Lee's Wooden Motorcycle
A tip for converting dimensions from a photo.

SHOP OWNER: Lee Brubaker
Edmonton, AB

    Last December our local paper carried an article covering the problems that have been cropping up with Chinese made toys. The article carried a picture of a clever Welsh toy maker posing with a motorcycle rocker. What a neat idea, so I built one. This coming December, the rocker along with additional toys will be distributed to children of needy families.
    To convert the photo to working dimensions, a base dimension needed to be determined. I assigned a wheelbase of 24" and then measured the wheelbase in the photo in millimeters. The number of millimeters divided into 24" gave me the millimeters per inch. Thus, measuring wheel diameter, seat height, handlebar height, etc. gave me inch dimensions that would be proportionately correct. While the concept is quite simple, it still resulted in much re-measurement, a little head scratching, but still fun to do.
    The wheels are solid wood from which I profiled the rims and hubs using a router mounted on my RAS. The inside of the rims have a 1/8" wide x 1/8" deep ledge. Ditto for the hubs. The 3/16" dowels were then glued to these ledges giving the illusion of spokes.
    The photo copied European light motorcycle designs and I departed from that in that I wanted a more North American styled cycle profile.
    Since no finish was applied, using different wood species provides contrast. While we know that today's finishes in both the U.S. and Canada contain no lead and are not toxic after curing, the general population is often not aware of this. Without finish, they don't have this worry when a child is playing with a toy that I have made.
    Lastly, the rocker is likely to be subjected to enthusiastic use (rough). So to inhibit heavy duty rocking, hence risk to the child, I flattened the rockers somewhat. Not a lot but enough that it would be more difficult to have an accident. A rocker in a kindergarten will present a greater risk than one in a private residence.
. . . Lee Brubaker


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