Classic Airplane

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Project by TDog posted 04-09-2013 04:45 AM 1919 views 11 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a simple classic airplane I built by researching several photos on the internet and deciding what lines look great, what design is mostly basic and straight forward, and what parts should be left off because of possible smaller part breaks with heavy children’s play. The CLASSIC is what I came up with. The first model is the simple light colored pine plane. I mortised the wings and tail and joined them with two small screws and one fit peg reinforced with wood glue.

I worked more on the proportions of the second model which has a very defined darker wood grain. The mortises are basically the same however, I went with a more traditional joinery approach; 100% mortised and pegged with all wooden joinery and zero screws or other materials.

Durability was the question as I am intending these to be given to children at the “plane fascination age” who will not doubt toss these across the yard, dig with them in the dirt, and who knows what else. Durability was my number one goal. Looks and aesthetics were second.

THE TEST: Well, I took one to my son’s 6th Birthday party at our local park. Several of the kids “flew” the plane across the park and into the ground for a long time for a game of catch which was fine of course. The like it. (a free focus group) To my surprise, “no breaks” Knock on wood. So, I am going with this design for now until I have a report or customer service concern with breaks or cracks under normal use…whatever that means for a 6 year old. Hee hee. Im making many and providing replacements upon breaks under “normal” conditions. I’m sure they would not make good car jacks or door stops but, you know people. LOL

I left off many detailed parts such as landing gear, because the plane is meant to be played with and ultimately provoke imagination and pretend play, plus the smaller parts tend to break off first. Kids are busy, they have to have all their play time to play, not to have dad fix broken landing gear. If I see or think of a strong way to include more detailed parts that will actually look good and hold up long term, I’ll go for it, but until then, here it is; the CLASSIC. A plane jane plane…for true kids play!

CONSTRUCTION: The fun part, seriously, was hand fitting the mortise and/or dadoes of the wings, tail, and fuselage, and laying it all out for a tight fit and flush edges at the joints. Most of it is hand sanded on the final sanding and smoothing. Smoothing out the finished surface and rounding the majority of the hard edges really made a difference in the feel and look of the basic outline. It is a great hold to the hand for “flying it around”
Plus, I got to build it on my newer dead flat top workbench with 5×5 beam legs.

PS As I child of the 80’s I could not resist throwing in the “Ray-Bans” with one of the planes for photos. Oops on the rough photography if you look close.

Let me know what you think guys and how it could be better. It’s a start.

-- "So many little time..." Psalm 23

6 comments so far

View indgreg's profile


302 posts in 3254 days

#1 posted 04-10-2013 02:32 PM

nice project got some grandkids that would love it

-- greg indiana

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4180 days

#2 posted 04-10-2013 09:39 PM

Looking good and that should last awhile.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3515 days

#3 posted 04-11-2013 02:26 PM

You are off to a good start. It looks good and sturdy. Kids will have loads of fun with it.

View Kevbo's profile


13 posts in 3237 days

#4 posted 04-13-2013 01:50 AM

I’d love some detail on how it is put together… My son would love these.

-- Makin' the most of the tools I have...

View TDog's profile


235 posts in 3570 days

#5 posted 04-30-2013 12:42 PM

OK, I’m sure you guys can make this thing, so I’ll put out the process as best I can on it.
But, if you pressed for time and would like one, email me at [email protected] for details.

So here goes,

1. I drew a rough pattern out from a model I liked and kept tweaking it until I liked the proportions.
2. I sketched the wings, tail, and fuselage separately on a piece of scrap pine.
3. Then I took my power jigsaw and cut out the basic shapes
4. Next, I set my handheld belt sander up and used it as a drum sander (be careful here-ouch)
5. Use it or a hand held sander with 60 or 80 grit paper or rasps to get the soft and rounded edges you want.
6. Then I used layout tools to measure about 1/4 mortise into the wing and a 1/4-1/2 etc into the fuselage.
7. Keep fiddling and mortising a little at a time until you get a flush fit across the bottom of the plane.
8. I used a mallet, chisels., files to do this; it took a while but it was worth it.
9. Repeat the process on the tail; however, the mortises must be much shallower on the tail as it is more fragile.
10. Continue to tweak it until you get your desired fit.
For securing the joints, I tried glue and small screws on a couple but ended up preferring pre drilling and using glue and wooden pegs to keep it as pure and all wooden as possible.

It is intended to be a traditional toy plane made from 100% SOLID wood with all parts in wood with solid joinery and pegs and glue holding it together. The main goal for the build is durability; hence I chose to leave off landing gear and other small parts that could break off in regular use over time. IT’s meant to be used with the child’s imagination with no motors or metal or plastic, just good “ole” creativity, imagination, and hours of flying around the house by hand with children’s sound effects. I guess a well detailed painted model for collectors at WORST for desk decor. Like original American handmade goods, at least form the 17 and 1800’s, it’s designed for use.

Have fun!

Your paint options are limitless from one color to full scale actual recreations from WWII planes etc.

-- "So many little time..." Psalm 23

View woodify's profile


351 posts in 3412 days

#6 posted 09-19-2013 02:49 AM

I like your plane. I’m thinking about building a simple plane for my Son’s birthday party for a craft..Read 14 or so planes. They can then paint them at the party. Keeps them busy for a little while.

-- Woodify ~~

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