Lauren borrowed a neighbor’s little wooden doll stroller a few weeks before Christmas. She liked it so much I wanted me to make her one for Christmas.
Here are the photos I took of the project at various points.
The “original” stroller was made of pine and plywood and was tole-painted.
I wanted to make one using solid wood so I choose hard maple.
Since I was using solid hardwood, it lacked the dimensional stability of plywood. Cracks would surely form along the grainline and the endsd might snap off. To solve this, I make a half-lapped X-shape. The seat bottom and back were made from two 4″ pieces glued side by side.
Using the miter guage on the Unisaw, I cut the rabbets at a 85° angle. Precision wasn’t neccessary, since I didn’t have to change the miter guage to cut the opposite and matching angle. I simply cut one side with the guage to the left of the blade and the other side with the guage to the right. By not changing the angle on the guage itself I was able to get a perfectly fitting joint. The only precision needed was in the width, and that was fairly easy.
Here you see the pieces prior to glueing and then one of the X-shapes being clamped after being glued.
After being prepared by the thickness sander to 1/2″ thickness, each piece was cut on the bandsaw and the edges rounded on the router table.
The two X-shaped sides can be seen here with the seat back and bottom and the tray and foot rest.
Well, it doesn’t matter how early I start a Christmas present project, I’m always working on it Christmas eve. After a mad dash searching for some nice hardwood dowels for the seat and the handle, I realized that I should just use the lathe to turn a couple of small spindles using the same maple the stroller was made from.
The smaller spindle which sits vetically between the tray and the seat was the third I made. I learned with the first two how easy it was to make toothpicks on a lathe. The handle, well, after making a beautiful one and removing it from the lathe, i discovered it was about 1/8″ too long. And once you remove something from a lathe, forget about remounting it acurately. So with Christmas morning less than 24 hours away, I decided to use a plain old dowel and replace it with a nice one later when I have more time.
Well, now I’ll have to admit that besides the handle, there are a few things that will have to get done after Christmas, including the foot rest, and a few more coats of poly. It has one coat of semi-gloss polyuruthane on it… sort of. A few hours after the last store closed on Christmas eve, I reached for my quart can of poly, only to discover that the half full can was rock solid. The ply had dried. I stood and stared at the can, uttering a few choice words and then I stabbed the bottom of the can with a long nail. Out ooozed so very thick orange gel. So I grabbed a J-cloth and rubbed it onto the wood. By morning it was dry. Phew!
©2003 Mark Goodall