A Second Wooden Car with a Different Finish

When I finished my first wooden toy car, my wife asked me to make another one for her nephew. This gave me the opportunity to change a few aspects of the construction.

The first thing I changed was the material. In making the first car, I used some Basswood carving blanks I had purchased from Rockler. While the blanks were extremely easy to work, with basswood is soft and easy to dent. Also the blanks didn't come it one uniform size, so the chances of finding the same sized blanks without having the extra step of resawing was low. So this time I used some SPF 2x6 scrap I had lying around. The pattern I made for the car actually would have fit on a 2x4, but using the 2x6 I was able to move the pattern around more to pick out the best grain with the least number of knots. I also was able to make larger wheels which I felt looked better.

I also wasn't satisfied with the mineral oil finish, it really didn't last. So the second thing I wanted to change was the finish. My sister-in-law is very particular about the toys she lets her kids play with, so to make sure that her son would get to play with the car, I used General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish. I know that most finishes are non-toxic when they dry, but a few extra dollars was worth it so I could point at the label.

The Salad Bowl Finish is actually a wipe on urethane. It was extremely easy to work with. I just sanded the car and wheels to 150 grit, the can recommend 220 grit, but that's overkill for SPF, and wiped on a coat. After about half a day, the finish sets up and feels gritty. I sanded the coat with some #0000 steel wool and applied another coat. After repeating this for the third coat, I lightly sanded the car to remove the grit with the same steel wool, then I buffed it with a clean rag to smooth the finish.

The last change I made was to use soft wood axles that extended all the way through the wheels. Wanting to be absolutely safe, I didn't apply any paste wax to the axles to make them spin better.

Materials: basswood, dowel, mineral oil, paste wax, SPF, steel wool, urethane