An Articulated Dragon, With Thanks to LJs John Hutchinson and Owlcroft

  • Advertise with us
Project by HillbillyShooter posted 07-07-2014 07:26 PM 4363 views 11 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Right off the bat let me acknowledge that this project has been posted several times already. However, the main reason I’m posting it is I wanted my fellow LJs to know I could build something other than shop cabinets and accessories. Also, I’m sharing a couple of jigs I designed for the construction of the articulated dragon. This is a great project and is more complicated than I expected. Both adults and children love it.

The articulated dragon is a design by John Hutchinson. John deserves full and complete credit for an absolutely adorable toy ( ) and for the Ball Drilling Jig ( ). The first time I saw this project was a post by LJ Owlcroft on November 25, 2013 ( and his video at ( ).

The second (2d) photograph shows the pattern pieces I first cut out to practice the cuts and to have a permanent pattern for additional dragons I hope to build for nephews and nieces. The third (3d) picture is a wheel jig I came up with to drill the offset hole (and, which came in mighty handy to re-drill the center axle hole when I made a mistake and had to break the wheel off). The fourth (4th) picture shows spacing shims I made out of two and three layers of maple veneer, using the two layer spacers on each side of the cam inside the body and the three layer spacers on the outside between the body and the drive wheels. The fifth (5th) picture is a simple wing center jig I used between the two wings to glue the walnut wing ribs to the Lacewood wings so I could clamp the outsides of the wings for overnight drying (kind of like a sandwich with the wings on the outside, the ribs as the second layer and the jig in the center). And, finally the sixth (6th) photograph is my copy of John’s Ball Drilling Jig used to drill a hole in the pull ball.

The only differences in my construction were to use a square rod in the front instead of a centered dowel and increase the size of all of the dowels. The square rod worked without any problems as I finished and waxed the square rod. I finished the toy with Danish Oil per LJ Paul Wakefield’s recommendation. I waxed both cams, and the tail and head cam surfaces. The next dragon I build will leave off the rubber o-rings as everything worked so smooth I think it’s fine for my purposes without them (and, I don’t see it being run over glass tops which I understand was the reason behind the rubber rings).

As always, comments (good, bad, critical or whatever) are greatly appreciated. Thanks for looking.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

25 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30551 posts in 3110 days

#1 posted 07-07-2014 07:36 PM

I love to see people acknowledge each other and help each other. That’s what this place is all about.

Great project. Looks like fun.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

24791 posts in 3878 days

#2 posted 07-07-2014 08:03 PM

That is really neat, John!! Nice job on it!!.................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3692 days

#3 posted 07-07-2014 08:25 PM

Oohhhhh! I LIKE this! Awesome job! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View luv2learn's profile


3065 posts in 3075 days

#4 posted 07-07-2014 08:44 PM

John, the neat thing about LJs is their ability to tweak a design in such a way as to personalize it. You managed to do this with your rendition of John Hutchinson’s design. Also, thanks for sharing the jigs with us, it will make it easier for those of us wishing to build the Dragon.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View GeneR's profile


151 posts in 2710 days

#5 posted 07-07-2014 08:57 PM

Great Job and a very cool project at that. I really like how the different woods compliment each other as if nature intended it that way.

-- Failure is always an option. :-)

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2963 days

#6 posted 07-08-2014 12:27 AM

very nice work.awesome build.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View doubleDD's profile


9465 posts in 2815 days

#7 posted 07-08-2014 12:59 AM

Your personnel touch to a project is what makes something unique. I like when woodworkers share the same work , but accomplish it in their own way. Way to go John.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 2845 days

#8 posted 07-08-2014 02:43 AM

What a great project and I love the woods that you used. Any kid would have lots of fun with this.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2961 days

#9 posted 07-08-2014 02:48 AM

Good lord John,

That little dragon reflects years of skill accumulation and practice. It’s amazing brother.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View jinkyjock's profile


488 posts in 2347 days

#10 posted 07-08-2014 07:05 AM

+1 with MarkTheFiddler.
A wee story for you.
Had a lecturer at college (Sandy McNeilly) who was the most awesome Cabinetmaker I have ever met.
When pressed about his favourite piece from all the wonderful stuff (furniture) he had made,
he nominated a rocking horse he had made for his Grand-kids.
He showed us pics and as usual it was awesome in every detail.
It was named “DIPPY”, short for Serendipity.
Said he was proud of the workmanship, and the fact that it would be passed on down the line.
Also said he thought the name was a reflection of his Cabinetmaking journey.
Just saying John.
Cheers, Jinky (James)

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4106 days

#11 posted 07-08-2014 08:06 AM

Very nice. Any kid would love this.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3285 days

#12 posted 07-08-2014 12:49 PM

Very Nice!

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3639 days

#13 posted 07-08-2014 02:46 PM

I love this. You did a fine job on it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3065 days

#14 posted 07-08-2014 03:21 PM

Thanks everyone for looking and commenting. This has been a fun project and the real enjoyment as been in the eyes of those I’ve shared it with. Best to everyone and have a good day.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Richard Alexander's profile

Richard Alexander

79 posts in 3853 days

#15 posted 07-08-2014 03:21 PM

Thanks for taking the time to post this and share so many great details. I had missed any previous posts of this project. This has gone from being what could have been a simple pull toy to a work of art. Your wood selection is perfect! Definitely a favorite.

-- Richard- Tulsa, Oklahoma

showing 1 through 15 of 25 comments

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