Toy Project: As daylight grows shorter at this time of the year, you’re apt to find a lot of woodworkers gravitating to the shop much earlier than usual, with thoughts of the fast approaching festive season milling around in their heads.
Christmas, children and toys seem to go together naturally. You could wait until December 24, and then rush all over town looking for that last minute gift you’ll never find, or you could make a splendid, but very friendly, Woodshopasaurus rex for that special child (or adult) in your life. In fact, with this project you can get twice the pleasure, by involving an older child in making ‘dino’ for a younger sibling – or quadruple the pleasure by making both of the dinos.
This is a simple and fun project to make, and it can easily be completed in a Saturday afternoon. You could use softwood for this project, but hardwood is a better choice, as dinos are known to be rather rambunctious. While you could cut out these parts on a bandsaw or by hand using a coping saw, we suggest that you use a scroll saw, as it’s a safe tool for any young apprentices to use (under careful and constant supervision of course).
• Prepare enough blanks of the proper size for the body and leg sections.
• Print out the dinosaur pattern using your computer and use some spray adhesive to fasten the pattern to your blanks. You may have to photo enlarge the patterns.
• Use the scroll saw to cut out the pieces. This is a great operation for your young assistant, just be there to help guide them at first and then stand back and watch as they complete the pieces.
• Use files and sandpaper to shape the pieces and soften some of the edges on the legs.
• Smooth out any curves and sand away any saw marks. Mark the location of the axle hole on each leg and drill this on a drill press. Do not drill all the way through the leg.
• Trace the location of the legs on the body. Mix up some five-minute epoxy and fasten the legs in place. Do the front legs first and when the epoxy has set, do the rear legs. Place the wheels on the axles and insert them in the holes without glue. Ensure all four wheels rest on the ground. While the epoxy cures go for milk and cookies.
• Draw in the various features (big eyes and a mouth, of course!) and, if you’ve a young apprentice or two working with you, select a bunch of acrylic paints and turn them loose with a paintbrush for the finishing details.
• When the paint has dried, mix up a little more epoxy and fasten the four wheels to the legs using axles; these are available through most woodworking and craft outlets.
If this is a free-range dinosaur, leave it as it is, but if this is a house dinosaur you might want to install an eyehook and a leash. And remember, let the younglings play with it once in a while.
Scroll Saw Blades, Wheels
Scroll Saw Blades