When I was a child we had very few store bought toys. As a result, we learned to use any available materials to make the things we wanted. My first paddle wheeler was made from a length of 1" x 6" that I picked up somewhere and used a simple handsaw to cut out.
Being older and a little wealthier now, I was able to make this boat just a little bit fancier.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Most of the materials I used came from my scrap pile:
- A length of 3/4" X 4 1/2" wood
- A piece of 1/2" doweling
- A small piece of 2" X 4"
- A piece of scrap plastic
- A rubber band
- Wood Glue
- Red, White, Blue and Black paint
- Band Saw
- Drill Press with 1/2" bit
- Combination Belt/Disc Sander
Step 2: Cutting and Shaping the Boat
Start with the of 3/4" X 6" length of wood, and cut off a 12" piece - this will be the hull of your boat.
Draw a line across the board, 4" from one end, and two more lines 3/4" in from each side, from the same end of the board up to the line. This outlines and centres the space you will cut out for the paddle wheel, leaving 3/4 inch legs on each side (photo 1).
Find the centre of the other end of your board, and mark a curve from that point to each edge, 1 1/2" down each side. This will form the bow of your boat (photo 2).
Next, use the bandsaw to cut out the section for the paddle wheel and the curve for the bow.
Using the sander, smooth the bow curve.
Cut the 2" X 4" to 5" and, using the hull as a template, mark a curve for the front of the cabin and cut it out on the band saw. Do the same on the 3" X 4" piece that was cut out of the hull.
Step 3: Cut Out the Paddle Wheel
Take the scrap of plastic and cut two 3" X 5" pieces (photo 2).
Place the two pieces together and use the band saw to cut slots in the centre 1 1/2" (photos 3 and 4).
Fit the two pieces together to form an X.
Step 4: Finishing
To add the stacks, drill two holes on an angle, one in front of the other down the centre line of the wheelhouse about 1 1/2" apart.
Put masking tape on the "hull" and the "cabin" to ensure there is bare wood for gluing. Paint the pieces.
When the paint is dry glue your pieces together.
Stretch an elastic over the legs of your boat (you can add a little notch on the outside of each leg once you have found the best position for the paddle wheel), and insert the paddle wheel.
This leaves one final step.
Step 5: Launching
Wind her up.
Once again a paddle wheeler is floating on the Yukon River!