(Photo by Jarren Vink)
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 color. The best wagons are red, though. Bore a ¼-inch hole for the steering bolt through the bottom panel.
Make the side rails, back rail, and battens (see diagram, next page). 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 1-inch 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 ¾-inch 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 center 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 vise and bore a hole in its center 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.
(Illustration by George Retseck)
A 2x Side ¾" x 4½" x 24"
B 2x End ¾" x 4½" x 14½"
C 1x Plywood bottom ½" x 16" x 24"
D 2x Side rail ¾" x 3½" x 12"
E 1x Back rail ¾" x 4½" x 14½"
F 6x Batten ½" x 1⅝" x 9¼"
G 8x Wheel truck ½" x 2¾" x 4½"
H 4x Truck separator block ¾" x ¾" x 2¾"
I 2x Wheel mounting block ¾" x 1¾" x 3¾"
J 1x Steering yoke ¾" x 6" x 12"
K 1x Dowel (handle shaft) ¾" diameter x 24"
L 1x Dowel (handle grip) 1¼" diameter x 5"
4 ⅜-inch-diameter x 2½-inch hex-head-bolt axle
(Note: Cut off excess ¼ inch; finished bolt is 2¼ inches.)
8 ¾-inch-diameter washers
4 ⅜-inch cap nuts
1 100-piece pkg ¾-inch No. 6 Phillips-head wood screws
1 100-piece pkg 1-inch No. 6 Phillips-head wood screws
1 1-pound pkg 2-inch 6d bright finish nails
4 ½-inch x 4½-inch-diameter wheels with ⅝-inch hub (Note: item No. 71039 at .)
1 ¼-20 x 2-inch carriage bolt
2 ¼-20 hex nuts
1 1-inch-diameter screw eye
1 ⅝-inch-diameter screw eye
16 Finish washers
1 pint polyurethane, 1 quart acrylic latex primer, 1 quart semigloss dark red acrylic latex, wood filler, wood glue