Tough-Enough Toy Truck

Comments (0)

This article is from Issue 51 of Woodcraft Magazine.

For play and display

Overall Dimensions: 6"w × 15"l × 7"h

This wood truck design aims at giving kids a fully functional toy for either the sandbox or carpet. Dads will enjoy building the laminated cab and rugged wheels, and moms will delight in the vehicle’s good looks and use as a boy’s room decoration. Most of all, the young truck driver will wear out the knees of his jeans hauling sand, stones, and wood scraps.

Walnut and maple serve as the primary woods, while maple axle pegs in two sizes provide realistic accents. During construction, you’ll learn how to machine small parts safely and discover a kerfing jig for making grooved tire treads.

Use a handscrew clamp to safely bevel-cut the cab motor hood blank at the bandsaw.
Clamp on a spacer block to the front of the lower cab assembly to locate the front axle support.

Bore into both ends of the front axle support to complete the through axle hole.

First, make the lower cab assembly

Note: Two designated parts in the lower cab assembly consist of glue-ups of more than one piece of wood. See Figure 2.

1 Mill one 4'-long piece of 1×6 walnut to 3⁄4" thick and a 2'-long piece of 1×6 to 3⁄8" thick.

2 Cut one piece of 3⁄4" walnut and one piece of 3⁄8" walnut to 55⁄8" wide by 6" long. Glue the pieces face to face, and then trim the lamination to the size in the Cut List for the cab motor hood (A).

3 Strike a line across the top face of the cab motor hood (A) blank 21⁄4" from one end and another line along the front end, where shown in Figure 2. Connect the lines on both edges to establish the tapered hood. Using a 3⁄4" blade with at least 3 TPI at the bandsaw, bevel-cut the blank (Photo A).

4 Use a random-orbit sander and 80- to 120-grit sandpaper to sand to the cutlines and remove saw marks.

5 Mark the angled cuts on the cab motor hood blank for part (A), where shown in Figure 2. Bandsaw off the waste, cutting just outside the line. Now, sand to the line at the disc sander.

6 To form the cab bottom (B), cut two pieces of 3⁄4" walnut stock to 4 × 33⁄8". Laminate them together, flushing the edges and ends. Now, from 3⁄8" stock, cut a 4 × 57⁄8" piece, and glue it to the top of the laminated walnut block, flushing the edges and one end, as shown in Figure 2. Sand the cab bottom as needed.

7 From 3⁄4" stock, cut the front axle support (C) to size. Bevel-cut the edges at 45°, where shown in Figure 2.

8 Cut a 1"-wide spacer and clamp it flush along the front edge of the lower cab assembly (A/B). Now, apply glue to the top face of the front axle support (C), and clamp the part against the spacer, flushing its ends with the lower cab assembly (Photo B).

9 After the glue dries, bore an 11⁄32" through hole in the front axle support (C), where shown in Figure 2 and as shown in Photo C.

10 Apply glue to the mating surfaces of the cab hood (A) and lower cab (B), and clamp the parts together, carefully flushing the edges and front ends. Later, remove the clamps and sand smooth.

11 Cut a 3⁄4" piece of walnut to 37⁄8 × 57⁄8" for the fender (D) blank. Mark a centered hole 13⁄4" from one end. To drill the hole, use a circle cutter.

Note: Position the cutter so its tip faces outside. At the drill press, clamp the workpiece in position, and then use the circle cutter to bore a 27⁄8"-diameter hole. Sand the hole with an oscillating spindle sander to remove burn marks.

12 Ripcut the blank for the fenders (D) to create two 17⁄8"-wide parts. Now glue the fenders to the uncompleted lower cab assembly (A/B/C), where shown in Figure 2, flushing the ends and edges. Sand the completed lower cab assembly smooth.

13 Mark the center points for the headlights and turn signal lights, where shown in the Headlights Detail in Figure 2. Using the correct bits, drill the holes to 1⁄2" deep.

14 Switch to a 11⁄4" Forstner bit, secure the lower cab assembly (A/B/C/D) to the drill press table and fence, and bore a 3"-deep hole into the front to remove waste, where shown in Figure 1. (Hollowing out the cab makes it lighter.) Later, you will cover the opening with the grill (I) and bumper (J).

Bevel-cut the windshield block, using a shoe-style pushstick with an abrasive edge or rubber sole to keep it down on the table and snug to the fence.
With the beveled edge of the windshield block against the saw fence, make several passes at the proper angle to cut the rabbets.

Cut 1⁄16"-deep kerfs to create the grill face, using pencil erasers to move the piece safely over the blade.

Add the cab top, bumper, and grill

1 Mill one 3'-long piece of 1 × 6" maple to 3⁄4" thick, a second 3'-long piece to 1⁄2" thick, a 30"-long piece to 3⁄8" thick, and a 1'-long piece to 1⁄4" thick.

2 Cut and laminate two pieces of 3⁄4"-thick maple to create a blank that measures 11⁄2" thick × 59⁄16" wide × 21⁄4" long for the windshield block (E).

3 From 3⁄8" walnut, cut the cab back (F) 1⁄16" long. Now, glue and clamp the piece to one edge of the windshield block (E). Let dry, and then trim the assembly to 51⁄2" wide. With the tablesaw blade angled at 10° from vertical, bevel-cut the front maple edge of the assembly, as shown in Photo D.

4 Adjust the tablesaw fence to 3⁄8" from the outside edge of the blade, and raise the blade to 3⁄8" high. Lock in a mitersaw extension fence at 90°. Now, with the front face of the windshield block assembly (E/F) face down, cut a kerf at one end. Flip the piece and kerf the other end. Next, adjust the miter gauge to 80°, and, with the windshield block on end, complete the rabbet cut where shown in Figure 3. Adjust the miter gauge to 80° in the opposite direction and repeat the process to complete the remaining rabbet, as shown in Photo E. (A 3⁄8" dado set would let you cut the rabbets on one pass.)

5 From 3⁄8"-thick walnut, cut the cab top (G) to size, plus 1⁄16" wider than the final dimension. Glue and clamp it to the windshield block assembly (E/F), flushing the piece at the ends and along the back edge of the cab back. (The piece should extend slightly over the front edge of the windshield block.)

6 Cut a 3⁄8 × 3⁄8 × 12" strip of walnut. Measure the length of the rabbets in the uncompleted windshield block assembly (E/F/G) for cutting the cab front corners (H) to length. Using a mitersaw or tablesaw and a miter-gauge extension fence adjusted at 10° from square, bevel-cut the cab front corners. Test their fit in the windshield block, and then glue them in place. Sand their bottom ends flush with the assembly.

7 Similar to Step 3, angle the saw blade 10° from vertical, and make a fine bevel skim cut across the front face of the cab top assembly, flushing the cab top (G) with the beveled face of the windshield block. As an alternative, you could sand the pieces flush on a sheet of sandpaper adhered to a flat surface.

8 Mark the locations of the cab top lights, referring to the Cab Top Boring Detail in Figure 3. Drill the 5⁄32" holes 1⁄2" deep at these locations.

9 Using a 1" Forstner bit, bore out the waste in the cab top assembly, drilling overlapping holes 11⁄4" deep into its bottom face, where shown in the Cab Top Boring Detail in Figure 3.

10 Next, apply glue to the bottom of the cab top assembly (E/F/G/H), and clamp it in place to the lower cab assembly (A/B/C/D), flushing it along the back edge and ends. Remove any glue squeeze-out with a moistened rag.

11 Hand-sand 1⁄8" round-overs on all exposed edges on the cab assembly (A/B/C/D/E/F/G/H). Do not round over mating edges for the grill (I), and bumper (J) at the front end of the cab hood or the bottom edges of the cab assembly.

12 From 1⁄4" maple, cut the grill (I) to size. Referring to Figure 1, adjust the tablesaw fence, and cut the four kerfs (Photo F). Glue the grill to the front of the cab and flush with the hood.

13 From 1⁄4" maple, cut the bumper (J) to 11⁄8 × 51⁄2" at the tablesaw. Referring to Figure 1, lay out the angled cuts along the bottom edge. Bandsaw along the angled cutlines and sand smooth. Glue the bumper to the cab, flush with the fenders (D) and grill (I).

14 Cut the running boards (K) to size, rounding the outside corners. Glue and pin the running boards to the cab, where shown in Figure 1, flushing their inside edges with the fenders (D).

Build and add the frame

1 Cut the frame (L) to size, checking its fit within the assembled cab. Drill centered 1⁄2"-deep holes for the taillights 3⁄8" in from the edges.

2 Glue two pieces of 3⁄4" walnut face to face, and then trim the laminate to the size in the Cut List for the rear axle support (M). Bevel-cut chamfers on the edges, where shown in Figure 1.

Then glue the axle block to the bottom face of the frame 21⁄2" from its rear end, using a spacer similar to Photo C. Now, drill the centered 11⁄32" through hole 5⁄8" from the bottom face.

3 Cut the wheel pivots (N) to size. Mark and drill the three centered 11⁄32" peg holes, where shown in Figure 1. Then mark the 1⁄2" radii, and sand them to shape at the disc sander.

Align the blank with the circle cutter, centering its 1⁄4" bit in the 11⁄32" recess; clamp it in position, and cut out the tire.

4 Cut the spacer block (O), gas tanks (P), and gas tanks bracket (Q) to size. (Note that the spacer block thickness equals that of the hinge.) Drill the holes for the gas caps in the gas tanks, and round over their edges. Center and edge-glue the tanks to the bracket. Let dry, and then secure the assembly (P/Q) to the frame, where shown in Figure 1, with glue.

5 Fit the front end of the frame (L) into the opening of the cab assembly, and secure it in place with glue and three #8 × 2" countersunk flathead screws. With the cab secure, glue and pin-nail the spacer block (O) in place.

Make and install the tires

Note: You can make 21⁄2"-diameter tires using the method described here, or save time by buying tires using the source in the Convenience-Plus Buying Guide. To ensure free movement of the tires, drill an 11⁄32" test hole in scrap and fit an axle peg into it.

1 Lay out the centerpoints for seven 21⁄2"-diameter tires (R) on a 3⁄4 × 31⁄2 × 24" maple blank. (While you only need six tires, use the seventh as a test piece.)

2 Install a 11⁄4" Forstner bit, adjust the fence to center the bit on the tire (R) center points, and bore a 1⁄4"-deep recess at each one. Switch to an 11⁄32" brad-point bit, and drill a 1⁄8"-deep starter hole below the recess. Next, switch to a circle cutter and adjust it to make a 21⁄2"-diameter cut. Clamp the workpiece to the drill-press fence. Then, using a slow-speed (about 300 rpm), cut out the tires (Photo G) drilling a centered 1⁄4" axle hole at the same time.

Note: Be sure to orient the cutter to face the center of the opening.

3 Insert a 1⁄4" bolt or length of all-thread through a tire’s axle hole, locking it in place between a washer and jam nut. Then, install the bolt into the drill chuck. Turn on the drill and sand away any burn marks. Repeat for the remaining tires.

4 Switch to the 11⁄32" bit and, using a stopblock and fence, widen the 1⁄4" axle holes, guiding off the 1⁄8"-deep starter hole drilled earlier. This will allow the axle peg to slip through the tires.

Fit a sanded tire into the jig’s corner, and turn it against the bit’s rotation to safely round the edges.
Align the template’s start line with the jig line, and then cut, rotate the tire, and cut again, making evenly spaced kerfs. Stop at the stop line.

5 Install a 1⁄8" round-over bit in the router table. Then make a simple L-jig out of 3⁄4" scrap, drilling a 1" hole in the jig’s inside corner. Clamp the jig to the table or fence, locating the bearing at the jig’s inside corner. Now, round over the tires, as shown in Photo H.

6 Make the Tire Kerfing Jig in Figure 4, gluing in a sawed-off tenon from an axle peg in a wood extension fence. Strike an alignment line on the top edge of the fence, directly above the tenon. Attach the fence to the miter gauge, aligning the tire’s center with the saw blade when the fence is angled at 60° to the left or right of 90°. Next, make seven copies of the Kerfing Template and adhere a paper template to the inside face of each tire.

7 Angle the miter gauge kerfing jig at 60° to the left of 90°. Slip a test tire onto the peg tenon, aligning the indicated start line on the template with the line on the top edge of the jig, clamping it to the fence. Raise the saw blade 1⁄16", and, cut the tire’s tread, rotating and aligning the template lines as you go. Check the tread after reaching the stop line. The kerfs should be evenly spaced. Now, cut three tires this way for one side of the truck, as shown in Photo I. Adjust the jig at 60° to the right of 90°, move the fence as needed, and similarly cut the tread on the opposing three tires. Sand and finish the tires.

8 Note the tread orientation in Figure 1, and then slip a tire and nylon washer onto an axle peg and glue and pin-nail the peg to the front axle support (C). (I used 3⁄4" pin nails, shooting through the axle support and into the peg.) Do the opposing tire. Similarly, secure the rear tires to the rear axle support (M). Test-fit the rear tires, washers, and axle pegs into the wheel pivots. Mark the protruding axle pegs and cut them to length. Glue and pin-nail the rear wheel axle pegs in place.

9 Finish-sand the cab and then glue in the headlights, signal lights, running lights, rear brake lights, and gas tank and radiator caps, cutting the peg tenons to length as needed.

Cut a spacer block, and use it to evenly space the box ribs when gluing and pinning them in place.
For clearance, use a long shank screwdriver to drive the screws and fasten the remaining leaf of the dump box hinge to the frame.

Build the dump box

1 From the 3⁄8" and 1⁄2" maple stock, cut the dump box bottom (S), box sides (T), box front (U), and cab protector (V) to the sizes in the Cut List. Cut a 3⁄8 × 3⁄8" rabbet on one edge of the cab protector. Cut 3⁄8" rabbets 1⁄8" deep on the outside face of the box front. Sand the faces of box parts.

2 Drill the countersunk holes, where shown in Figure 5, and then assemble the box with #4 × 3⁄4" screws and glue, checking all corners for square.

3 Drill countersunk holes and glue and screw the cab protector (V) to the box front (U). Before adding the strips, finish-sand the box.

4 Install a zero-clearance insert in your tablesaw with a 50- or 60-tooth blade to make a glue-line cut. Then, adjust the square end of your miter gauge extension fence to be 1⁄8" from the outside face of the blade. Pull the miter gauge back toward the front of the saw, and use the extension fence end to serve as a stop. Now, joint both edges of a 2' long piece of 3⁄8"-thick maple stock having straight grain. With the piece against the fence, adjust the fence so the opposite edge contacts the end of the extension fence. Turn on the saw and rip a 1⁄8"-thick strip. Flip the piece, adjust the fence again, and rip a second 1⁄8"-thick strip. Joint both edges of the workpiece, and repeat the process to rip two more 1⁄8"-thick strips.

5 Mark and cut the box front top rail (W), box front bottom rail (X), and box front stiles (Y) to fit. Now apply them, where shown in Figure 5, using glue and 3⁄8" pin nails. Note that the strips provide a realistic detail and cover up the screw heads.

6 Cut the box side rails (Z) to length. Glue and pin-nail the top box side rails (Z), where shown on Figure 5. Temporarily place a bottom side rail in place, and measure the distance between the top and bottom rails. Now, cut the box ribs (AA) to length. Remove the bottom rails, and starting at the box front, glue and pin the box ribs, as shown in Photo J. Finish-sand the dump box.

7 Cut a 3"-long piece of 11⁄16"-wide continuous hinge. Now, hold the hinge on the end of the frame (L), and mark and drill the pilot holes. Center the hinge on the bottom face of the box bottom (S), 1⁄4" from the back end, and mark and drill pilot holes. Finally, attach the dump box to the truck frame (Photo K). Use a grinding wheel to shorten the hinge screws so they don't poke into the dump box.

8 Remove the dump box and finish the box with finish.  

About Our Designer/Builder

Westerville, Ohio, resident Chuck Hedlund began his woodworking life as a cabinetmaker. Beginning in 1993, he began serving the needs of several woodworking publications as a builder and designer. He is a regular contributor to Woodcraft Magazine.


Write Comment

Write Comment

You must be logged in to write a comment. Log In

Top of Page