Wood Chopper Windmill




Introduction: Wood Chopper Windmill

About: Hey I'm Stefan, I'm 16 years old and I live way up in Canada :P I am passionate about music, especially my violin which I have played for over 11 years.

This is a fun to build toy/decoration that easily provides entertainment or simply catches one's eye. It can be built with simple woodworking tools and can easily be throw together within a few evenings.

I know this is probably annoying, but I've entered this in the Toy, Fathers Day, and Epilog V Contest's. If you like it, show some love by giving me a vote :)

Tracing Paper
6" X 6" (1/4" thick)plywood-for arms
10 1/4" X 5 1/8" (1 3/8" thick) softwood-for body
13 3/4" X 8" (3/4" thick) plywood-for base
5 1/2" X 12 5/8" (1/16" thick) balsa or plywood-for windmill sails
2 3/4" diameter wooden wheel (can be purchased at a hardware store)
12" long stiff wire
2 x 12" long (5/8" thick) dowels-for uprights
9 1/2" coat hanger wire
1 x 1/4" nut, bolt, and washer (at least 3" long)
1 x 1/16" nut, bolt, and washer
wood glue
acrylic paints
Polyurethane varnish
Sharp craft knife
drill bits to match dowels and bolts
needle nosed plyers
small saw
carving knife

( I included an image of the template I used)

Step 1: Cutting Out the Parts

The first step is very simple, cut the parts out with the template provided with the fretsaw.

Step 2:

Drill the holes needed in each of the body parts. Careful that the holes are straight, especially for the body, because if they are not, the moving parts will not work properly.

Step 3:

Shape the body as you like with the carving knife and sandpaper, then paint. Feel free to be as creative as you like :)

Step 4:

Glue the shoulder spacer onto the body.

Step 5:

Bend a small part of the wire around the tip of your needle nosed pliers. Make sure when you secure the wire under the bolt that the wire does not slip over the head of the bolt.

Step 6:

At this point, I fitted all the moving parts together, and made sure everything worked. I needed to trim the bolts down a bit so I cut them to length with a hack saw. Also glue the nut to the bolt and the washer with a bit of wood glue.

Step 7:

Now for the base. Measure 2 in. down from each corner and use those as reference points to cut off the corners evenly. Measure 3/4 in. down from one end and and mark the holes for the upright positions 2 in. apart. Drill the holes with a 5/8 in. drill bit and then fit the dowels in. This step may be a little hard to follow, but the most important thing is that the uprights are 2 in. apart and are about centered at one end of the base.

Step 8:

Measure 6 in. of coat hanger wire and cut it. Now make a 90 degree bend in the middle of it (doesn't have to be too accurate.) Make another 90 degree bend about 1/2 in. down, make your next 90 degree bend an inch away from your last one. The last bend will again be 90 degrees and 1/2 in. up from your previous bend. The piece of wire should have a U shape in the middle of it now.

Step 9:

Drill a 1/8 in. hole 2 in. down from the top of each upright. Fit the coat hanger, and bend the piece of wire you had fitted to the arm previously, to fit around the coat hanger wire.

Step 10:

Now for the windmill. For the wooden wheel, you can either make it yourself, or most bigger hardware stores carry stuff like that, anyway just make sure it is 7 in. in diameter. To measure where you will cut for the windmill blades, first take a ruler and draw four lines that will split the wheel up into 8 equal parts. Next, take a protractor, and wherever the line reaches the edge, draw a 45 degree angle across the curved edge of the wheel. You should then end up with 8, 45 degree lines. Cut with a handsaw about 1/8 in. deep. Now drill a 1/8 in. hole in the center of the wheel.

Step 11:

Use the template to cut out the windmill blades if you have not done so already. Glue each blade in.

Step 12:

To mount your windmill on the coat hanger wire, take your tape and wrap it around one spot on the wire until it fits snugly into the hole on the windmill. Glue the windmill onto the tape using a fairly large amount of wood glue.

Step 13:

Attach all the wires and such where they need to be and place the figure so that the wire is perpendicular from the coat hanger. Now glue the figure in place, and add any decorations you want. I decided to cut some smaller branches to look like logs that the wood chopper is cutting.

Step 14:

There you have it! This little guy definitely looks very cool on a windy day and will turn many eyes. Happy Building :)

Toy Contest

Finalist in the
Toy Contest

Father's Day Contest

Finalist in the
Father's Day Contest



    • Fix It! Contest

      Fix It! Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest
    • Metalworking Contest

      Metalworking Contest

    32 Discussions

    I would use a drop of nail varnish on the nut to hold it in place as it is waterproof

    Hya Steveo1357, hope you do not mind but i used you instructable and modelled it for 3D printing!

    How did I miss this one? This is totally awesome, thank you for sharing your awesomeness :[).

    Yea, it was an adaptation from something I found in an old book

    Great project. Well done - looks really cool. I think I might try to adapt this for a kinetic metal sculpture.

    Thanks for this post! My great-grandfather made things like this for the grandkids . . . brought back many sweet memories for me. Maybe I can try to make some of my own, too!

    Hi, nice work. Just curious, the template says, "Woodcutter page 82 to 87". Is that a magazine or book you got the template from?

    oh and quiltslongarm, the figure should be about 10 in. tall

    There, the video should be up now :) sorry for the wait. Bodmer, that's definitely a good point, I've been looking around for some different hardware that I could use for the windmill mechanism but I haven't found anything very suitable. Thanks for all the helpful comments! :)

    Hey Steve, do you have a short video of it by any chance?..it would be very nice to see it running...errrr, I mean chopping ;-) Very nice project, well done :-)

    Great. The mechanism side needs some development, it won't last long outside. Add proper bearings and end stops to take the "thrust" from the prop. Constrain the push rod on the crank so it does not drop over the bend.

    I really enjoyed seeing this. It makes my mind race at all the things I could make...well, think I could make.

    Stefan, the template does not appear to be full scale. What size should the main
    body be?
    Thank you,

    Here's an even easy and fun way to make a whirligig


    I am going to make this with plastic and metal parts. It will last much longer outdoors than wood. There is a Fisherman one like this too. Oh, and a Hen & Chicks. They are wind powered (animated) too! If I find the plans I will post them. Thanks, I now have another reason to go down into my cool basement workshop on these hot days!