Simple things

I just finished the easiest, simplest project I’ve done in years. And I couldn’t have had more fun doing it.

I told you recently of the articulated dragon toy I’m making for my grandson Jed. The project is coming along nicely whenever I can find time to work on it, but as it nears completion it’s occurred to me that it may be a bit fragile for a one-year-old. Sure, it’s a fine toy that will entertain him when he has adult supervision, but I wanted to also make something he can bash on the floor, something I’m told (and seem to recall from personal experience) that one-year-olds are wont to do.

So I Googled around a bit and found some simple cars and trucks that he can bash to his destructive little one-year-old heart’s content.

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There’s almost nothing to them: some basic car shapes cut out of a scrap of 2×6, a little drilling and sanding, a bag of craft-store hardwood wheels, a bit of oil finish, and they were done. The most difficult part of making these little guys was finding a parking spot at the craft store.

I love making intricate projects in the shop. The articulated dragon I’m working on, which is far more involved than I originally thought, is a good example. So, too, are the painstaking reproductions of 19th-century furniture and Civil War items that have become somewhat of a specialty for me. But these toy cars were just a joy to work on, not least of which was the glorious scent of pine in my shop – I can’t recall the last time I worked with pine, and the aroma triggered a lot of memories.

Who could have known that making these things for my favorite little kid would also reawaken the little kid in me?

A.J.

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