Toy elephant restoration--Need help--why 2 holes on the back?

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Project by grace123 posted 07-01-2017 10:44 PM 1651 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A good friend brought my this little elephant. She asked me to fix it. It belonged to her kids and she wants it in good working order for her grandkids. She says she doesn’t remember what it was originally like.

I made a fairly extensive search through the internet trying to find a picture of a similar toy. I didn’t really find anything that seemed close. I would rather get this toy close to the original state, but I am sure that I can make a pretty respectable elephant. His body seems to be made from one-inch pine. The trunk is also one-inch pine. The rest of the elephant is 1/2 inch pine. I hope the pictures show what I think is going on with this little guy.

He is missing his front leg. That will be easy to replace.

The front leg is very lightly sanded or beveled so I think perhaps something was attached there. The back legs move. They pivot very easily and I think perhaps they had a walking motion. There is a hole for a dowel in one hind foot and a dowel still present in the other hind foot.

There is a cord attached to the inside of the trunk. When you pull on the cord his trunk moves up and down. Very cute!

There are two holes drilled in the body. I wonder if they were supposed to hold a dowel to make this a push toy?

I am asking for advice on how to store this cute little elephant, not only to please my friend, but because I think I will make one for my own grandkids. Thanks!

7 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile


4867 posts in 2836 days

#1 posted 07-02-2017 12:09 AM

I would do a Google search for wooden elephant pull toy and look at the hundreds of images and see if you can find something similar. Or look on Etsy for ideas.

The holes on top might have been for some dowel figures to ride the elephant.

Maybe the elephant rode on a wheeled cart.

Does the ears, trunk or head move or pivot.

Ask your friend for some clues. Please post back what you figure out.

View svenbecca's profile


160 posts in 3314 days

#2 posted 07-02-2017 05:13 AM

I looked for about an hour for some information. The closest thing I found was one that was mounted on a small wooden cart That would explain, to me, the dowels in the rear legs.

-- A carpenter takes an ugly, knotted, twisted piece of wood and makes something beautiful and pure from it. Jesus is a carpenter, I am a piece of wood.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3714 days

#3 posted 07-02-2017 09:16 PM

You did a real nice job on this elephant.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Ocelot's profile


2578 posts in 3485 days

#4 posted 07-03-2017 06:59 PM

I would guess there was a howdah mounted on top of it.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View ToyMakingDad's profile


85 posts in 2859 days

#5 posted 07-03-2017 07:51 PM

Just guesses –
I wonder if the pegs on the rear legs anchor into a cart with wheels. With just the rear legs on an axle the elephant could rear-up by the string being pulled “up” instead of “forward.”

My other guess is that the holes in the back are for riders. Peg people (maybe even sized for the Fisher Price peg characters.) Could be a push stick but why two holes, unless it was a mistake.

I’m really intrigued. This may have been a one off by a family friend or from a craft show vendor. In any case, it would be great to see it restored. I’ll look through some of my books tonight and poke around a little on the net.

Best of luck – Dan

-- Toy Making Dad, Northern Virginia,

View grace123's profile


258 posts in 3609 days

#6 posted 07-03-2017 09:43 PM

Thanks for your ideas. I am going to give it a shot along the lines you suggest. I will post pictures when the repairs are finished.

View Ocelot's profile


2578 posts in 3485 days

#7 posted 07-03-2017 10:11 PM

I was expecting somebody to ask “what’s a howdah”.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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