Wells Fargo Wagon

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Project by Lockwatcher posted 04-29-2011 03:08 AM 6803 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Over the last 20 years or so, I have had various woodworking projects related to my involvement with a local charitable group. The group puts on a play every year that brings in close to $200,000 for our local children’s hospital.

One of my recent projects involved a play called The Music Man. I was assigned the task of building the “Wells Fargo Wagon”, a highlight of the play. The wagon I built is a prop, and as such – is nothing like you might expect. First, I had less then a week to design and build the wagon and second, the wagon had to fold flat to fit backstage when not in use – oh, and third – I had to build it with almost no money!

So…here is the wagon build…

The wagon was built almost entirely with 2×4 lumber & some plywood (with a few exceptions) and some hardware.

The giant 3 foot wheels are riding in outriggers and are non-functional. They can spin and turn when the wagon is pushed, but the actual wagon is supported on legs with casters..

Below: The wagon upside down with the legs visible.

When used onstage, only a small portion was visible, so a partial sign was added to give the effect that the wagon was larger than it is….secrets of the theater!

The frame was built with hinges that allow the wagon to fold flat when not in use. The entire wagon can be taken apart (in sections) in less than 5 minutes. The giant wheels came from Harbour Freight..

Anyway, an interesting project…more to come!

Ken C

-- Lockwatcher, Ohio,

8 comments so far

View stuk4x4's profile


115 posts in 3836 days

#1 posted 04-29-2011 03:18 AM

Looks pretty good to me!! Good Job, sometimes it is more fun and rewarding (in the end) to build something really nice on a tight budget.

-- All the tools in the world wont make you a good mechanic or craftsman... however it helps!

View clieb91's profile


3915 posts in 4703 days

#2 posted 04-29-2011 03:43 AM

Ahh the magic of theater.. “we need it to be this big and have this and this and that and .. oh did we mention we have $10 to spend on it?”

Great work Ken, it looks real good. Hope this year’s show was a success.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 4365 days

#3 posted 04-29-2011 04:37 AM

I was in that musical over 25 years ago. Nice job on the wagon

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3635 days

#4 posted 09-30-2017 02:57 PM

This turned out to be a beautiful prop. It’s very creative and nicely done. It would also make a wonderful eye catcher in a man cave. Nice work!

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View bugradx2's profile


165 posts in 788 days

#5 posted 02-12-2019 07:02 AM

I need to build one of these now too! You bought the wagon wheels at harbor freight.

-- The only thing not measured in my shop is time

View Lockwatcher's profile


93 posts in 3461 days

#6 posted 02-12-2019 03:58 PM

The Giant Wheels for the Wagon were purchased at Harbor Freight, they are not functional, as the castors do all the real work. I put some foam on the wheels to allow compression, so they would press on the floor and spin.

One of the sets of castors is directly behind the large wheels.

Stage weights were placed on the wagon, opposite where the actor sits, to provide a bit of a counterbalance when sitting on the end of the wagon.

Ken C / Lockwatcher

-- Lockwatcher, Ohio,

View DMc1963's profile


5 posts in 136 days

#7 posted 02-18-2020 05:29 PM

I love the way this looks. It’s just right for my daughter’s upcoming show. Can I get the plans and how?

View Lockwatcher's profile


93 posts in 3461 days

#8 posted 02-21-2020 12:56 AM

I never really made any plans…this was more of a design-build, I only had a few days to put it together.

The most difficult part of the entire project was making the angled brckets for the sides…

Everyhting was made from either 2×4 lumber or plywood.

The giant wheels were attached with nothing more than a large bolt running through the main front leg.

Black paing on the lower part of the leg made it all but disapear. I could probably locate some rough dimensions.


-- Lockwatcher, Ohio,

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