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Two years ago this Christmas, I decided I wanted to take a step back from commercialism and make some toys for my sons, Gabe and Sam. Gabe was 8 and Sam was 11 at the time. I was not exactly armed for the challenge, I had a hand drill, a large miter saw, a jigsaw, and a dremel with a new plunge router attachment. I scared to death :) but determined. I was also a little frustrated. I had borrowed some library books for toy shapes and plans and found out that my arsenal was a challenge in itself. I just took some of the visuals from the books and made my own attempts to create within the boundaries of what I had.

First item was the toy train. Scrap pine can be a challenge all by itself. The wood is weak and can split and crack very easily. I cut the pieces with a jigsaw and built up the base. The wheel holes in the 2×4 was almost the death of me. I could not center them no matter how hard I tried. I did end up breaking down and getting my HF benchtop drillpress to complete. So I made out in the end. I used the dremel plunge router to make the stripes on the wheel. The boiler was actually a piece of maple limb I had from a tree I cut down. I peeled the bark, sanded it down some and left the rest intact. I liked the knots as it made it look like a homemade train. I used dowels for the steam pipe and fencing around the boiler.

Gabe's pirate gun, another piece of pine I shaped out with the jigsaw. I had old copper pipe pieces so used the pipe for the barrel and the pipe clamps for the trigger finger. I routed out a little skull and crossbones to make it official :)

The tic tac toe board was probably my most dangerous piece. I used a hole saw set to make the circles but had to use a forstner bit to make the x shapes and then used the miter saw to separate them. Every now and then a piece would go flying and nearly slam into my head. I would watch it hit the shop wall and think "Boy, that was stupid." I didn't cut my hand off and I didn't knock myself unconscious with flying debris but I did buy a small bandsaw later on for that type of work. You can add woodworkers to the list of children and drunks that God seems to look out for. I routed the lines of the board with the dremel and made holes with a spade bit. The Xs and Os had holes drilled in the center then mounted on dowels.

And that is how my interest all began….



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19,732 Posts
A fun couple of projects welcome to Ljs David.

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16 Posts
very cool projects!! The tic-tac-toe board looks awesome!