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

Making the Base
The base is the platform for the dog and the crank handle.
  1. Cut out a notch 3/4"x1/2"deep on the shaded corner of the 6"x3"x3/4" hardwood board for the crank-handle pole.
  2. Glue the crank-handle pole to the base at the notch.
  3. Glue the curved support on the centerline of the 6"x3"x3/4" hardwood board.
  4. Insert two of the 3/16" dowel rods into the crank handles, as shown in template B (see page 5). Use the 1-1/4" long dowel rod for the long crank handle and the 1-1/2" long rod for the short one.
  5. Use the 1" long interconnecting rod to connect the two crank handles through the predrilled hole on the crank-handle pole.

      Glue and clamp the support to the base.
    Cut notch
    Shown here is the notch cut out for the crank-handle pole.   Glue and clamp the curved support to the base.
    Note the handle positioning.   The handles should turn freely.
    Note how the handles are positioned.   The handles should turn freely on the pole.

Making the Dog
The dog is composed of four parts: the head and the body; the jaw/lever; the legs; and the tail. The mouth and body pieces need to be hollowed out first.

  1. Hollow out the mouth and body using a 5/16" (or a 3/8") brad-point bit on a drill press, as shown in the illustration diagrams. Alternatively, you can laminate the three pieces of the dog's body with the centerpiece (3/8" thick) properly sized to provide the cavity space for the jaw/lever.

  2. Test the jaw/lever to ensure it moves up and down freely inside the mouth recess and the hollowed body.

    Jaw in open position   Jaw in closed position   Using a fence for support
    The jaw shown in the open position with the lever inside the cavity.   The jaw shown in the closed position.

      While hollowing, use a fence to support the piece.

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