How to Build Wooden Wagon Wheels

Written by ronnie daniels Google
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How to Build Wooden Wagon Wheels
Making model wagons is an engaging hobby. (western wagon image by maiky911 from Fotolia.com)

Constructing wooden models is an enjoyable pastime. Hobbyists construct detailed replicas of vehicles, buildings and machinery that often take many hours to complete. Model horse drawn wagons and carts offer a wide range of possibilities to the model maker. Wagon wheels can be made as solid or spoke wheels depending upon the type of wagon being re-created in miniature.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wooden craft ring, 2 1/2 inches outside diameter, 1 1/2 inches inside diameter
  • Flat wooden BBQ skewers, 12 inches long by 1/4 inch wide
  • 1/2-inch wooden thread spool (1/2 inch by 1/2 inch)
  • Craft knife and saw kit
  • Rotary tool
  • Sanding tip
  • Coarse sanding band
  • Fine grit sanding band
  • Bench vice
  • Wire snips
  • Pencil or marker
  • Wood glue
  • C clamps

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Attach the bench vice to your work table and open the vice.

  2. 2

    Place the wooden craft ring into the vice in the upright position and close the vice to hold it securely. Close the vice tightly enough to hold the wooden ring without scarring it.

  3. 3

    Place the sanding tip onto the rotary tool and put the coarse sanding band onto the sanding tip.

    How to Build Wooden Wagon Wheels
    The rotary tool can be used for sanding, cutting and engraving. (precision rotary power tool on stand image by Shirley Hirst from Fotolia.com)
  4. 4

    Sand the inside surface of the ring flat with the rotary tool and the sanding tip. Begin with the coarse grit sanding band to get the flat shape on the inside of the wheel.

  5. 5

    Flatten the outside edge of the wooden craft ring using the rotary tool and the coarse sanding band. Remove the coarse sanding band and install the fine grit sanding band. Sand the inner and outer surface of the wheel smooth. You will have to change the position of the ring in the vice to get the entire surface sanded flat. Your goal is for the ring to be between 1/4 and 1/2 inches thick.

  6. 6

    Remove the wooden ring from the vice and place it onto a piece of blank white paper. Trace around the inside with a pencil to make a circle on the paper. Remove the ring and draw a line across the circle from top to bottom with a ruler. Now draw a line across from side to side using the pencil and ruler. The point where the two lines cross is the centre point where your thread-spool axle will go.

  1. 1

    Place the wooden spool into the vice in the upright position and tighten the vice to hold it securely. The spool is going to be the axle hub for your wheel.

    How to Build Wooden Wagon Wheels
    A small thread spool will become the wheel hub. (old wooden spool of thread with needle image by vnlit from Fotolia.com)
  2. 2

    Cut the spool across the middle with the craft saw to make two equal sized pieces. Remove the spool piece from the vice.

    How to Build Wooden Wagon Wheels
    Craft knives and saws can be purchesed as a set. (careful! image by Josef F Stuefer from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

    Measure the distance from the point where the two lines cross to the inside of the circle. This distance minus 1/8 inch is the length of the wagon wheel spokes. Mark this distance on one of the flat skewers and cut a piece of wooden skewer to that length using the wire snips.

  4. 4

    Use the first piece of skewer as a pattern to mark and cut five more spoke pieces. Place one of the spool sections on the point where the two lines cross, wide side up, and put a line of wood glue around the inside edge of the top of the spool. Place the skewer spokes onto the glue and position them an equal distance apart with about 1/8 inch of spoke inside the spool rim.

  5. 5

    Put a line of wood glue around the flat side of the other spool section and place it down onto the spokes. Clamp the two spool sections together until the glue sets. After the spokes and hub dry, place a line of wood glue inside the wooden ring and slide the spokes into the ring. Place the wheel inside a clamp to hold it steady as the glue sets. After the glue dries the wheel is ready to be painted and attached to your wagon.

    How to Build Wooden Wagon Wheels
    Clamps hold the wheel until the glue is set. (need a clamp? image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com)

Tips and warnings

  • Model car wheels are simple to use for smaller wagons and can be purchased individually in craft and hobby stores.
  • Always wear safety glasses when using power tools. Whenever you go in the shop, make safety job number one.

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