The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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Busy Carpenter toy

The Fall of 2017 issue of Scroll Saw and Woodworking magazine has a neat pattern for a pull-string animated carpenter toy........

I will have to build one of these in the Fall of 2017.  My grandson should really enjoy playing with it :)

Scaling up the Pattern

The original pattern would yield a carpenter about 5 inches tall.  I thought it would be neat if he was bigger, about 8 inches tall.  I scanned the pattern, and imported it into Sketchup.....then scaled it so the final carpenter will be about 8 inches tall.


I used some scrap 1/4" thick plywood for the thicker parts, and 3/16" thin Luan plywood for the thinner parts.

The scaled up head should be about 1-3/8" diameter wood ball. I did not have any of these in stock, so I used 1-1/2" diameter wood balls I did have in stock.  I cut out the pieces on my scroll saw. I bought some thin gauge copper wire at Ace Hardware for the shoelaces.

Hobby Lobby paint and misc supplies

I keep an inventory of Anita's paints, and I added a few more colors for this project.  I also picked up most of the misc materials needed for the project.  

On a previous fire truck project, I found a fine point paint pen at Hobby Lobby.  I also used them on the Growth Boards.  My black and the white pen had dried up at home.  I could not find any new ones at Hobby Lobby, so I hand painted the lines on the carpenters apron with a very fine point artist's paint brush.

Using the oven to speed up painting

I set the old oven around 110-120 degrees (there are no temperature marks that low). I have found that you can paint make paint or varnish dry quickly if you cycle the wood pieces in and out of the oven about every 10 minutes. On some finishes, if you leave it in too along, you will get bubbles.  The Anita paints dried quickly in the oven with no bubbling.  Below is a photo of using the oven to dry the finish on parts from a previous marble game I built.

Finished Busy Carpenter

Closing Thoughts on this Project

This was a fun an easy project to do.Most of the time is required to do the painting work..........but using the oven helps to make this a couple-of-hours type process.

I did find 1 mistake in the pattern. The hole locations on the body for the arms is too close together. I had to move them out away from the centerline to get the arms to fit ok.