The other challenge during this process was the fact that
I did not want to buy new drill bits due to my tight budget.
I could not sharpen the bits I was using because they
were Forstner drill bits, so to prevent them from overheating
and dulling, I drilled only a little at a time. I would
remove the bit from the partially drilled hole, and while
it was still turning I would take a bar of soap and rub
it against its side to reduce the friction in the hole.
This also cooled the bit slightly. I was lucky because
the inexpensive set of Forstner drill bits lasted the
I decided to add a ratcheting system to the bicycle.
This would allow me to ride down a hill without having
to pedal. If it was a direct-drive bicycle, I would
have to pedal at all times.
This piece was another difficult one to build because
I was unsure how many fingers (the thin pieces sticking
out of the center piece) it should have and how strong
they should be. After designing all the pieces and determining
the correct angles, I cut each one using a table saw,
a jig saw and a bandsaw. The design process took much
longer than usual because I faced so many unknown challenges.
My main concern was that the notch would not be big
enough and the fingers would slip. Thankfully, everything
turned out fine. I cut the fingers with the wood grain,
so that they would be as flexible as possible and, hopefully,
not break. They needed to be flexible so that they would
bend over each little notch when turning backwards.
After gluing all 18 fingers, I found that the ratcheting
system was much too difficult to turn, so I weakened each
piece using the Dremel, sanding off a thin layer of wood
from each finger. Even after doing this, the system was
still too difficult to turn, so I cut every second finger
down. Afterwards, it turned smoothly, just as I wanted
The bicycle's ratcheting system
The ratcheting system in use
I finished the rest of the bicycle without too many
In the future I hope to find another challenging woodworking
project, but for now, I plan to focus on my schoolwork,
my part-time job and sports.