Pattern routing for making parts for a toy car.

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Karson posted 06-19-2010 05:43 AM 11575 reads 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pattern Routing for Fenders for a Toy

July 1993 Woodworkers Journal.

This is a long detailed blog on pattern routing. I am making a 1920 style Runabout car for the Mason Dixon Woodworkers toy distribution. We usually make about 1300 toys each year that we give to 25 different charities, for them to distribute to the children that they represent at Christmas time.

We work every Wednesday, 50 weeks of the year. We are funded by community support in our area, $10.00 here $500.00 there. We have been privileged to have some lumber donated to us so that cuts down our expenses.

This year I decided that I was going to make a toy at home in my shop. I found a 1920 Style Runabout in an old woodworking magazine and it seems like a great toy to make. I was able to pick up some Mahogany at a workshop that makes custom doors and windows. He allows me to take all scrap less than 34 “ long. In the last few months I’ve probably picked up 400 Bd ft of Mahogany Most of it 2” thick some 3X3’s and some 1”. Since all of their MFG is done in metric measurements the wood is about 50mm in thickness.

I’ve resawed and cut most of the parts. I’m using mahogany for most of the car and Sapele for the seats, radiator and trunk deck. That gives a different color for the car.

But we’re here to talk about the fender pattern jig. In the past when making parts like fenders, they are all cut on a bandsaw and sanded and every part is a different size. I wanted to stop that. I wanted matched parts and a consistent way to assemble the toy.

The fenders became my problem child. I don’t like routing against the grain in an uphill cut. Chipout is always a problem that is about to, or already happened. And for small thin parts, shattering becomes a constant reminder of keep all ten attached and blood not visible.

So I wanted this jig to be only a straight or downhill cut. This is how I accomplished that task.

I made Mahogany fender blocks 2” X 10 “ X ¾” thick. I drilled 2 holes in the middle so the blocks could be used on the left or right side of the car. This kept me from having to have 2 different parts at the start.

I used a Triton tool that drills 2 holes for dowels 32mm apart. It works like a biscuit jointer or the Domino tool.

So I mounted wood in my vise to allow me to put my part on and drill the holes very quickly. I was able to drill both holes in about 6 seconds and could keep that up for about 20 parts. Then stack the completed ones and get a new supply, rest my wrist and do it again.

Somewhere in that process the tool changed one of it’s measurements.

The holes were supposed to be about 1/8” from the edge and it slid to over ¼” during this process. Over half way through, I noticed it and reset the tool. So I’ve got some wood variations to contend with.

All of the parts were drilled. I then took pencil and drew a fender on one of the wood blocks and cut it out and sanded it to become my master.

You can see the effect of the off drilled holes.

Since the Dowel holes don’t go all the way through, I need a left side part and a right side part. I took a piece of ½” mdf and made a duplicate with holes all the way through it. I cut the mdf part using a pattern router bit with the bearing on the top. The two pieces were aligned using dowels in the holes.

I then used the MDF pattern to draw the fender on my blocks of wood. I then cut about 1/16” outside the line on the top of the fender.

I started to make jig # 1. It would allow me to cut one portion of the downhill cut on the front and back fender. Since the dowel holes were in two different places clamp block had to allow for the differences in spacing. I put in my hand cut master, clamped it down and cut the base of the jig with a top bearing mounted router bit. The router bit was not allowed to touch any other places on the jig except for the 2 downhill cuts.

I now started on jig #2. I turned my master part over so that I could cut the other top edge of the fender also in a downhill cut.

But, my mounting holes for the pattern are not on the top so I made a block that would have holes for the fender and lock the block into my clamp plate. I used a long dowel to go through my plate, the mdf jig and into the bottom holes. This insured that the top plate would hold a fender piece in the same position whether the holes were up or down. This way I could use 4 jigs instead or 8 jigs.

Once all of the plates were cut and mounted for jigs numbers 1 and 2, I cut a couple of fender pieces. I needed these to make jigs 3 and 4. I wanted to use actual cut parts for the next fabrication and not my master part that I used for jigs 1 and 2.

Cut the first downslope.

Cut the second down slope.

On jigs 3 and 4 the clamping plate was modified to match exactly the profile that was cut on jigs 1 and 2. I drew the profiles and sat in front of a spindle sander to make the clamp blocks fit exactly the profile that I cut on jig 1 and 2.

Jig 4.

Using dowels and the parts cut on the first jigs, I glued down the clamping blocks. I then took my master piece and cut the appropriate profile in the jib base to allow for downhill cuts on the inside of the fenders.

I used the bandsaw and cut the profile just outside the line so the the router only has to take off a small amount of wood. Again I needed left and right mounting blocks on the top of the clamp plate on jigs 3 and 4.

Once I cut a full set of fenders I slightly modified the router jigs to bring the edge created on jig 1 to match up to the cut on jig 2 without having a difference in height. A slight touch of the sander and the parts match perfectly.

It takes about 5 seconds to route the part on each station, It takes longer that that to get the part on and off the jig. I’m lightly sanding the dowel to allow the mount block to slide on and off easily, instead of using a screwdriver to pry it off.

My next jog will be to separate and mark left side and right side parts and band saw the top edge. I’m not bandsawing the bottom edge at this time because I want the extra wood bulk to keep the piece from flexing until the top surface is routed.

So it will be mark band saw, jig 1 right, jig 1 left, jig 2 left, jig 2 right The first operation doesn’t use the mounting block the second one does. So I’ll finish the jig 1 process first before I go to jig 2. Then bandsaw for the jig 3 and 4 process.

Here are the pieces as they might be.

If any parts and not understandable let me know and I revise of make additional comments.

I sat down tonight and drew the pattern on 250 parts for 125 cars Keeping them seperate for left and right side. Now to bandsaw almost to the line.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

14 comments so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14181 posts in 4431 days

#1 posted 06-19-2010 05:57 AM

nice blog Bud ! This will make an heirloom toy for some lucky kid.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View patron's profile


13649 posts in 3789 days

#2 posted 06-19-2010 09:23 AM

wow , karson .

very well thought out ,
the process is very intricate at first ,
then starts to make sense .
and all the time you saved is priceless .

good to see a big kid in action !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3513 days

#3 posted 06-19-2010 09:34 AM

Very very nice work Karson. I’m sure the kid’s will love them..

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 3743 days

#4 posted 06-19-2010 12:04 PM

Awesome work Karson !
I like your problem solving turning into mass production.
This is a great blog, nice pics.
Looking forward to the finished project,


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4330 days

#5 posted 06-19-2010 12:39 PM

Hey Karson,

Great job with the jigs. But even greater job in what you are using them for.

Limited production runs are always interresting. You want to speed it all up, but can’t spend all of your time making the jigs. But then the jigs have to be good enough, and you need left and right, and then…......


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4747 days

#6 posted 06-19-2010 01:44 PM

Nice tutorial Karson,

That’s what’s nice about pattern cutting jigs, once you have the pattern, the rest is a piece of cake.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4145 days

#7 posted 06-19-2010 03:01 PM

Very well done I like those step by step post. Thanks for posting

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4428 days

#8 posted 06-19-2010 03:24 PM

Great job my friend.

You know I’m a big fan of spending the time to make a jig. Not only do they speed up the process, they make duplicate parts that are consistant, and the best reason of all, they greatly increase safety.

Just no down side to it than I can see.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View a1Jim's profile


117688 posts in 4025 days

#9 posted 06-19-2010 03:45 PM

Hey Karson
you’ve got Good details and photos . Patterns are the only way to fly with that many cars to build. I llike the design and finished project a real neat little car, kids will love em. thanks for showing us this super project.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3734 days

#10 posted 06-19-2010 05:11 PM

Great blog Karson. I found it very informative.



View sedcokid's profile


2735 posts in 4047 days

#11 posted 06-19-2010 10:54 PM

Thanks for showing us all the steps. Great blog..

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View lew's profile


12821 posts in 4203 days

#12 posted 06-20-2010 01:04 AM

Some great engineering, Karson! These cars are going to make a very Merry Christmas for a lot of little ones.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View jack1's profile


2128 posts in 4475 days

#13 posted 06-20-2010 07:44 PM

Very nice. Good gas mileage I can assume??

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Grumpy's profile


25526 posts in 4299 days

#14 posted 06-21-2010 12:48 AM

Great blog Karson. I must talk to you when I get into toy making.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics