Wooden whell

How to make a small wooden wheel

As promised, today post is not about food. It is about how I made a small wooden wheel for one of my automaton wooden sculpture. You may say, yes yes another one that invent the wheel, it may be so but it worked for me, so I share it with you.

I had a mental block, so I download that photo wooden wheel

from the internet to remained me the geometry of a wheel. If it is not important, you don’t need to go to great extent to be very accurate. For me it was enough to replicate(kind of) the rim section of the wheel and to some degree to carved the treads of the tyre (in exaggeration). Anyway, the real wheel that served as model was from an old tractor trailer from my childhood.

wooden wheel

First thing first. You need to do three things:

A. To cut a wooden circle the size that you need. I used MDF for it and roughly cut it on my band saw.

Wooden wheel

B.  I than shape it on the disc sander, to the exact shape, using my SPECIAL jig.

Wooden wheel

C. Build a primitive wood lathe. I discovered that if I use only the drill as a lathe, the force you exert with the chisel on the wheel will ruin to drill and it won’t make a good and symmetrical round  wheel. So you need to back the blank wheel from the opposite side similar to a proper lathe.

Wooden wheel        Wooden wheel

I attached the drill on an  adjustable block of wood to a solid wood base and attached my adjustable vise, to the same base.

Attached the wooden MDF wheel to the drill, I used my buffing polishing mandrel. I clump  harden pointy bar of steel into the vise and adjust it to fit the middle of the blank wooden wheel dead centre (I did drill small hole in the head of the mandrel, so the point fit snugly to it). don’t tighten it too much, as it can slow the drill and brake it.

Mark the profile of the wheels’ rim on the MDF wheel blank  with black dot.  Run the drill on relative fast revolution and start to curve it along the marking. I use my rough all-rounder chisels for that.

Wooden wheel

In hindsight I should built  a tool rest  for the chisel, but I was too lazy.

After finishing to curve the rim profile I marked the location of the tyre treads, mount it (yet again) on purpose build mount, it enable me to hold it firmly wile I carved the treads.

Wooden wheel             Wooden wheel

Wooden wheel Now all you have to do is to paint it. I contemplating to stick some pins into the wood to imitate nuts and bolt but again I was too lazy.

And here it is.    Oops, see featured image at the beginning.

Eventually I fix it into my automaton sculpture, step back and admired my handy work. (it is on the bottom right of the sculpture).

Wooden wheel






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