Articulated Dragons - (John Hutchinson Design)

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Project by Iggy2000 posted 02-10-2021 02:47 AM 809 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Many thanks to fellow LJ John Hutchinson for this design and for sharing it with fellow woodworkers. I’ve always thought these dragons were awesome since I first saw the feature in Woodworkers Journal but I didn’t have the skill or equipment to tackle this. Now a few years later with a thickness planer, a better bandsaw, and a bit more experience I decided to try building one for my grandson Owen’s 3rd birthday. When I started out I was going to build 2 pretty much the same with the bodies made from sapele that I had in the shop, the first being a prototype in case I made any mistakes. I soon realized that I needed more contrast so I added some cherry that I also had and was kind of on my way to making 3. I proceeded with one sapele, and one cherry, purpleheart head and tail, leopardwood and cocobolo wings, walnut hips, zebrawood wheels on one, butternut on the other. After completing the first one (sapele) I decided to add some roundovers on the cherry version that I completed and shipped off to Owen in time for his birthday.

The third dragon took shape a couple weeks later when I was isolating in the basement (conveniently near my shop) after my wife contracted covid. It was a great distraction to keep my mind occupied during a very stressful time and I decided that this one would be our household ‘protector dragon’. She recovered just fine and I never contracted it so I think it worked!

By the way, I did everything on the bandsaw including the ‘wing bones’. I used spray adhesive to laminate 6 layers of 1/8” cocobolo and cut all 6 at one time using a 1/8” blade and Carter stabilizer guide on a 14” bandsaw. Dropped the whole cut ‘assembly’ into a dish of mineral spirits and they slid right apart. Similar process for the 1/4” leopardwood wings but I did those as 2 sets of 3 layers each.

-- Phil

6 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile


5274 posts in 3108 days

#1 posted 02-10-2021 11:56 AM

Very nice !

View ohwoodeye's profile


2643 posts in 4273 days

#2 posted 02-10-2021 02:38 PM


-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View mtnwild's profile


4143 posts in 4647 days

#3 posted 02-10-2021 02:53 PM

Fun stuff, very cool…...........

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View therealSteveN's profile


8009 posts in 1693 days

#4 posted 02-10-2021 09:54 PM

They look great, and it sounds like success all the way around.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Think safe, be safe

View awsum55's profile (online now)


1022 posts in 1628 days

#5 posted 02-11-2021 08:15 PM

Very nice, your version is much nicer than the one I made. I didn’t know very much about different woods at the time, so I had very little contrast. I built mine about 17 years ago, you can see the rubber on the wheels is all cracked. I thought it was too fragile to let my son play with it very much and now it just sits on a shelf.

-- John D, OP, KS

View AJ1104's profile


1322 posts in 2779 days

#6 posted 05-06-2021 12:52 AM

This is an awesome pull toy. I love your choice of materials and great craftsmanship.

-- AJ

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