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Wobbly Walrus wood toy

This is another of David Wakefields wood toys. I have not make this one before, but he looks cute :)

I am going to use red oak for the main body and white maple for the tusks, to give a good color contrast.

I entered the design into Sketchup

Main Body

I glued up 2 pieces of 3/4" thick red oak to make the blank.  I made the blank bigger for 2 reasons...........1. Safety, you want a bigger blank to hold when you make the dado cut on the table saw, 2. leave room for an angle cut to level in drill press for 3/8" dowel  hole drilling.

Dado sawing

I did about 4 passes on the dado saw cut which is centered and 5/8" wide. I used blue masking tape to mark how far to move the blank into the saw for each cut.

Drilling angled 3/8" dowel hole

I also drilled the 3 holes in the body.

Band Saw and Scroll saw cuts

I reduced the sign of the blank, so it would fit in my band saw and I used my biggest 1/2" size blade. I used an old wood clamp to hold the piece vertical in the band saw.

After I finished the bandsawing, I taped the 2 waste pieces back onto the main body, so it was ready to scroll saw the outline.

It took about 3 hours to make the main body including gluing and clamping up the blank boards.

All pieces made on original Design

Making his mouth open wider

I always like to maximize the action the toy does, so how can I increase how wide his mouth opens?

Well, if I increase the cam throw, that will open his mouth further.  I increased the throw by 1/4" by redesigning the cam.

But, you have to increase the wheel diameter also, because if you don't, the cam will hit the ground when you are moving it along.  I increased the wheel diameter from 1-3/4" to 2-1/4".

How it Works

I made an illustration to show how this toy works.

Improved Design in Sketchup

Improved Design in Sketchup Warehouse

I uploaded my improved design to the warehouse, you can use this link to download it.

Stain on the Red Oak

I wanted a darker brown color for the walrus, so I used this stain.


I pinned the cam to the axle using a short piece of 1/8" diameter dowel.

I then glued the first wheel to the axle and dried it in the oven at 120F.   After that, it was sticky when I turned the glue on I put the walrus in the vise and ran the axle at high speed with my 3/8" hand held drill.  I also put on some Johnson's wax as a lubricant.  It seemed to work a lot smoother after I broke it in with the drill.

Youtube Video of model in Action

You can use this link to watch a video of the model in action.

Closing Thoughts on this Project

This was a fun project.

Using the dado blade versus making the body from 3 pieces is probably the best way to go. It did not take that long to set up the dado blade and then make about 4 cuts to depth.

The grandkids should enjoy this one!