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

Bringing the Character to Life
Remember, dry-fitting the parts before gluing is as important as measuring twice and cutting once.

  1. Attach the jaw and the legs to the dog body using 3/32" dowel rods inserted into the predrilled holes.
  2. Using a pair of pliers, open the eyehook so that you can insert its end into the predrilled hole in the tail. Then, screw the threads of the eyehook into the tail end of the dog body.
  3. Mount the dog on the curved support and attach its legs using 3/32" dowel rods inserted through the predrilled holes.
  4. Attach the crank handle to the other end of the tail by inserting it into the predrilled hole in the tail.

    Dry fitting   Attaching the tail
    Dry fitting the parts before gluing.
      Attaching the tail to the dog body using the eyehook.
    Dog mounted on support   Tail attached to crank shaft
    The dog mounted on the curved support.   The tail attached to the crank shaft.

  5. Test the movements by cranking the handle. Fine-tune the mechanism by screwing the eyehook further into the body or by unscrewing it away from the body— whichever is necessary to finesse the cranking motion.
  6. Follow these steps to complete the gluing process:
    a) After the jaw is seated inside the body and after checking that it moves up and down freely, glue one end of the 3/32" dowel rod used for the jaw to the body.
    b) Glue the three 3/16" dowel rods to the dog-bone shaped crank handles (the interconnecting rod should rotate freely in the crank-handle pole).
    c) Glue the ends of the four 3/32" dowel rods to the legs. Check that the dowel rods used in the legs rotate freely in the body and the support piece.
  7. Add or paint any decorative features you like. (Mine has the doll eye and collar.)
  8. If you like, sign and date your piece.

Dogs may bark, whine and howl at will; Kermit does it only on your command!

Charles Mak
Lee Valley staff

Please go to page 5 for templates and hollowing illustrations.

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