, and used that to cut the noisemaker mounting dowels to size. In the next photo I am test-fitting the dowels and making sure it all fits between the curved sides.
I then measure the space between the wheels and use that to figure out how thick to make the noisemaker blocks. They don't need to all be the same thickness! I had some that where about 1" thick, and some that were just under 3/4" thick. As long as all eight of them add up to enough to almost fill the space between the wheels, you're good.
I also made CAD 1:1 plans for the noisemaker blocks. It wasn't really necessary, but it just makes things simpler. I glued the plans to the stock, cut them out, sanded them, and then rounded over their edges on the router table.
Here the wheel assembly is dry-fitted and placed between the curved sides. Make sure that all the noisemaker blocks swing freely!
The next step is to lay out the spreader bar. Trace the curve from the sides onto the spreader bar and cut it out very carefully. I gave it some touch-up sanding and then glued it into place with Gel CA glue.
I next added two reinforcing dowels into either end of the spreader bar. They're decorative as well, but the main reason to put them there is to hold the spreader bar in place!
On my original push toy, I used wooden "smoke stack" toy parts as the axle stubs. (shown in this photo) These were no longer available here so I had to come up with something else. (They may still be available at Hobby Lobby or similar craft stores in the US.)
Instead I used short stubs of 3/4" dowel, and I bought some 1-1/4" wooden bals to glue on the end. When drilling the hole in the ball I accidently burned a ring into the ball from friction. I liked the effect, so I then did it on purpose on the other one.
For a finish I used Clapham's Beeswax Salad Bowl Finish. This is the same beeswax + mineral oil finish that I use on all my cutting boards. It is a quick and easy wipe-on paste finish. It is also completely food safe, which seemed like a good idea for a kids toy.
I glued the four dowels into one of the wheels. Once the epoxy had dried, I mounted the 8 noisemaker blocks and then glued on the other wheel. When gluing the second wheel I was very carefull with how I placed the dabs of Five Minute epoxy, as I did not want any squeeze out at all.
(Next Photo) And then I glued in the axle stubs, also with Five minute epoxy.
Thanks for reading!