What’s more classic than a kid’s wooden pull toy? Nothing! I’ve made the most awesome wobbly duck (ever 🙂 ) for my daughter Annabelle just in time for Christmas and thought at least one of you handy folks might enjoy a last minute excuse to get out to the shop!
- 3/4″ Hardwood (I used Maple)
- 1 1/4″ – 1 1/2″Wooden Dowel (I used Walnut)
- 1/4″ dowel (I used Oak dowel from Home Depot)
- Pull string (I used jute)
- Spray adhesive (I used Super 77)
- Roughing gouge and Spindle gouge
- Drill / Drill press
- 1/4″ & 3/8″ drill bit
- Chop saw / Table saw
Alright let’s get on with the project. First you’ll need an elf… Well actually no elfs required, just this template and your own awesomeness!
Print out your copy of Mr. Quackers (no scaling) and spray some Super 77 on the back. Then, attach it to a piece of Maple of your choice for Mr. Quackers’ body. When you spray Super 77, it’s a great idea to wear a mask so that the particulate doesn’t end up in your lungs. Think about it. Atomized adhesive, dust, and lungs = no good!
Cut out Mr. Quackers on the bandsaw.
Head over to the sander and smooth out the profile as much as possible. You’ll have to do some hand work in the corners of the beak. Oh, don’t turn on the sander with Mr. Quakers propped up like shown in the photo unless you want to see him fly across the shop!
Onto the handwork. I used a couple files and a hand sanding block to smooth out the corners around the beak.
Head over to the drill press (or use a hand drill) and put a ∅3/8″ hole where shown on the template.
Now it’s time to break out the palm sander and sand up to 220! Go nuts here if you want and take it up to 800 but it’s a kids toy after all and is sure to have some dents and scratches after a while. Once you’re done here, take some 120 or 220 and soften the edges.
Now onto my favorite part of the project! Time for some turning! Unless of course you just happen to buy a dowel for your wheels instead of making them. Now, there are many many ways for making dowels but for this project I only made a section big enough for the project at hand. Here’s how I went about it.
Chuck up a segment (or turn between centers) and turn as much as you comfortably can to ∅1 1/4″ – ∅1 1/2″.
Flip this segment end on end and turn to the same diameter. Yes, I changed chucks…
Once this section is turned, drill a hole through the length of the dowel that is ∅1/4″. The axle will go in this hole.
Ok, this next step isn’t exactly for the faint of heart so use as many hold down clamps as needed to complete these next few steps in a manor that you feel comfortable with.
First true up each end at 90°. Note the zero clearance fence and support that the dowel is resting on.
Now set the blade to 10° and cut through the zero clearance fence and support material. This way you’re only cutting the dowel then it’s time to do so. Line up and cut the dowel in half. I aimed for each piece to be about 1 1/2″ long, but make it work for you.
This next step is totally optional so feel free to skip it if you’d like. I put each wheel back on the lathe and just true up the side that’s cut at 10° as shown in the photos. I feel like this just tidies up the appearance a bit.
Alright, awesome sauce, it’s time for assembly! Rough out a length for the axle and cut it on the bandsaw. Round over one end of the axle on the bandsaw and press it into one of the wheels.
Now slide the axle through the ∅3/8″ hole in Mr. Quackers and press the other wheel on so that the 10° angles are opposite each other. Be sure to leave enough clearance that the wheels do not bind on the body as they rotate. Feel free to glue these in place, but I find that the press fit is sufficient. Don’t forget to add the pull string!
All that’s left is to tie the pull string around Mr. Quackers’ neck and have your certified toy inspector give it a look!