How to build a wooden toy car from scratch

Want to build your own wooden toy car? Learn how from a skilled craftsman.

In a world that seems to be drowning in plastic toys, it’s always refreshing to find traditional handmade toys on your travels. But, have you ever wondered how these “old school” toys are made?

Then, watch a master craftsman apply his craft to craft a cute little wooden car.

Source: Interesting Engineering

Step 1: Prepare the wood and sketch the design

The first step is to choose pieces of wood to turn into toys. Once this is done, the wood then needs to be prepared before making the toys by cutting it to size using a bandsaw.

In this case, the wooden sections are cut into thin sheets and slivers of wood. Once the wood has been prepared, the next step is to mark out the rough design of some of the major components of the toy.

wooden toy making basic design
Source: Interesting Engineering

For more detailed sections of the toy, the design is sketched on the wood and then cut out using a jigsaw or similar.

This done, the cut edges of the wood are then sanded by hand. For the rear trunk and other open spaces in the design, the corners are drilled out first before the area is cut out as needed.

wooden toy holes
Source: Interesting Engineering

Step 2: Start building

After the basic parts are ready, the next step is to start assembling the toy itself. The parts are tested against each other and, if necessary, filled or sanded using small tools such as a Dremel.

Being a toy, all sharp edges are also sanded. As the pieces are finished, they are glued together using wood glue and held in place until the glue is completely dry.

wooden toy making glue
Source: Interesting Engineering

If necessary, as in this case, angled pieces of wood, such as the engine block, can also be cut, sanded, and glued into place on the toy as needed. Minor adjustments can be made before the glue is fully cured which is handy.

For things like wheels, special drill attachments are added to the craftsman’s bench drill to cut perfect discs of wood.

wooden toy wheels
Source: Interesting Engineering

Step 3: Make the wheels

To smooth the edges of things like wheels, the wooden discs can be placed in a lathe or specially designed power drills to sand their edges perfectly. Other details like tire treads can also be cut into the wood at this stage.

To attach the wheels to the main frame, special axle mounting parts are fabricated and then glued in place under the car. They are simple blocks of wood with a hole in the center.

wooden toy car axles
Source: Interesting Engineering

With that done, a way to secure the wheels to the axle brackets is needed. For this, the craftsman takes a wooden rod, measures the necessary length and cuts them to the right size.

Once cut and sanded, the axle rods can be inserted into the brackets and the wheels glued to the ends of the axle. In this case, the wheels are glued slightly off center to give the car a “fun” wobble as it moves.

wooden toy car axles
Source: Interesting Engineering

Step 4: Finishing the toy car

Next, measurements are made for the main cabin of the car. The design is sketched on the wood then cut as needed. A basic pilot shape is also cut out.

As always, all cut pieces are sanded to remove burrs and sharp edges. The driver receives some basic arms by drilling holes in the shoulders and lengths of string are added through the holes.

A small steering wheel is also fashioned and the string arms glued in place before installing the driver in place.

wooden toy car driver
Source: Interesting Engineering

Other details are then added, such as wooden buttons for the headlights. A hole is also drilled in the front of the car for the addition of the pull cord.

The cord itself is then made from a length of colored cord and tied in place through the front tow hole.

wooden toy car decorations
Source: Interesting Engineering

With that, this particular wooden toy car is now ready to be given to a lucky child.

If you enjoyed watching this master craftsman at work, you might enjoy learning how another applies their craft? How about, for example, watching a master blacksmith craft beautiful axes?

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