Children love toys that are capable of carrying building bricks, sand and, if you are lucky, logs for the fire or lawn cuttings for the compost heap! So, to aid the garden work-force I have designed this simple dump truck which I hope will be eagerly used by all aspiring transport managers. It will provide tremendous play value and is not too difficult or time-consuming to make.

The chassis and seat are made from Nordic redwood and the tipper from Finnish plywood.

1. Start with the chassis. Cut the main plank to length and mark out a groove at one end to take the steel rod that will hold the tipper body to the chassis. This arrangement is far stronger than using hinges which would not stand up to the hours of wear and tear the truck will get.

The groove does not have to be round. All you have to do is cut a trench of sufficient depth to hold the steel axe firmly, and there are a number of ways of doing this. You can use: a tenon saw to cut along the edges and remove the waste with a chisel; a traditional plough plane; an electric router – if you have access to one of these wonderful power tools. The most important thing is to ensure that the trench is cut to a uniform width and depth. Keep laying the steel axle in the groove as you work on it to check the fit.

Once you have finished this trench you have to cut an identical one in another piece of wood. This will form the ‘lid’ of the axle channel and hold it in position on the chassis plank. I found it easier to do this on the end of a longer plank and then cut off the strip I needed. When you have done this, round off one of the top edges of the strip as shown on the plans and screw it on to the end of the chassis plank, driving the screws in from underneath the chassis.

2. In order to prevent little fingers getting trapped under the tipper body when it is closed, you need to glue and screw a strip of wood across the chassis plank and fit some large rubber buffer pads on top. You could use a number of tap washers held to the mounting block with a screw through the middle if you can’t find any suitable pads.

3. Cut out the mounting block for the castors at the back, drill holes for these and then glue and screw the block to the underside of the chassis plank.

4. Now make the seat. Cut out the four pieces of timber required (back, sides and seat). I gave the side pieces angles to add a realistic look to the ‘engine compartment’. The back must have the corners rounded off for safety reasons – use a chisel or spokeshave for this job and glasspaper it well. I strongly advise counterboring ail the screws as screw heads can scratch and spoil the look of the finished toy. Plug the holes with dowel rod glued into place, the excess cut off and the surface glasspapered smooth.

5. Now make the catch that holds the tipper body in the closed position. It is essential to make this from plywood which has none of the short-grain weaknesses of ordinary timber. Mark the shape out carefully and then cut it out using a coping saw. Cut out the mounting block and cut the slot for the catch to fit into using a tenon saw for the vertical cuts and a coping saw to remove the waste piece. The catch should fit tightly into the mounting block, but still allow movement. With the catch in position, drill the hole for the dowel rod that will hold it there. Screw the mounting block on to the underside of the seat and fit the catch and dowel rod in position.

6. Screw the entire seat assembly on to the chassis by passing screws from the underside of the chassis plank into the sides of the seat.

7. Mark and cut out the two sides, back, front and floor of the tipper body from a sheet of plywood. Tape the sides together and drill holes for the dowel rod that the catch hooks on to, and also for the steel axle at the bottom.

Glue and screw the tipper body together using glue and ‘superscrews’ as these have threads that are better suited to fixing plywood than those of ordinary screws. You will find it helpful to have the dowel rod and steel axle in place whilst you carry out this stage.

8. Now you are ready to fix the tipper on to the chassis. Thread the steel axle through the tipper sides into the channel you made at the front of the chassis plank and out through the other side, placing a piece of plastic tubing on either side between the tipper sides and chassis plank to act as spacers and keep the tipper body in the centre of the chassis.

9. Fix wheels and spring caps on the ends of the axle and screw two castors on to the back of the truck. Castors make the toy very manoeuvrable.

10. Finish off the toy with a good glasspapenng . I also added some brightly coloured tape for extra decoration. Pay particular attention to painting the inside of the tipper as this will have to withstand sand and logs being loaded in with great vigour!

Cutting list

Chassis assembly 1 off 527 × 194 × 20mm (20 ¾ × 75/8 × 3/4in) Timber

2 off 194 × 44 × 20mm (75/8 × 13/4 × 3/4in) Timber

1 off 254 × 67 × 20mm (10 × 25/8 × 3/4 in) Timber

1 off 152 × 95 × 20mm (6 × 33/4 × 3/4 in) Timber

Seat assembly 1 off 254 × 194 × 20mm (10 × 75/8 × 3/4 in) Timber

2 off 254 × 95 × 20mm (10 × 33/4 × 3/4 in) Timber

1 off 194 × 95 × 20mm (75/8 × 33/4 × 3/4 in) Timber

Catch 1 off 229 × 83 × 9mm (9 × 31/4 × 3/8 in) Plywood

Catch mounting block assembly 1 off 127 × 95 × 20mm (5 × 33/4 × 3/4 in) Timber

1 off 95mm (33/4 in) × 9mm (3/8 in) diam dowelling

Tipper body — sides 2 off 381 × 305 × 9mm (15 × 12 × 3/8 in) Plywood

— front and back 2 off 302 × 203 × 9mm (117/8 × 8 × 3/8 in) Plywood

— floor 1 off 302 × 235 × 9mm (117/8 × 91/4 × 3/8 in) Plywood

— handle 1 off 330mm (13in) × 16mm (5/8in) diam dowelling


2 off 197mm (73/4 in) diam road wheels

2 off 12mm (1/2in) spring dome caps

2 off 20mm (3/4 in) o/diam × 12mm (1/2n) 1/diam × 54mm(21/8in) spacers

1 off 432mm (17in) × 12mm (1/2 in) diam steel axle

2 off 51 mm (2in) diam castoring wheel assemblies

3 off 12mm (1/2 in) diam × 12mm (1/2 in) high rubber buffer pads

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