Make a Wooden Wagon for your Children: Psychologists call it a Duchenne smile, but you’ll know it as the reaction you’re hoping for when you’ve given a foolproof gift: Your recipient’s eyes glaze over as you think. A wave of helpless happiness washes over his face. A perfectly executed store-bought gift can certainly evoke that kind of response, but the smile you get from something you make creates a bigger rush.
Read More: How to Make a Handmade Dino Toy as a Gift
This gift will make your recipient appreciate the letters, the craftsmanship, and your care and patience. In return, you’ll get a smile worth all your hard work.
A toy wagon is a classic. It requires no batteries, is nearly impossible to run out of, and never goes out of style. Your children will take to the dog within a week. And if you build your wagon well, someday their children may use it for the same purpose.
Build the body
Build the wagon box parts and apply latex primer. Attach the side panels to the front and back panels with wood glue and 6d finish nails. Paint everything red, 0r any color (but the best wagons are red). Drill a ¼-inch hole for the steering bolt through the bottom panel.
Create the side rail, back rail, and batten. Mark the curve on the back and side rails. Cut the curves with a jigsaw and a 20-TPI (teeth per inch) blade. Prime and paint these parts. Once they are dry, attach each batten to the side of the wagon and finish with a pair of 1-inch No. 6 wood screws and end washers.
Add running gear.
A good farm wagon runs on strong running gear, and so does a good toy wagon. Cross-cut plywood and solid wood blocks for wheel trucks, and then glue and screw them together. Apply a coat of polyurethane to the outside of both. Glue the two rear-wheel trucks to the bottom panel, and wait for the glue to dry before driving a pair of ¾-inch screws with finish washers through the bottom panel and into the wood blocks.
Cross-cut the wood for the steering yoke; Cut out the curve on the front edge using a jigsaw. Use a 20-TPI blade to cut curves. Smooth the front edge, and drill a hole for the eye screw that will attach the handle to the yoke. Carefully center and drill the bolt holes in the yoke. Now glue and screw the front wheel trucks to the yoke in the same way you attached the rear trucks to the wagon. This completes the yoke assembly. Apply a coat of polyurethane to the top of the yoke. When it is dry, attach the yoke to the body of the wagon.
Attach the handle and wheels.
To make the handle, cross-cut the dowels, then place the small dowel in a vise and use a spade bit to drill a hole in the center. Apply polyurethane to both dowels, then glue and screw the short dowel to the long one. Bore a pilot hole for the eye screw in the opposite end of the long dowel. To attach the handle to the wagon, attach a large eyescrew to a small eyescrew. First, turn the small screw into the handle and the large screw into the steering yoke. Then slide the larger screw through the gap in the smaller one.
Cut the axle bolts to length, and install the wheels, washers, and bolts on each truck. Gently tighten the cap nuts. There you have it: a classic holiday gift for kids. The only thing that will make them happy is if you put it under the tree with a dog. We can’t teach you how to make one of these.
What kind of wood did they use to build covered wagons?
Designed for hauling heavy loads over rough roads, the covered wagons could carry as much as six tons of freight; each one was handcrafted from wood (including oak and poplar).
What was in a covered wagon?
The covered wagon consisted of a wooden bed covered by canvas stretched over wooden hoops riding on top of iron-covered wooden wheels and iron axles. Covered wagons had two main purposes: transporting people with their belongings and supplies on long journeys and hauling cargo across difficult terrain.