Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 3, Issue 2
November 2008
Make an Automaton

What You'll Need
  • Three pieces of softwood:
             5"x5"x5/8" for the body and jaw
             6"x3"x1/4" for the legs
             3"x1"x1/8" for the tail
  • Four pieces of hardwood:
             6"x3"x3/4" for the base
             3-1/2"x3"x1/2" for the curved support
             4"x1"x1/4" for the bone-shaped crank handle
             4"x3/4"x1/2" for the crank-handle pole
  • Varying lengths of dowel rods 3/32" dia. and three dowel rods 3/16" dia. (1" long, 1-1/4" long and 1-1/2" long)
  • Small eyehook
  • Spray adhesive
  • Wood glue
  • Scroll saw or bandsaw
  • Drill press
  • Stationary belt sander or assorted sanding papers (80 to 100 grits)
    and files
  • Drill bits: 3/32", 7/64", 3/16" and 5/16" (or 3/8")
  • Short bar clamp
  • Standard safety gear
Getting Started
For efficiency, first complete all the common tasks in the following order:
  1. Print a copy of the four full-sized templates (A, B, C and D) and the two illustration diagrams (see page 5).
  2. Cut out the patterns and affix them to the designated wood pieces using spray adhesive.
  3. On a drill press, drill all holes exactly as marked on the patterns—the alignment of the holes of mating parts is critical.
  4. Using a bandsaw or scroll saw, cut out all parts on the waste side of the line and then sand flush to the line. (If you are a carver, you may want to carve out the dog.) Use a file or a fine-tooth saw to remove the waste around the teeth.
The dog-body parts   Top view of the jaw
The dog-body parts   Jaw viewed from the top

Remember: Never glue any joints until the entire piece is ready for assembly and all the movements have been tested to ensure they are working smoothly.

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