- Product # 070532
- Type Paperback
- ISBN 978-1-56158-399-7
- Published Date 2001
- Dimensions 9 x 10-7/8
- Pages 176
- Photos color photos
- Drawings and drawings
There's a project for every woodworker -- and hours of imaginative play for the lucky kids who will get the trucks once they are made.
- Designs are varied and durable enough for kids who play hard
- Includes more than 300 photos and illustrations
- Projects have working parts -- from winches to rolling wheels.
- Table of Contents
1 Monster Truck
2 Pickup with Fifth-Wheel Travel Trailer
3 Dump Truck
4 Tow Truck
5 Flat-Deck Truck
6 Log Truck
8 Log Loader
9 Semi Truck
10 Low-Bed Truck
12 Tandem Cabover Truck
Although I have built projects from kitchen cabinets to Queen Anne reproductions, few have been as enjoyable and rewarding as these wooden toys. Part of this has been the pleasure that comes from seeing children's eyes light up as they receive and play with the toys and part of it is the enjoyment of the toy-making process itself.
It is reassuring to find out that in a world of battery- powered, remote-controlled toys, attractive, handmade wooden toys still hold great kid appeal. Not only are the toys popular, they are inexpensive and reasonably easy to make -- a sort of "no pressure" project. There are no hand-cut dovetails and no mortise-and-tenon joints. Because the parts are small, if one is cut undersize a new one can be made quickly and inexpensively. Furthermore, the undersize part may very well work anyway -- does it really matter if the exhaust stack is 1/16 in. or 1/8 in. short? Not likely.
The projects in this book are toys, not models. Models are wonderful things to build -- and where possible these toys look like models -- but the first goal of this book was always to make durable toys that kids love to use. Our two younger children, Kevin and Lisa, along with their friends, played with the prototypes and supplied many comments and suggestions along the way. Kevin was and is an active, energetic lad, to put it mildly, so each of these toys has gone through repeated design cycles until it is "Kevin proof." Short of repeatedly hurling the toys across the room (which Kevin never tried), they should last many years and even a generation or two.
The second goal is to make it possible for a toy maker of limited experience to have success in making quality toys, using a limited amount of equipment. To that end, the steps are detailed clearly, using photographs to illustrate all but the simplest steps. Some expert woodworkers will find more photographs than they really need, but no one should find fewer than he or she needs.
You will not likely read this type of book as you would a novel. You may start with the skidder in chapter 7, then build the dump truck in chapter 3. For this reason, there is some repetition from chapter to chapter. I have dealt with each chapter assuming it was the first one you decided to tackle. However, the toys are grouped together when it is natural for them to be used together: For example, the log truck, skidder, and log loader are in consecutive chapters.
There is no doubt that accomplished woodworkers will have other ways of doing certain things. Similarly, you may find design additions or changes you would like to make as you go along. If the toys are intended for very young children, you may want to omit some of the smaller parts or shorten the exhaust stacks to cab height, for example.
Although expensive machines are not required, the good setup of each machine is required. This is especially important in the absence of a jointer or planer. Take time to set the disk-sander table exactly square to the disk and to set the bandsaw table exactly square to the blade. In this way the parts can be squared up as accurately as needed for any of the toys. (For that matter, a jointer is not much use either, unless the table and fence are set accurately.)
Gluing and clamping
The toys in this book were assembled using common white carpenter's glue (PVA). This glue does not need extreme clamping pressure -- in fact, excessive pressure produces a weaker joint than moderate pressure. If the parts fit together nicely without clamping, then I generally do not clamp them. Rubbing the parts with a small side-to-side motion will squeeze the glue thin enough that you can suddenly feel it start to grab. At this point, the part can be left alone, and the resulting joint will be very strong -- generally stronger than the wood itself.
This being the case, much of the assembly of these toys is greatly simplified because some parts are odd shaped and cannot be clamped easily.
When the glue surface is large, such as in a laminating operation, clamps are needed to eliminate gaps in the joint. In these cases clamping is required, but use only enough pressure to bring the parts together. Where the parts join snugly without gaps, clamping is generally not necessary.
If in doubt, glue a few small scrap pieces together without clamping, then try to break them. You will likely be impressed with the strength of the joint.
Some toy parts have curves or many hole locations that can be marked out much easier if a template is used. At the end of each chapter, you will find templates if required, although the measurements are given in the drawings if you would rather measure. If you decide to use the templates, there are a few options regarding their use.
Some of the templates are full size and some have been reduced. Ideally you can photocopy the reduced templates on a machine that can adjust the size to the needed dimensions. This can be a trial-and-error procedure until the drawing comes out with the required overall dimension.
The template can be traced using carbon paper or can be cut out and traced around, or you could rub the underside with pencil lead, which transforms the template into carbon paper. If using a carbon-paper option, a ballpoint pen seems to work better for tracing than a pencil. Sometimes it is easiest to mark the hole centers and outlines using an awl to press through the template, making small indentations in the wood. These marks are then joined using a straightedge and a pencil.
The best method probably depends on the type of part being made, although it is hard to go wrong.
Choice of wood
These toys are made of hardwood and those types of hardwood that are actually hard. The woods that seems to stand up best are maple, birch, walnut, and equivalent-strength woods. I made a few toys using oak, but somehow the dramatic grain took away from the appearance of the toy machine. So in the end, the best woods were the ones that were hard but had less visible grain.
To get the dramatic color differences for the fenders of the trucks and other miscellaneous parts, I bought or begged a few small pieces of bloodwood and purpleheart. I happened to see these in a joinery shop and chose them because they were a nice color and were available. Small pieces of exotic woods can be purchased from a variety of companies such as Lee Valley. The toys look much sharper with a few accents.
Ideally these toys are made from quality hardwoods. This will reduce the wear and tear that forms in the way of small dents and chips as children play. Also, assuming you may be making these toys without the use of a thickness planer or jointer, you will want some wood that is already sized. There are several ways to obtain this wood.
Many cabinet shops and even high-school shops have small scraps of hardwood. Since many parts are only a few inches long or wide, small scraps are useful. Often lumber building-supply stores will stock small boards of planed hardwood. As mentioned before, some hobby stores and woodworker supply stores, such as Lee Valley, sell small blocks of exotic hardwoods, perfect for small parts. As you will notice here and there in the book, Baltic plywood is sometimes an option, and this can be purchased at most hobby stores. It is made of many thin veneers and, while expensive for full sheets, is reasonable in the small amounts needed here.
Most of the toy parts do not require planed wood. Generally the parts are rough-sawn on the bandsaw and then planed or sanded.
Wheels and axle pins
Most of these toys use standard wheels, readily available from hobby stores and mail-order companies. They are 2 in. dia., with the exception of the pickup and travel trailer of chapter 2, which uses 11/2-in. wheels. Axle pins are available wherever the wheels are sold. While these wheels can be made, it is a time-consuming process if you want them to look as good as the factory-made wheels do. The handmade wheels used on the loaders and the monster truck still use the standard axle pins to attach them.
It defeats the purpose of a hobby if the process becomes a chore. There certainly will be moments of frustration, but these can be reduced to a minimum if each detail is not taken too seriously. The toys in the photos are not perfect. Here and there, if you could inspect closely, you would see gaps, misaligned parts, and machine marks not sanded out. There were times when I cut the part too short, but if it still looked fine I left it alone and just changed the drawing a little. Even so, I still figure they turned out to be great-looking toys, almost as good as yours will be.
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- Awesome Trucks Review by Derrick
The author has obviously spent a great deal of time developing these plans. The trucks are all proportionally well done so that they feel like minature versions of the real thing.
The one thing I don't like about the book is that the thicknesses of pieces vary substantially within and between any given project(s). This makes it more difficult to use small scraps to make parts since the thicknesses aren't necessarily common sizes. Additionally, two nearly identical parts for different projects may have different thicknesses meaning you have to build all the parts specific to each project.
Bottom line, I can't wait to build some of these for my kids, but I'll have to wait until I have a thickness planer to do so.
(Posted on 12/25/12)
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