Miniature Wagon Wheels

Robert166

robert166
Senior User
I have been asked to make a miniature cannon. Body frame I can figure out, but the spoke wheels have me scratching my head. I need some advice please.
 

bowman

Board of Directors, Events Director
Neal
Staff member
Corporate Member
I would make 12 spokes out of 1/4" dowels, cut about 6" long. Use a hole saw to make the hub, about 1-1.25" diameter. Mark the hub every 30 degrees (like a clock), and drill the holes in the hub. Use a circle jig to lay out the 12" diameter wheel . Insert the dowels into the hub, lay the finished product where the dowels lay on top of the wheel. Mark the outside edge of the wheel where the dowel is laying and drill the hole. Remove the dowels and thread through the wheel and into the hub. If dry-fit is good, remove the spokes and glue in, (after you have applied appropriate finish).
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Here’s a wheel I made for a child size wheel barrow back in 1979 or 80. I made 200 of them and sold through Newman-Marcus. Your hub would be different and the rim should be thicker for a cannon. I laminated the wheel and nailed a metal strapping band for the tire. Spokes were 3/8 x 3/4 rectangular at the hub and spoke shaved to 3/8 round at the wheel. I made a jig to hold everything in place and drilled 1/4 inch holes through the wheel into each spoke and glued a dowel in place to hold. I only weighed 200 pounds back then, but I could stand in the wheel barrow.

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Robert166

robert166
Senior User
"I laminated the wheel and nailed a metal strapping band for the tire"
Laminated? Hmmm thats alot better than the idea I had!
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
It makes a very strong wheel. Scarf the ends so they overlap. The bending jig is pretty easy to make, be sure to wax it well so the wheel will come off when it’s dry. I think I had three layers so I offset the joints by 1/3 of the circumference.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
After 40 years and a dozen moves I’m sorry but they are long gone. I wouldn’t have one of the wheel barrows except I gave one to my mother and got it back when she died ten years ago.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
All you need is a piece of plywood and a 11 inch circle cut in 1/3s. That is assuming the wheel will be 1/2 inch thick. Or 10 inch circle if you want 1 inch thick. Glue and screw the circle to the plywood and wax well. I think for a cannon 1 inch would look nice and beefy.

For the first layer just glue the scarf joint, clamp, and let dry. Then add one layer at a time. I think for a wheel that small 1/8 inch thick ribs will bend without breaking. Start in the middle, clamp around as you go and mark the length, then scarf the joint. I would overlap about 1.5 inch. When you have that fitted well glue it in place. Each rib will be slightly longer so fit them one at a time.
 

sawman101

Bruce Swanson
Corporate Member
There is a forum for such things, this one is based in the UK, but has members in the U.S. and worldwide. You will find a wealth of information about anything horsedrawn in model form. A true wooden wheel has 2 felloes or every 2 spokes, the felloes being the wooden wheel rim made up of sections, then held in place by the tire iron. You can also learn the different types of hubs and why spokes were staggered. Have fun!
Scale Model Horse Drawn Vehicles
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
I have been asked to make a miniature cannon. Body frame I can figure out, but the spoke wheels have me scratching my head.
A picture or drawing would be helpful to see the overall plan and dimensions of the body frame and 12" diameter wheels. Do you have a picture of what you've been asked to build? Does it have to roll on the wheels or can it just be fixed on the axle?

You could buy some already made 12" diameter wheels


 

Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
The laminated wheels that Mike made are very nice. I think those would work well for you. Certainly better than wheels made of MDF. If you wanted to make more traditional wheels with felloes instead of laminating like Mike did, I can give you some ideas. The process would be very similar to what I used for the steering wheel I made for my sailboat.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
The thing about felloes is you really need a good steel tire or rim to hold it all together.

For a real full size wagon that is the best route. Since most woodworkers don’t have the tools or experience to size and forge weld a tire my way way is more expedient, much faster, easier, and a much shorter learning curve. The wheel barrow I copied was made in about 1890 in New York State. It was used by several generations of children and still held up very well when my step father asked me to reproduce it.
 
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Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
The laminated wheels that Mike made are very nice. I think those would work well for you. Certainly better than wheels made of MDF. If you wanted to make more traditional wheels with felloes instead of laminating like Mike did, I can give you some ideas. The process would be very similar to what I used for the steering wheel I made for my sailboat.
I think your reply is appropriate and pertinent to the conversation Dave. After all he may want to make it as authentic as possible. I didn’t mean to discount your input, I’m sorry.
 

Robert166

robert166
Senior User
I found that link also, showed to my brother (he is the one that wants them built) he replied, "you can build them cheaper than that." I told him he is paying for the know how, not the manual labor.
 

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