Woodworking jigs to make large diameter wooden toy wheels.
The way I normally make wheels for toys is to use a circle cutter – I am happy to do this for wheels up to about 70mm in diameter. Making anything bigger makes me feel less comfortable.
This is how I make large wheels using a disc sander and a very simple but effective jig. When I say large wheels, I mean the size of wheels that cannot be made using the fly cutter, which is another method for making wooden toy wheels.
In the image on the left, the green represents the jig, very similar to a bench hook. The blue disc is the wheel, and the red dot in the middle is the axle.
Showing the underside of the wheel making jig, with two dowel pins fixed in place.
Once again the top of the jig, this time without the wheel to show the dowel. Measure the radius from the face of the disc to drill the hole. I use the same jig with holes at different radii for wheels of different sizes.
Note that the dowel is a press fit, not glued in place. To do this, I cut a slot in the dowel to make it easier to insert and remove without being too loose.
Woodworking Tip: Note that it is good practice to cut the slot in the dowel along the grain and not across it.
Start by marking out the size that I want using a pair of compasses. Sometimes I paste a paper template onto the work-piece. Whichever works best, and the important part is to drill the hole for the axle first.
Using a scroll saw, a band saw or even a jigsaw, I cut out the disc as close to the line as possible trying not to touch it.
Place the rough cut disc on the dowel, it should be able to rotate freely without too much slack.
Start the disc sander, and place the jig on the table with the underside dowel diagonally across from the wheel touching the edge of the table.
This allows me to pivot the jig by applying gentle pressure against the sanding disc and rotating the wheel at the same time. Too much pressure and you burn the wheel.
Slow and gentle is best until you have turned a complete circle, sliding the jig back and forth as you would with any other work-piece.
Viola! You now have a perfectly round large diameter wooden wheel. Not only that, you can make as many as you want and they will all be exactly the same size.