Wood Toy Cars and Trucks for Charity

Wood toy cars and trucks for christmas charity

Making toys for charity using scrap wood. Here are the 50 wood toy cars and trucks I made for Christmas charities this year. There are seven different types. I do different ones so I don’t get bored. Using a router table to round the edges is what gives the toys a finished look. Many are made by gluing baltic birch plywood together to get the desired thickness. Our club, Woodworkers of Whittier, gets scraps donated, so it is a good way to use them. Here is another post I did on making them Making Toy Cars. The club buys the wheels Here is a good place to buy wooden wheels and shapes in quantity california dowel. A hint- when drilling the 7/32nd inch axel holes, drill both holes from the same side all the way through. This keeps the wheels in the same plane, even if you end up drilling at a slight angle. If you don’t, all wheels may not touch the ground.

wood toy trucks for charity

Here are the trucks I made from common 2×4 pine. You do have to rip a lot of 1/4″ thick slats for the beds of the trucks. Here is the post showing the plans for this simple wood toy truck.

 

Simple Wood Toy Truck

Wood toy truck

 

This is how to build a simple wood toy truck made from a common 2×4 wood “framing stud”. Also can be made from scrap wood, the free Plans are included below. You find 2×4 framing lumber at any home center. Make sure you get the kiln dried (KD) one and check for straightness, the edges are not damaged, and looking at the end it is not “crowned” or it will make it impossible to cut straight pieces.

Left one is straight Right one is bowed

Left one is straight Right one is crowned

The wheels are 1 1/2″ birch store bought wheels with 1/4″ axles.You can get them at a craft store. I find them in bulk cheaper on ebay, Don’t forget the axel pegs. You will need a table saw or band saw to rip the pieces.  If you use a table saw with a 1/8th” thick blade, you can get 2 trucks from a 20″ long piece of wood. Rip a 1 1/4″ wide piece. Move the fence 3/8″ closer to the blade and rip a 1/4″ piece and repeat. Now you have the ripped pieces for 2 trucks. See plans for dimensions of cross cuts.Wood pieces

Sanding is very important to end up with a nice result. This is easiest to do before assembly, I usually end using 120-150 grit. . It is important the wheel axel holes are not mounted too high or the wheels will rub the bed. Drill them all the way through.Get children involved. The truck is just glued together. A child could sand a little, help clamp the pieces, tap in the wheel axels. Have fun with it. Please email pics of ones you make, especially if they are modified. I build these for my woodworkers group charity build.
simple wood toy trucksimple wood toy truck

 

Building Funny Bird House

Miesel Creature Birdhouse

Miesel Creature Birdhouse

I bought these plans from Meisel and thought I would review building this funny birdhouse. My bird house is called “City Beatnik” and there are two different plans included for $15. They have many “old man” type plans. Even more animals. These are full size drawings.  Here is a book by the same designer on Amazon, but they are not full size drawings except for the smaller parts.

IMG_1401Plans Funny Face BirdhouseIMG_1403

I found the full size plans useful and they include a cutting guide to get the most from your wood. It can be cut from a 1″x 10″x 8′ piece of pine or cedar. I used rough-cut reclaimed lumber, which caused me a bunch of headaches, because it was cupped. I did like the rough surface.

Let me first say  I use power tools that I have acquired over the years. I understand that many do not have the room or money for these. I think this birdhouse can be built using a jigsaw. With it use a straight edge and a protractor to set the angle of the blade for the bevel cuts. Sandpaper, glue, nails and a way to bore the 1 1/4″ hole and you are set. It would great to build with a kid . I still remember building a birdhouse with my grandfather and that was long ago.

I started by cutting all my pieces to the correct length. Using a crosscut sled I made for my table saw made this easier. Remember to cut to the waste side. Then cut to width. Theses are your blanks to cut the required angles and bevels on. I used my miter gauge to cut the angles for the end pieces. I actually cut the first end, then traced it on the second blank, cut it on the band saw to save time. Since I made mine out of reclaimed lumber and had to glue two pieces together to get the width, I needed to keep the seam centered so it looked right. This made it more difficult.

IMG_1407Cutting Birdhouse RoofIMG_1408

 

To cut the bevels on the sides, I set the bevel on my saw and used the sliding mitre gauge with an extended wood fence to get the piece close to the gauge while keeping my hand far away. Since the piece was already the correct length, I gradually cut the bevel with repeated passes until the bevel was completed.
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I found it easiest to work directly off the main drawing. I got a bit confused how they     measured the angles, so I just used a protractor to measure them.IMG_1433
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Assemble the sides and ends. I used 18 gauge nails and glue. Titebond II is weather resistant. As you can see my sides are cupped. Custom fit the bottom. If you are going to actually use it for birds to live in, then you need to be able to remove the bottom to clean out the old nests. I put a screw in each side to hold it in place. In the picture, the bottom is square, the sides are not. Drill the hole next.

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Next comes the part that makes this more than just an ordinary birdhouse–adding the face. I had read about using Glad Press’n Seal to transfer patterns to wood and gave it a try. It worked great! Posted about it here. Using a scroll saw, I cut out the pieces, sanding them smooth on a 1 inch belt sander.

Transferring image with PressnSealIMG_1448IMG_1449

After I had all the parts cut, I rounded the edges slightly. I used a 1/4″ router bit to round over the nose. Looking back, I wish I had rounded it over more. A file and sandpaper can get the same results. Now it is time to attach the face. I had an uneven surface to attach the pieces to. I glued the nostrils and the bottom of the eyes to the nose first. I actually drilled two holes and used screws and glue to attach the nose. I worked from inside the house using a stubby screwdriver. If you have a smooth surface, the screws probably are not necessary. Attach the rest of the parts as in the plans. I didn’t use the ears, because I did not like them.

IMG_1453Attaching face to bird house

After the glue has set, attach the roof. I found it easier to join the two roof pieces before putting them on the house. Lastly, attach the two acrylic eyeballs. These you have to buy from Meisel when you buy the plans.

IMG_1447Funny Face Birdhouse

In the end I am pleased with the results. The plans include a second birdhouse. I will make that one too, using new wood, saving me a lot of headaches.

Hope this has been helpful. Please post comments below. Especially if you have built a character birdhouse.

Easy Transfer of Patterns to Wood

 

IMG_1464This is an easy way to transfer cutting patterns to wood. Instead of using carbon paper, use something you may already have in your house, Glad Press’n Seal plastic wrap. I think this was a reader tip in Wood Magazine. I filed it away in my brain for future use. I used it when building a Funny Birdhouse.

Take a piece of Press’n Seal and smooth it down on to a dust free drawing or picture you want to transfer. Make sure the sticky side is down.  If the print on the film is readable you have it right. Really smooth it down using some pressure so it sticks. Now using a Sharpie, trace the pattern. When you are done peel it off.

Transfer it to the wood. Make sure the wood dust free so the film will stick. Smooth it downIMG_1463 using pressure. Work from the centre out. The film has a texture to it that acts like suction cups. When you have it down, cut off the excess with a razor knife.

Using a scroll saw or band saw cut out the pattern. I haven’t tried a jig saw. The film sticks well, but I don’t know if dragging the base of a jig saw across it would peel it off.

Don’t forget to peel of the film before gluing up. Like I almost did.

IMG_1448Birdhouse