The League of Awesome Gram'parents

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Blog entry by handsawgeek posted 03-02-2015 02:11 PM 1357 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

From the first day I joined LumberJocks, I have seen tons of posts showing really neat wood toys and other projects that members have lovingly made for their grandkids.

Being blessed with a couple of my own, I can say that I’m proud to be part of that group of folks! For me, time spent in the shop building stuff for the wee ones has always been one of the most gratifying facets of woodworking.

Here’s the latest….

This is the small slot car set that was presented to the grandkids for Christmas.

Even though it doesn’t appear on the handsawgeek Workshop Official 2015 TooDoo List, it qualifies as a bona- fide project since there was a fair amount of woodworking involved…and the entire thing was done using hand tools.

The original intention was to only mount the track on a plain piece of ply and be done with it.

Interestingly, the chunk of Baltic birch plywood on which the track is mounted was cut from a larger sheet that once served as the tool hanging wall in a past incarnation of the handsawgeek workshop.

Mrs. handsawgeek came along and suggested that it would be nice to have it raised up on some short legs. Initial plans were to simply cut the legs out of scraps of construction lumber, when I remembered that I had a kit of pre-made turned furniture legs stashed in a drawer somewhere in the garage. After a quick search, this was located.

The kit consists of those retro screw-on legs that were a popular thing attached to a lot of home- built furniture back in the 1960s! I’ve had this ancient packaged kit hanging around in the shop for a long time, wondering what it would ever be possibly used for. Turns out, they were perfect for this particular application. The joinery was very simple – a screwdriver is all it took to secure them.

An added bonus turned out to be the hardware that was included in the kit. These old, slotted, non-zinc-coated screws were a bit too long for this project, so they will be kept around for use on some other future build.

Well, because this project now had some fancy feet, I figured I might as well go the distance and slap on some paint – dark green for the sward, and some light brown for the bridge supports.
Next, the appropriate track sections were drilled and countersunk to take some small flat- head mounting screws.

Satisfied that all was now in order, it was time to install the required batteries and test the operation of the cars and track…The fun part….‘Grampa’s License’ to play with the grandkids’ toys before they get them, right?

Alas, I soon learned that my lead-foot driving tendencies kept the cars constantly flying off the platform!

It was decided that the whole affair needed a couple of ‘crash walls’, so two lengths of craft pine 1×2s left over from the recent lathe stand build became part of this project.

Now, I’m pretty sure it is quite ready for general use. Can’t wait for the Grand-Tweeps’ next visit when they first get to play with this beauty!

And, when they’re done…we sugar ‘em up and send ‘em home with Mom & Dad !!

Yep, we gray-haired folk are pretty awesome!

-- Ed

3 comments so far

View technoslick's profile


767 posts in 1994 days

#1 posted 03-02-2015 02:21 PM

Simple and neat. Elevating the track off the floor is a great idea.

I’ve said it before, I wished I had made the decision to get into woodworking back when my grandson was first born. All these cool things I could have made for him along the way. Maybe he would have had an interest in wood. At any rate, I can always build for someone else’s kids, right?

View CFrye's profile


10851 posts in 2474 days

#2 posted 03-02-2015 03:15 PM

Great to see the new life you’ve given that humble piece of plywood, Ed! The grandkids are sure to like it. You knew you’d find a use for those legs someday. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View handsawgeek's profile


663 posts in 2030 days

#3 posted 03-03-2015 02:24 PM

Hi, All, Thanks for reading.
The kiddoes were over last night an had a chance to play with this for the first time. Success!

-- Ed

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