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Surprises from Santa's workshop.

Put your woodworking skills to work to make holiday gifts and decorations. Here we show how to make doll furniture, a sturdy toy truck, a Western Santa, and a whimsical team of reindeer. If your tools and experience are limited, start with the reindeer: they're the least intricate.

Furniture for dolls

For the table and chairs, you will need 2 feet each of 1-by-12, 1 1/4-inch-diameter closet pole, and 1-by-2; two 3-foot lengths of 3/8- and 3/4-inch dowels; and four 1-inch-diameter wooden drawer pulls.

Make the table's top and the chair seats by cutting the 1-by-12 into one 11-inch square and four 5 1/2-inch squares. Cut the closet pole and 1-by-2 each into four 5 1/2-inch lengths. Cut the 3/8- and 3/4-inch dowels each into sixteen 4-inch lengths.

Sand the tabletop's corners round. Then, using glue and finishing nails, secure the closet-pole legs to the tabletop near its corners, 2 inches in from each side (to each leg's center point). Glue a drawer pull to the bottom end of each leg.

Along a line 3/8 inch in from one edge of each chair seat, center four 3/8-inch holes 1 inch apart and 1/2 inch deep. Make corresponding holes in one edge of each 1-by-2, and glue four "rails" of 3/8-inch dowel between the seat and chair top. Turn the seat over and drill 1/2-inch-deep holes for the 3/4-inch dowel legs. Center front legs 1 inch in from front and side, back legs 1 inch in from side and 1 1/4 inches in from back edge. Glue pieces together.

For the doll bed, you'll need 7 feet of 1-by-1; 2 feet of 1-by-3; two 3-foot lengths of 3/8-inch dowel; and sturdy string. Cut the 1-by-1 into four 3 1/2-inch, two 10-inch, and two 19-inch lengths. Cut the 1-by-3 into two 12-inch lengths and the dowels into sixteen 4-inch lengths. In each 10-inch 1-by-1, center and drill eight 3/8-inch holes 1 1/4 inches apart; drill corresponding holes in the edges of 12-inch 1-by-3s. Center and drill seventeen 1/8-inch holes through each 19-inch side. Assemble the frame, adding end pieces and 3 1/2-inch legs. Thread string through the holes in the frame to support mattress. (For easier threading, stiffen the string end with glue.)

All-wood pickup

Our 20-inch-long truck has a cab big enough to hold dolls or stuffed bears. It's made from one 6-foot length of clear pine 1-by-12, two 3-foot-long 3/8-inch dowels, and one 3-foot length of 3/4-inch dowel. We added two drawer pulls for headlights and a 2-inch-diameter wooden wheel for the steering wheel.

The most difficult jobs are making the two side window cutouts and rounding the eight 5-inch-diameter wheels. Start window cutouts with a drill and complete with a saber saw. Glue and nail pairs of the wheel shapes together to make bulkier tires, then sand the edges smooth.

Clamp the sides (B in the sketches below) together and drill the 7/8-inch-diameter holes for the axles; drill each pair (for front and for back wheels) at one time so axles align perfectly. (The center points of the holes should be 7/8 inch from the bottom of each side piece.) Starting 1 inch from the back of the cab, drill nine 1/2-inch-deep, 3/8-inch-diameter holes at 1-inch intervals into the top edge of each side. Find the center of the railing tops (H) and drill corresponding holes of the same spacing and depth.

Following the exploded sketch, begin assembly by nailing the truck's bed (A) between the sides (B). The bed piece should fit flush at the top and rear but stop 3/4 inch short of each side at the piece's front edge.

Nail the bumper (D) to the grille (C), and then screw or glue on the two drawer-pull headlights. To make the steering column, drill a 3/4-inch hole through a small square of scrap wood and glue a 3-inch piece of 3/4-inch dowel into it. Screw the small wooden wheel to the top and glue the wood square to the floor of the cab. Complete assembly by gluing and nailing in place the cab back (E), top (F), hood (G), and grille with bumper. Countersink the finishing nails, fill the holes with wood putty, and sand smooth.

Cut the 3/8-inch dowel into eighteen 3 3/4-inch lengths. Glue these into the holes drilled in the railing tops (H) and the corresponding holes in truck sides.

Center and drill a 3/4-inch hole through each wheel, making sure not to drill at an angle. To keep the wheels from rubbing against the truck sides, we made 2 1/2-inch-diameter "washers" from scrap 1/4-inch plywood. Each washer has a 7/8-inch hole through its center. Cut the 3/4-inch dowel into two 12 1/2-inch lengths, run them through the truck body, slip on the washers, glue on wheels, and sand.

Finish with penetrating oil sealer or clear polyurethane.

Slot-together Santa and reindeer

Cut from pine 1-by-12s, each figure slips together easily with intersecting cross-lap joints. Disassemble and store them flat the rest of the year.

To make the figures, you'll need heavy construction paper; a saber, jig, or band saw; a drill with a 1/2-inch bit; sandpaper; and wood (about 4 feet of 1-by-12 per figure if you cut all pieces so they run with the grain, less if you cut smaller pieces--legs, antlers, or arms--across the grain).

Enlarge pattern pieces on construction paper. Outline them on the wood.

Make notches no wider than the wood's thickness; if they're too big, the figures won't stand up properly. Cut out the pieces, drill 1/2-inch holes for the eyes, and sand. If necessary, file or sand the notches to widen them just enough for a secure fit.

Finish the figures as you like. We left the reindeer natural, but you might prefer to paint or stain the antlers.

We painted the white beard on our Santa, but for his clothes and cowboy hat we used a soft cloth to apply red paste shoe polish. The polish lets the wood's grain show through but doesn't bleed where you don't want it. To get precise lines, we used masking tape.

Our Santa's arms pivot on a short piece of 1/2-inch dowel, but you can glue them right onto the body, if you like.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Special Issue: Best of the Holidays; woodwork decorations and gifts
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Holiday doings around the West.
Next Article:Ornaments on the fly.

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