Old-Fashioned Steam Roller

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Project by DaleMaley posted 12-09-2017 11:12 PM 1543 views 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I ran across a neat looking pattern to build an old-fashioned steam roller.

The original pattern was for a steam roller about 10 inches long.

I decided this was not big enough, and scaled up the pattern by 2X using Sketchup. My finished model is 21 inches long, 11 inches wide, and 15 inches tall.

The 2 spoked wheels and 1 front roller took the longest time to make.

I decided to use the natural colors of the wood, so my design is:

Yellow Heartwood—-wheel spokes
Red Padauk———2 wheel rims and roller, plus the flywheel
Purple Heart—smokestack and other items on top of the steam boiler
Cherry—-rest of parts

I decided to let the cherry color over time, versus staining it now.

I recently discovered my grandson loves to take toys apart and put them back together again. So, I designed this steam roller to be capable of being assembled, then dis-assembled as much as possible. I did not want any small pieces that might cause choking… many of these pieces have dowels glued on 1 side, but unglued on the mating piece. I also used 2 hitch-pins to retain the big wheels and the roller. You can see from the photo above, there are quite a few parts to assemble it.

To conserve on expensive cherry, the coal box outer pieces are cherry, but the inside is common pine. I made the boiler using 8 segmented pieces, so it is hollow inside. The 2 large tire rims are also glued up segments of padauk.

I made a Youtube video showing the model in action….......

To see my Trials & Tribulations on this project, see my woodworking web site.

I think my grandson will have a good time playing with this old-fashioned steam roller!


-- Dale, Illinois,

12 comments so far

View DaleMaley's profile


593 posts in 3521 days

#1 posted 12-09-2017 11:15 PM

I usually include a coffee cup, to give an idea of the scale of this project.

This steam roller is a relatively large wooden toy, as you can see from the coffee cup photo…..

-- Dale, Illinois,

View ralbuck's profile


6780 posts in 3552 days

#2 posted 12-09-2017 11:53 PM

Very well done!

I really like that you modified the pattern to be your way!

I also like that it is still a playable toy.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View DaleMaley's profile


593 posts in 3521 days

#3 posted 12-10-2017 01:12 AM

Very well done!

I really like that you modified the pattern to be your way!

I also like that it is still a playable toy.

- ralbuck

The grandson will soon give it a test drive, so we will see how playable it really is :)


-- Dale, Illinois,

View irtamos's profile


319 posts in 3329 days

#4 posted 12-10-2017 08:41 AM

Great project.

-- irtamos, Belgium

View Ivan's profile


17050 posts in 4153 days

#5 posted 12-10-2017 08:45 AM

Lot of work here, but turned incredible. Wood combination is awesome too.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Redoak49's profile


5418 posts in 3274 days

#6 posted 12-10-2017 12:23 PM

Great job and really nice that your grandson can take apart and put together.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4152 days

#7 posted 12-10-2017 01:59 PM

Dale, this is an outstanding model of an antique steam roller and it displays a lot of nice details and fine craftsmanship.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Douglas Krueger's profile

Douglas Krueger

420 posts in 5009 days

#8 posted 12-10-2017 02:03 PM

Now that is a gift that is destined to be a treasure, your grandson has a very thoughtful, artistic and talented grandpa. The added bonus that it can be disassembled only makes it more special. Thanks for sharing.


-- I can so I wood but why are my learning curves always circles

View bushmaster's profile


4148 posts in 3568 days

#9 posted 12-10-2017 05:21 PM

Super job on your project.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View htl's profile


5598 posts in 2445 days

#10 posted 12-10-2017 06:23 PM

Nice job and that will be one fun project to be taking apart and reassembling, over and over again.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View Derek Oliver's profile

Derek Oliver

264 posts in 3437 days

#11 posted 12-11-2017 04:48 PM

That’s awesome!

View DaleMaley's profile


593 posts in 3521 days

#12 posted 01-01-2018 12:51 PM

The 2.5 year old grandson had a ball playing with Grandpa’s steam roller. He was able to re-assemble it [with a little help from Grandpa]. He liked pushing it around the house :)

-- Dale, Illinois,

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