Monday, April 1, 2013

Spotlight Feature – A Woodworking Developer


Hubby often shows his coworkers some of the projects that he has accomplished in our house. They were especially impressed with his woodworking skills when it came to building our buffet from scratch. Then, he made a giant desk out of an old door and recycled cabinets. His coworkers always ooooed and ahhhhed over such expertise.

He is the hero at work, no doubt. And not just because he has fierce computer skills.

One guy in particular noticed that Hubby was a miracle worker. And then he realized that he could show off some of his own wood skills right here on this ol’ blog! Hubby asked if I would be willing to spotlight his coworker’s work, and I was all for it!

So today, I’m featuring one of Hubby’s coworker’s projects. We’ll call him Woody, to protect the guilty innocent. And he made a super-cool kid truck out of wood.

His first step was wood selection.

In his own words, Woody says, “First select the wood that will be used for the project. I like to use two shades of wood that contrast. A darker color for the body (or you can stain when done) and lighter for the wheels. For the body in this set of pictures, I got a standard 1”x5” piece of red oak from the local hardware store. A good hard wood is preferred for the body due to the variety of drill press/holes drilled. This will reduce blowout on the reverse side. For the wheels, any kind of generic white wood is good. This time I used a simple pine. For axels, ¼” dowels are used (any type).”


Woody continued, “Now that you have the wood selected, take your pattern and trace the body onto the wood. There is no need at this time to locate the axels or window holes, or to trace the wheels since that will be done later. The wheels will be cut using a 2” hole saw.”


In Woody’s words, “Use the band saw to quickly rough out the cut. If you are using more of a hard wood like the red oak in this picture, you will want to take your time and be precise with your cuts. The harder the wood, the more difficult it is to sand, and the more likely you will have burn marks when sanding.”


Looks like Woody did a great job completing the rough cut on the band saw to give a good initial look of the truck body!


Woody says, “Use a palm sander to perform any sanding and smoothing of the sides and light touch-up to the edges. If more touch-up is needed on the edges, a belt sander is recommended. I use a simple 1” belt sander for most of the touch-up in this photo.”

Hubby and I have a similar palm sander and love it like a small child!


It’s drill press time! Let’s make some wheels!

Woody continues, “Using a 2” hole saw with a good side slot for removing the piece, you can quickly cut out the uniform circles needed for the four wheels. Make sure that your pilot bit is ¼” to match the diameter of your dowel/axels. This is a quick process to get consistent results.”


A great tip from Woody, “It is sometimes helpful to clamp the piece of wood to the drill press while drilling the wheels. I have also found it particularly useful to use a good clean piece of wood behind the piece you are cutting to obtain a cleaner cut on the backside of the wood.”


“Once you’ve cut through the piece of wood, your wheel will be lodged in the hole saw bit. You will need to use a small flat screw driver to remove it carefully from the hole saw bit. You will want to be careful at this point that you don’t pry too hard and mar the piece of wood that will be your wheel. If you do happen to get some marring, don’t panic…this can always be the inside of the wheel, as the inside is hardly seen.”


Now it’s time to head back to the belt sander.

Woody says, “After the wheels are all cut, take them over to the 1” belt sander for touch-up. Using the belt, you can quickly smooth out the edges of the wheel. I found it easiest to use a palm sander to smooth out the sides of the wheel.”


“Using a paper template and push pins, push a hole thru the paper pattern and into your truck wood body. This will give you the precise location of your axels and window pilot holes. I keep two patterns. One is made of wood to more easily trace the initial body of the truck. The other is paper for this push pin section of the piece.”


Let’s drill some axels!

“Use a 9/32” drill bit to drill the axel holes. This hole is ever so slightly larger than the ¼” diameter axels which will allow them to roll smoothly. Either hold the piece firm to a backer piece of wood, or use clamps to ensure the piece does not move.”


Next up is to drill some window holes.

Woody says, “Each window starts as a hole in the drill press on either side of the window. One window is 3/8” in diameter, while the other is 5/8”. Using the push pin holes in the step above, you can locate these four holes to start the window creation process.”


“Once you have the four holes that make up the two windows, you will want to use a straight edge to trace straight lines between each of the two window holes.”


“With the lines in place, use a scroll saw to thread the blade through the holes in the previous step and cut out the windows.”


Now we’re ready to add some axel holes.

Woody continues, “The last step in fabrication is to cut the axels. Our piece in this picture measures 2 ¼” wide. This is two wheels at ¾” each and one body section at ¾”. I like to leave ¼” extra in the axel to allow for spacing from the body. So each axel is cut at 2 ½” wide. After cutting them on the band saw, I use the 1” belt sander above to round over the outer edges for better fit into the wheels.”

It is just a computer guy thing to be so patient?


“Now that all pieces are cut, it is important to dry fit everything. Place the axels into the wheels to ensure a proper fit. If any fine tuning is needed, now is the time.”


Now comes the making-it-pretty step of staining.

Woody says, “Salad bowl finish is preferred on a project like this. This toy is used by little kids who may be teething. Salad bowl finish is a safe product to ensure there is no danger to young children. I would recommend getting a good box of disposable latex gloves as well. This will save a lot of hassle come clean up time.”


“I prefer to do at least two coats of salad bowl finish. In between coats, find a good dry/warm place to let the pieces set.”

This is always the hardest part for me…the dry time!


The finished product!

Woody ends by saying, “Once everything is finished, it’s time to assemble. I first assemble one side of each wheel by gluing the axel into one of the wheels (for each axel). Once that sets, I thread each axel thru the truck body and glue the other wheel to the other side of the axel. Make sure to apply glue after threading the axel through the truck body or you will yell at yourself. And there you have it. A fun little project that will bring smiles to the little ones in your life.”

When I was reading through his process and admiring the pictures, I was so impressed with Woody’s skills! His tutorial is wonderful enough that you could follow these steps to make your own!

I guess Hubby isn’t the only one at work who is also handy with a saw…

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