A little wooden aeroplane toy made from recycled hardwood, and scrap pine. My young son pulled a book off my shelf the other day and wouldn’t you know it, it was a book on wooden toys! I didn’t much care for most of the designs, but there was one aeroplane I thought looked pretty nice so I took that as a sign to get off my bum and get back into the shed 🙂
The original design was really quite huge from my perspective, so I photocopied the templates to half the intended scale (ending up about 25 cm wingspan). I dug out some scrap wood and glued the templates on, then off to the bandsaw I went. I used a darker hardwood for the smaller parts and wings, and pine for the main body. (The model is based roughly on the “Piper Cub” aircraft; an old US plane from the 1940s/50s).
The templates were pretty useful for the main parts, though I did find myself adjusting a few things as I found the ratios of the design didn’t look right to me. Still, templates were a big time saver.
Next came the tricky bit, drilling series of holes off at some angles to take the very thin dowel I would use for the shafts and struts. I really need to get some bradpoint drill bits as this was really quite hard to do accurately with normal drills wondering off centre very easily. It took me a good hour just messing about with the best way to hold the parts, and doing some test drilling in scraps before using the real parts.
So far so good.
The smaller the parts the longer they seem to take. At this point I appreciated that there was perhaps some wisdom in making this at full scale as all the parts would be larger and so easier to handle. Still, no regrets, as I was really happy with how everything was looking. This last stage must have taken as much as 3 hours which seems so crazy. There were small end caps to retain the propeller and wheels; and the wheels and and wing struts.
I pre-sanded all the parts by hand to 240 grit, then glued everything in place. Taking quite a bit of care to avoid glue marks so I wouldn’t have to touch up the sanding too much. I used the simple trick of rubbing fine sawdust over any glue squeeze out to mop it up. Works a treat plus it fills up any minor gaps.
And at last it was time for a finish. I went for some “Scandinavian Teak Oil” I’ve had for years, which, being an oil and varnish mix, gave the contrast a nice kick and added a little extra protection.
Done and dusted. I really hope this toy lasts the test of time as I’m pretty proud of how it came out. Even if my son never plays with it, making a toy like this has been a decent project. There are a surprising number of different tools and techniques needed for toy making so it’s a good skill builder. Plus hell, I like the thing, so if my boy doesn’t want it, it can sit on my desk at work 🙂