Saturday, December 16, 2017

Some Thoughts on Wooden Wheels

The following are some thoughts that came to mind while watching the video included at the end of this post.  I've made hundreds may be thousands of wheels using the hole saw method. It works and it can work well but as with anything there are pluses and minuses.

I would never use vegetable oil in the bees wax. Vegetable oil can and will eventually go rancid. If you want to use a bees wax finish use mineral oil. Mineral oil will not spoil.

Wheels should have spacers between the wheel and the body. I use nylon washers but metal washers will work. If you do not use spacers the wheels will rub against the body. Not only will this remove the finish and eventually wear into the wood but the additional friction increases the rolling resistance. Sometimes to the point where the wheels slide instead of turning.

Always dry fit you axle pegs with the wheels if they are to tight or to long and you don't know this before you add glue the toy could be ruined. Once you start inserting the peg with glue on it there is very little chance of getting it back out with out damaging something. I've had to cut wheels off, drill out the dowel, plug the hole and drill a ne axle hole. That is where I learned about how important it is to dry fit.
Remember that wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity. Your holes might be slightly larger or smaller than when you drilled them two weeks ago.

1/4 inch dowels may not fit in 1/4 inch holes. They probably will not fit.

Round dowels are not round. When measuring them with you calipers measure in several locations. You will probably discover that your 1/4 inch dowel is only approximately 1/4 inch.

Wood glue causes the wood to expand slightly. If it's a tight fit to the point where you have to force it in dry its going to be even tighter when glue is applied.

If the excess glue has no place to go it can split the wood or come out some place you did not expect. If you are hammering it in or forcing it in some other way. 

If the parts fit you don't need much glue. I always get to much.

I don't like driving pegs in with a mallet or hammer. You have more control using a clamp or vice padded of course. Less chance of breaking something too.

When sanding the wheels on a drill press be sure sand lightly on the edges or you wheels will be out of round as the sand paper will cut slower on the end grain. Use a jig and a sanding belt or disk to get near perfectly round wheels.

Flat sawn wheels may not stay round and might warp, cup, or twist. Wood does not expand the same amount across the grain as it does with the grain. It is good to let you wheels sit for awhile before using them.

So my wheels would all be the same size and at least start out round I always used a jig with a stop to sand the edges of the wheels. I could make a hundred wheels and have them all come out the same size. Using a jig likethis and a belt sander with 60 grit sandpaper you can drill a hole in a piece of wood, mount it on the jig and sand it round. If you do this indoors you better  have very good dust collection.

Wooden Toy Wheels for Model A Norm Marshal
Wooden Toy Wheels for Model A Norm Marshal

Wooden Toy Wheels Steering Wheels for a Norm Marshal Model A Toy Car
Wooden Toy Wheels Steering Wheels for a Norm Marshal Model A Toy Car

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