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  • I need you help choosing the best wood ;-)

    Hi,

    I know you fellas have a TON of woodworking knowledge here, so I was wondering if I could pick you'lls brain on something

    I was wondering if you wood craftsman could tell me what is the best wood to make a wooden toy car wheel?

    The wheel would be like 6" inches round and would need to be strong enough to hold a small child and also be able to last for years without cracking and splitting. The wood wheel would just be painted,

    I know that there is no magic wood, But can you guys recommend the best wood for me to use?

    Thanks so much,

    Joseph
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  • #2
    Re: I need you help choosing the best wood ;-)

    Originally posted by PlumbingSkool View Post
    Hi,

    I know you fellas have a TON of woodworking knowledge here, so I was wondering if I could pick you'lls brain on something

    I was wondering if you wood craftsman could tell me what is the best wood to make a wooden toy car wheel?

    The wheel would be like 6" inches round and would need to be strong enough to hold a small child and also be able to last for years without cracking and splitting. The wood wheel would just be painted,

    I know that there is no magic wood, But can you guys recommend the best wood for me to use?

    Thanks so much,

    Joseph
    I think white oak is commonly used; it's suitable for outdoor use (unlike red oak), and is strong. I believe I've also seen Elm used. More difficult to work with, due to the interlocking grain, but also more strong because of this.

    --Jeff

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    • #3
      Re: I need you help choosing the best wood ;-)

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks so much for the reply

      Is Hope Depot the best place to buy this or is a lumber store better?

      Any difference in price or quality between the two?

      Sorry for all the questions,

      I am a wood new be

      Thanks so much for your help so far
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      • #4
        Re: I need you help choosing the best wood ;-)

        I think I would want to use two/three pieces of wood glued together across the grain, so that you wouldn't have pressure against a single part of the grain. Think plywood.

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        • #5
          Re: I need you help choosing the best wood ;-)

          for a single piece of wood rock elm (also called cork elm) Ulmus thomasii, would be best IMO, but most likely you will not be able to find any, my understanding is it was the preferred wood for wooden wagon wheel hubs because you can not hardly split it, I ran in to some the other day and I would have to run it clear through the wood splitter, (for fire wood) as even an inch of it you could not pull it apart by hand, there was no way of hand splitting a piece of it,

          but even regular elm American or Siberian elm has a well interlocked grain and splitting is difficult,

          with the urethane glues (gorilla glue), I would probably opt for cross gluing two pieces of oak if that was what choice I was left with,

          how about just using some lawn mower type wheels with the hard rubber tire and a steel or plastic rim and hub?
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          • #6
            Re: I need you help choosing the best wood ;-)

            Originally posted by BHD View Post
            for a single piece of wood rock elm (also called cork elm) Ulmus thomasii, would be best IMO, but most likely you will not be able to find any, my understanding is it was the preferred wood for wooden wagon wheel hubs because you can not hardly split it, I ran in to some the other day and I would have to run it clear through the wood splitter, (for fire wood) as even an inch of it you could not pull it apart by hand, there was no way of hand splitting a piece of it,

            but even regular elm American or Siberian elm has a well interlocked grain and splitting is difficult,

            with the urethane glues (gorilla glue), I would probably opt for cross gluing two pieces of oak if that was what choice I was left with,

            how about just using some lawn mower type wheels with the hard rubber tire and a steel or plastic rim and hub?
            Hi,

            Thanks for all the advice,

            Yea, rubber and steel is not an option, this has to be all wood

            But good tips on the wood stuff, I leaned ;-)
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            • #7
              Re: I need you help choosing the best wood ;-)

              Originally posted by cpw View Post
              I think I would want to use two/three pieces of wood glued together across the grain, so that you wouldn't have pressure against a single part of the grain. Think plywood.

              Hmmmm. I never thought about plywood.

              You think something like 3/4 " would do the trick?
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              • #8
                Re: I need you help choosing the best wood ;-)

                Originally posted by PlumbingSkool View Post
                Hmmmm. I never thought about plywood.

                You think something like 3/4 " would do the trick?
                I wouldn't use actual plywood, because I would be afraid of it delaminating when exposed to the weather.

                I was just using it as an example of making wood stronger by glueing with alternating grain.

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                • #9
                  Re: I need you help choosing the best wood ;-)

                  White oak is rock hard and good for outdoor use. Hickory will work well also if it is not left out in the wet.

                  Red
                  Red

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                  • #10
                    Re: I need you help choosing the best wood ;-)

                    You probably won't find what you need at a big box store.
                    While making a circle is not considered advanced woodworking,
                    unless you're turning it on a lathe, it may require some special tools.
                    At minimum a jig saw to make a pattern with and a router with
                    pattern bit to cut the wheel.
                    Ideally, a band saw and router table is the way to go.
                    If this is going to be a wagon that a child will ride in, then
                    you can count on some wear and tear on the wheels. You
                    may need to reinforce them with a metal band or at least ease
                    the edges with a round over bit. If it was for
                    my kid, I would consider an alternative type of wheel.
                    Depending on what the axle is made of, you may have to
                    install a bushing in the hole of the wheel.
                    Last edited by Big Jim; 02-11-2010, 10:14 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: I need you help choosing the best wood ;-)

                      I wouldn't advise the cross-gluing approach. Plywood is stable because the cross-veneers are thin. If you cross-glue pieces of substantial-thickness wood together you are creating the very thing that we woodworkers design to avoid - cross grain expansion fighting long grain (lack of) expansion. It's more likely to split. Careful laminations of many (5, 7 or 9) thin pieces (always use an odd number of laminations) would be ok but I don't think it's necessary.

                      Since it's a toy I don't imagine the load being all that heavy. I would go with white oak or douglas fir, both of which should be very easy to find. Elm if you can find it... I don't see that much in the lumberyards here. If using Doug fir, use kiln dried lumber, not a common green 2x8.

                      Wood toys are fine to play with outside but shouldn't be left there! Water and sun.... both are bad news for your hard work!

                      If you can, design it so that the wheels come off easy in case it does end up needing an "engineering change order". If used outside the edges will show wear after years of rolling along the sidewalk, etc.

                      Gorilla glue (any polyurethane) is waterproof but much more brittle than woodworker's glue, and doesn't deal with shock loads as well... like for instance if the toy gets dropped. Titebond III is more water proof than regular wood glues (like Titebond or Titebond II), not 100% waterproof but better.... something to keep in mind if you don't really need fully waterproof.
                      Last edited by Andy_M; 03-01-2010, 02:24 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: I need you help choosing the best wood ;-)

                        Tight grain hardwood is best because it is the most stable.

                        Maple is great but birch is softer and might be easier to work.

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