A toy wagon is the quintessential holiday gift, even in an age as digital as this one. It doesn’t need batteries, and it’s nearly impossible to wear out. It never goes out of style. Your kids will be hauling the dog around in it within a week. And if you build your wagon well, someday their kids might use it for the same purpose.
Step 1 – Make the body
Make the wagon-box parts and apply latex primer. Attach the side panels to the front and back panels with wood glue and 6d finish nails. Paint everything red. Or any colour. The best wagons are red, though. Bore a 6-mm hole for the steering bolt through the bottom panel.
Make the side rails, back rail, and battens (see diagram). Mark the curve on the back and side rails. Cut the curves with a jigsaw and a 20-tpi (teeth per inch) blade. Prime and paint these parts. Once they’re dry, attach each batten to the wagon’s side and ends with a pair of 25 mm No. 6 wood screws and finish washers.
Step 2 – Add running gear
A good farm wagon rolls on sturdy running gear, and so does a good toy wagon. Crosscut the plywood and solid wood blocks for the wheel trucks, and then glue and screw them together. Apply a coat of polyurethane to the outside of both. Glue the two rear wheel trucks to the bottom panel, and wait for the glue to dry before driving a pair of 20-mm screws with finish washers through the bottom panel and into the wood blocks.
Crosscut the wood for the steering yoke; cut the curve on its front edge using a jigsaw. Use a 20-tpi blade rated for cutting curves. Sand the front edge smooth, and drill the hole for the eye screw that will attach the handle to the yoke. Carefully centre and drill the bolt hole in the yoke. Now glue and screw the front wheel trucks to the yoke in the same way that you attached the rear trucks to the wagon. That completes the yoke assembly. Apply a coat of polyurethane to the top of the yoke.
When this has dried, bolt the yoke to the wagon body.
Step 3 – Attach the handle and wheels
To make the handle, crosscut the dowels, then place the short dowel in a vice and bore a hole in its centre using a spade bit. Apply polyurethane to both dowels, then glue and screw the shorter dowel to the longer one. Bore the pilot hole for an eye screw into the opposite end of the long dowel. To connect the handle to the wagon, connect a large eye screw to a small eye screw. First, twist the smaller screw into the handle and the larger screw into the steering yoke; then slip the large screw through the gap in the smaller one.
Cut the axle bolts to length, and mount the wheels, washers and bolts to each truck. Gently tighten the cap nuts. There you have it: a classic holiday present for the kids. The only thing that would make them happier is if you put this under the tree with a puppy in it. We can’t teach you how to make one of those.
Truck separator block
Wheel mounting block
Dowel (handle shaft)
Dowel (handle grip)
|20 x 114 x 600
20 x 114 x 368
12 x 406 x 600
20 x 89 x 300
20 x 114 x 368
12 x 41 x 235
12 x 70 x 114
20 x 20 x 70
20 x 44 x 95
20 x 150 x 300
20 diameter x 600
30 mm diameter x 125
|10 mm-diameter x 63 mm hex-head-bolt axle
(Note: Cut off excess 6 mm; finished bolt is 57 mm.)
20 mm-diameter washers
10 mm cap nuts
100-piece pkg 20 mm No. 6 Phillips-head wood screws
100-piece pkg 25 mm No. 6 Phillips-head wood screws
500 g pkg 50 mm 6d bright finish nails
12 mm x 114 mm-diameter wheels with 15-mm hub
6 mm-20 x 50 mm carriage bolt
6 mm-20 hex nuts
25 mm-diameter screw eye
15 mm-diameter screw eye
500 ml polyurethane, 1 litre acrylic latex primer, 1 litre semi-gloss dark red acrylic latex, wood filler, wood glue