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article number 116
article date 03-29-2012
copyright 2012 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
World’s Greatest Homemade, Wood Toy Truck
by Uncle George Moment

I lied. It’s not the greatest, although 20 years from now the kid who received this toy truck from me may still admire it …

… So, maybe I didn’t lie. Maybe it is the greatest when a kid finds out that not all gifts have to be store bought.

It is built to last and it is built to be repairable.

Most of you can design and build much better than I can but this article may make a project like this seem more doable. It does show the steps needed to get the job done.

This article doesn’t give specific plans. You will see my simple drawings and know what to draw for your kid’s (or grandkid’s) truck. This truck is a 3-wheeler with the 3rd wheel in the rear. I did it this way so that the kid could maneuver it easier by controlling the rear end. The rear wheel is a strong plastic 4 inch wheel. The front wheels are home made.

This wood is a 1 X 4. Measures ¾ inch by 3 ½ inch. Found a hole saw which makes a 3 ½ in inside hole. These will be the front tires.
Many of us need to sketch out plans … well rough sketches. I’ll need to know the width so I can cut the axels to the correct length.
These ¼ inch diameter axles will be inserted into the wheels and will be retained by hardware store clevis pins (in this case, 3/16 inch diameter). Oh … the axles are drilled to accept the 3/16 in clevis pins.
To the left is a ¼ in steel tube for the front axle. Mounted in the vise is bigger stock for drilling out, just larger than ¼ inch for bushings.
After drilling, the bushing stock is cut off with a hack saw and filed smooth. Hey they really turned out to be about ¾ inch thick, same as the wood.
To avoid wrecking our new wheels I pounded the bushings into scrap wood to ensure that it wouldn’t split. The whole in the wood is the same size as the bushing diameter.
I used thick glue in the wood holes, then pounded in the bushings ... wiped off the excess glue. Turned out nice.
The plans I drew showed a 4 inch plastic tire in the rear. To make a slot in the base, I started by using a hole saw to make two holes beyond the ends where the tire will go …
… then used a saber saw to finish the slot.
Cutting the sides in a band saw.
Cutting the sides in a table saw. I’m such a poor wood worker that both had equally poor workmanship. But that’s OK. The gift will still be appreciated.
Trial fitting the sides. Hey, we’re getting somewhere.
Need to locate the last hole in the clevis pin and make a small cross hole in the axle.
Trial fitting the axle and wheels. The last hole in the hardware store clevis pins was just inside the truck sides … lucky. Note the holes drilled and lock pins inserted into the holes. I will cover the lock pins with screwed on, hollowed out wood blocks just to make the set-up kid-proof. Trouble is, at age two, the kid already uses screwdrivers … with a parent present of course.
Put more bushings in the sides of the truck. This truck is built to last.
The single rear wheel rides on a 3/16 inch hard piano wire axle. Piano wire was cut-off, slightly longer, with a grinder, then ends ground down and smoothened. Spaces were made of 1 inch diameter nylon rod. Rear sides of truck were bushed for the axels, just like the front wheels. Almost forgot that the bushing holes are smaller … 3/16 inch rather than the ¼ inch used for front axels.
Now the truck sides were tack glued together and to the base. This would hold the truck together while drilling screw holes. Note rear axle is fitted while assembling. I figured the alignment would be off if I left the axel off. Didn’t worry about the front axle because it is much wider and would probably have less alignment problems.
I’m usually sloppy especially when I help you screw in a wood deck for your home … but decided to be accurate on this project. I marked and punched where the screw holes would go … then pilot drilled the holes in two steps so that the screws would not split the wood.
Dummy me! I didn’t notice that a couple of the screws holes were placed close to the axel bushing. Just marked another hole, ¼ inch away.
Another dummy me! Needed to allow for screws from the interior of the truck bed to the rear side frames. You can see where the tack glue was. It was much stronger that I thought it would be. Used the 4 pound sledge to knock the front off.
All screwed together. Thin plywood will be screwed over the rear axle bushing to retain the rear axle.
View of underside.
Rolls great. Built strong … but you can do better. A very enjoyable project … and kids like trucks … especially ones you make. 20 years from now the kid will pull it out and ask you how you made it.
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