My shop Christening project…

5 Mar

By the time my shop was finally furnished and tinkered with sufficiently, I realized that I needed to select a first project to work on in my new space.

A no brainer…

The timing was such that Christmas was on the horizon and I had a brand new Nephew that I was itching to spoil (he was to hit Six months of age by the time Christmas came). I’d also very conveniently picked up this book for $1 at a used book store during the summer.

Simple designs with cut lists and diagrams already planned out.


Since I’d brought over all the wood that was stored in various parts of my apartment I had plenty of scrap wood to use. I selected three plans, a truck, it’s flat bed trailer, and a bulldozer that fit onto the trailer. I carefully laid out all the wood necessary for the project and selected only hardwoods but varied the colours to create interest. I did have to go out and buy different diameters of dowel rods.

I needed at least six different dowel sizes

The tools…

Since all the scrap I had was already 4squared I just needed to cut to dimension and add any curves, coves, holes, roundovers and chamfers. I had to use the table saw to cut a cove into the bulldozer’s blade. I had to go out and buy a hole saw set because the ones I had were shoddy and ineffective.

An investment... I tell myself

The time…

There were surprising amounts of procedures for each toy part, and more parts than the simple designs lead you to believe. I couldn’t really tell you exactly how long it took because I broke up the build over several short sessions, I estimate that it took about two weekends total.


A few of the machines I have on loan from family were used to cut carbon. As a result I found carbon dust appearing everywhere as I worked. I was so glad when I started sanding all my toy parts because they cleaned up really well. I’ve since blown out the machines more- but am not completely rid of carbon dust. I was also ever glad to FINISH sanding all the parts- the process was long and the parts were many!


Assembly required patience that I didn’t always have because the parts needed to be assembled in logical orders and it was sometimes necessary to wait for one part to dry before moving onto the next glue up. It also became apparent that some of my machine set ups, and or the original 4squared parts, where not completely square. I wasn’t pleased about this but I realised that was what this shop christening project was for- to iron out the kinks in the machine setups, and fix my own mistakes.

The bulldozer had many tiny parts to glue together

The flat bed trailer pre-assembly

The final product…

All in all I was pleased with the final product, and it was done weeks before Christmas too because I had to leave town. They roll surprisingly well!

All done.

And the finish…

Right, and since I was giving these toys to my nephew who still feels out the world by putting parts of it in his mouth, I decided on a non-toxic mineral oil finish.

Even mineral oil pops the wood colour and grain patterns

I decided that I probably won’t make toys again, and will try to avoid projects with small parts. They are time consuming and I’m not sure that people realize the value of them. These toys are going to be family heirlooms simply because there won’t be anymore like them!

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