On Rachel’s list of potential Christmas gifts for the grandkids this year was a photo of a simple wooden toy bus with ”peg people” for passengers and a note that “dad could make this”. With this in mind I went to the shop to see if I had the materials to make such a thing. Digging through the scrap box I found a chunk of ash (left over from my “chair from a tree” project a couple years ago) that I planed into the bus’s body. The wheels were made from soft maple scrap left over from making kitchen cabinet drawers.
The next step was to dig into the scrap box (and my exotic wood stash and the fire wood stack) to find to find bits of wood to make peg people. I turned one “person” from each type of wood, 3/4, 7/8, or 1 inch in diameter and between about 2 1/4 and 3 inches tall. Here is the passenger list for the bus;
- Bubinga – From an evergreen tree in tropical Africa – via Woodcraft. I’ve used bubinga for tool handles and to make the hand turned toilet paper roll holder in our master bath.
- Cocobolo – From Central America – via Woodcraft. I turned my X’s shift knob from cocobolo.
- Maple – From a scrap left over from making the butcher block counter top in the kitchen
- Basswood – From the tree in our front yard
- Walnut – From a tree my dad's first cousin planted a couple of miles north of Grelton, OH. The same wood I used to make the headboard for our bed as well as carved hand mirrors for Su and Rachel and other projects.
- White Cedar – From a scrap left over from making the back porch-to-house step
- Mulberry – From the firewood pile – the tree was between our driveway & our
- Cherry – From a scrap of the wood I bought to make a harp years ago (the harp is still only half done, need to get working on that...)
- Pine – From a random 2x4 in the shop
- Redheart – From Central America via The Wood Turner's Catalog
- Oak – I think this came from the barn at our last house
- Sassafras – I bought this at Launstein Hardwoods in Michigan when there to pick up Ben's oak floor.
- Beech – From a board dad gave me. He said it had been liberated from Sauder Woodworking's scrap pile
- Mahogany – From South America via KenCraft
- Bocote – From Central America via The Wood Turner's Catalog
- Butternut – From the barn at our last house. I've used this wood to make make pasltries, Shaker boxes, a dulcimer, and a cabinet.
After turning the whole bus full of people I was somewhat surprised to find that I still still a bunch of other woods on hand so I recreated the Lambes family van with Nathan, Rachel, Orion, Desy, & Cece all in their assigned seats. The van body is hard maple (see #3 above) and the wheels walnut (#5 above).
Nathan – Lilac – Yes, the lilac with the fragrant spring flowers. From the bush growing by the back door of my childhood home in Grelton. I’ve had this this bit of wood for years just waiting for the right project.
Rachel – Hickory – From a tree I cut down to make room for my shop. I've kept a few pieces around to make tool handles (i.e. my froe & the chisel Ben made me) & etc.
Orion – Ash – From the tree that was overhanging my shop before the borers killed it. I made post & rung chairs, a shaving horse & and bus’s body (above) from the same tree. These photos were taken on the tree’s stump.
Desy – Kauri – From New Zealand via Woodcraft's 70% off table. The tree is thought to have been knocked into a bog by a tsunami about the time of the last ice age! Dug from the bog and processed into lumber just to make a Desy.
Cece – Hornbeam – From our back yard. Cece is the smallest peg person, just 5/8 inch in diameter (just a wee bit smaller than the stick I made her from) and 2 inches tall.
I really enjoyed making these (thought I’d mention it just in case it’s not obvious) and hope the grandkids have as much playing with them as I had making them!
Cheers – dj