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11/09 
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This is the wheelbarrow, my father-in-law made for my son John, back in 1992! Of course it hasn't seen much action lately, but it's in pretty good shape after being stored in the basement for the last 10 yrs. I just ran across this while cleaning out the basement and decided to try and make one for my grandson Joseph. 

The arrow points to some damage caused by a cross grain situation, that is two pieces of wood fastened together so their grain is perpendicular to each other, so they can not expand and contract with each other. 

Here is a closer look at what happens when wood isn't allowed to expand and contract. The floor of the wheelbarrow runs across the frame, and the sides run parallel with the frame. I need to find a way to overcome this problem. 

Finally there will be a little bit of metal work, nothing I can't handle with a vise and some brute force.

 
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Ok, lets start with the frame handles. Here is one that was kickin around since F-I-L made his. You can see there is a mortise to accept the leg tennon, and that the handle has been machined too.  

I decided to use some left over maple I had for the frame, but I will use Pine for the box as he did to keep this light. You could very easily make this frame out of some clear framing lumber, being careful not have any knots in the way to weaken the handles, like the one at left.

Here are the parts for the handles and legs. I'll just glue them up with some waterproof glue and leave them in the clamps for a while. 

Yeah, lots of clamps!

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Ok now lets drill some square holes! This is my Delta mortiser. It's sole purpose is to make mortises, half the joinery of the mortise and tennon joint. This can also be made with a drill press attachment that lets you drill square holes on your drill press, or you can simply use a drill to remove most of the wood for your mortise, and then clean up the holes with a sharp chisel.
Here's a better view of the business end of that Square drill. Its a hollow square chisel with a drill in the middle. the drill removes most of the wood, and the chisel cleans up the sides.  

Its pretty easy to set up, I like to have the cutter of the drill bit just slightly below the chisel. Then it's just a matter of setting up the chisel so its aligned with the fence of the mortiser. If you don't your square holes won't line up and the mortise sides will have grooves in them.  

I also like to make my mortises a little deeper than the tennon will fit, to leave a little space for the extra glue to go.

I like to drill out the ends of the mortise first, then clean out the middle. Holes drills like this always go straight, so this method keeps the ends of the mortise straight and true.
 
 
Delta 
Mortiser 
 
 
 
 
Jet 
Mortiser 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ah looks pretty good! In case your wondering about my lay out lines, I always measure the distance between the chisel and the fence. You can figure the stock is 1-1/4" wide, subtract the 3/8" mortise bit, that leaves 7/16" on both sides. If you measure from the chisel to the fence, your mortises will always be centered. So now the only lines I really need to make are the limits of the mortise along the length of my work piece.
Here's a nice blurry pic of the end of the leg where I will form the tennon. The first step is to make the shoulder cuts. This is the part of the joint that will make the visible seam between the parts. You want this to be perfect because it's the only part of the joint you will see. 
The block of wood clamped to my table saw fence is spaced 1/2" from the far side of the blade. This gauge block is also just behind the blade so there is no chance the work piece will bind as it's being cut. 
 
 
Here's another blurry pic of the shoulder cut, now to start on the tennon
This is the Delta tennoning jig. It rides in the miter slot of your table saw, and holds the work piece vertically so the end cuts can be made safely. There are adjusting knobs on the side to move the jig left or right, to make the precise cheek cut. Its critical to set this up careful, this stem make the cuts that will allow the tennon to fit into the mortise snugly. I believe its better to make the tennon a little wide and sneak up on the proper width, rather than relying on a tape measure or rule. 
Cut the cheek on one side, then turn the piece 180 degrees and cut the other side. The clamp makes it quick work to locate the work piece in the jig. Cut both cheeks and run over to your mortise and see if it fits. Hopefully it is too wide and not to small! If it's too wide, bring it back to the tennon jig and zip a little more off, but remember take less than you think, because you have to trim both sides, don't want to remove too much.
But if you do it's not the end of the world, simply take your skinny tennon and glue on piece of wood on both sides, let it dry and try again tomorrow!
 
Tennon Jig

 

 
Be liberal with the glue, brush it onto all mating surfaces. I like to make my mortises 1/8" deeper than the tennon is long. That lil space leaves room for any extra glue.
Now a simple clamp, and check to see your square. Sides should be perfectly flush if you got that mortise centered. You don't need to worry about the clamp marks, they will be hidden later on.
I need to round the hand grip portion of this assembly, I chucked a 1/2" radius bit in my router table and carefully rounded over all four edges of each handle. 
 
 
Bar 
Clamps 
 
 
 
 
Square 
 
 
 
 
Radius Bit
 
Last step for the handles for now, rounding over the top front end. I roughed out the shape at the band saw and cleaned up the cut at the disk sander.  

Later after I have the box assembled and rough fitted, I will mark the areas exposed on these handles, and round those edges over.

Ok, now onto the box! I chose to use up some left over pine boards I got from my father in law, Joe's Great Grandfather. The number 2 pine is full of knots, but with a little planning I can cut out most of the knots leaving plenty of clear pieces. 
 
 
Jet Sander

 

 
Ok now its a pretty simple assembly process for making the panels for the box of our wheel barrow. Today its nearly impossible to find wide clear stock, and if you did you wouldn't want to pay the money for it! Gluing up the parts saves so much money and I believe makes a more stable assembly. 
The first step is to joint all the mating pieces so they fit snugly with out clamp pressure. You don't want the glue to fight against the wood to keep the parts together. Next lay out some lines for placing the biscuits. Its not critical where you put them, I like to keep about 4" from the edges, then space them evenly by eye. 
Unlike using a dowel jig, this is a snap. Just draw a line across the joints where you want the center of the biscuit. The biscuit joiner will pick up on these lines. Even cutting the slots is easy, simply line up your layout lines with the center mark on the joiner and plunge in the cutter. You have to do this so you can see your layout lines, so there is no chance of misalignment. So long as you hold the machine firmly against the work piece, it always works perfectly!
 
 
Biscuit 
Joiner 
 
 
 
 
Biscuits
 
Now glue up your boards, biscuits and biscuit slots and clam these suckers together. I like using these parallel clamps from Stabil or Bessy, they give me a good level work surface, and hold the stock nearly perfectly flat. Since the last biscuits are about 4" from the ends, they usually end up pretty flat, but I always check to make sure they are flush with each other.
 
 
Biscuits 
 
 
 
 
Bessy 
Clamps
 
The last step of any assembly should be to check with a straight edge to make sure your not cupping the assemble under the pressure of the clamps. If I had this problem, I would back off on the pressure, clamp on a couple of straight pieces of hardwood above and below the ends, then snug up the pressure again. Of course if you have to do this, make sure you put some waxed paper between your assembly and the hardwood blocks!
After about 15 or 20 minutes in the clamps, I like to peal off the squeezed out glue with a chisel. This saves lots of time sanding later! Just be careful not to dig into your work piece. I do this after the glue starts to set up, if i did it earlier, it would get squeegee into the pores around the joint.
After ripping the bottom of the basket to its proper width, make the 10 degree cross cut for the angled front. 
 
 
Bar 
Clamps 
 
Square
 
And while your table saw is set up for 10 degrees, make the matching rip in the front section. Don't do anything with the other sire just yet, we'll cut that after we start the assemble, and mark the proper height at that time.
Now we lay out the 10 degree angle at the front of the basket, A gauge like this is handy, but not necessary, you could just "wing it" at the table saw. 

 
Cross Cut 
Sled
Now cut that angle on your table saw. I prefer to use a cross cut sled, but your miter gauge will work just fine. 

After that, measure over from the top of the angle to the back and layout that square crosscut. You can cut it now or...

 

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...lay out the radius at the top rear corner of the sides. It's a 3-1/2 radius but a gallon paint can works just fine!
Make the rough curve cut on the band saw, after you make the cross cut on your table saw......
 
.....then clean up the curve at the 12" disk sander.
Do you see that nick below the radius? That's an opps! Seems I couldn't avoid that pitch pocket when I was laying this side out. At first I figured I would just clean out the pitchy goo with a chisel, but the defect was too deep for putty. Instead I'll need to cut a patch with matching wood in that area. Not as hard as it sounds! 
Follow this link to learn how!
 
 
Jet 
Sander
 
Rounding over some of the edges before assembly, I suppose this step should wait till after the box is put together.
 
Trim 
Router
Now to start some assembly! I used biscuit joinery to help align the parts, I will reinforce the box with screws coming up thru the bottom later. I also used biscuits to secure the front with the sides, but in an attempt to prevent that "cross grain" situation, I didn't secure the front to the bottom.
Earlier when we were cutting the 10 degree bevels, i said not to cut the top of the box front, this is why. You have a much better chance of getting an accurate width if you lay in place dry and and mark the cut like this. Mark both sides and adjust if necessary, you may have to cheat a bit, remember is a kids wheelbarrow, not the space shuttle! You can fix allot of the misalignment problems with sandpaper!
 

 
 

 
 
During the assembly of the box, I placed a small block across the corner and used a clamp, to make this joint flush at the top. I was careful to make sure no glue would squeeze out of the joint and glue the block in place.
Ah we'll let that dry overnight. I took some extra effort to make sure the box was glued together as squarely and flat as possible. It's not critical at all, but will make later assembly easier, and of course it will look nicer!
 
 
Bessy 
Clamps 
 
 
 
 
 
Bar 
Clamps
 
Just a view from the back.
Ok, now's a good time to clamp on a couple of little pieces to beef up the area surrounding the axle. I glue these in place, later I'll put in some 1-1/4" screws to reinforce the joint. But before I do that I need to know exactly where the axle is going so as not to interfere with these screws.
Here are the main frame rails. And here starts the assembly of the frame. Nothing is square, but we want it symmetrical, so we have to find some easy way to lay this mess out! I start with two lines measured from the front of the frame, one for the axle location, and the other where the frame intersects the front of the wheelbarrow These measurments are on the plans. 
 
 
After measuring the rails off the side of the box from and rear, draw a line along the frame rails.....
..... then clamp the frame rails in place and run 3 screws into the bottom of the box. 
Next I fit a couple of pieces for the front and back cross rails. Location isn't critical, but notice I held the back rail half it's width behind the legs, that is so the metal cross braces coming down off the leg lands firmly near the middle of the cross rail.  

After cutting the cross rail miters, (my angle was 9 degrees. yours may be different), I cut pocket holes on the top and bottom of the rails. In this pick Im running the screws into the bottom of the rail. Yes that's a drip of glue you see in the corner. 

 
 
Then I unscrew the frame from the box, flip over the frame and run in the other two pocket screws. Yeah glue is still dripping! 
Ok the woodwork is almost done! Next we drill out the axle holes and it's also a good time to round over all the exposed edges of the frame and box. 
   
 
 
 
 
 
Ok now to drill out the axle holes in the frame rails. Now this can be done many was, I debated the easiest way to go about doing this, and at the same time making it easy to describe, and have the best chance of success. So I decided to drill the holes while the frame was assembled, but before the box was attached. You could do this after the box was in place, because the box would hold the frame at the proper angle. You could also drill the holes before assembling the frame. But if you choose to do that, be sure to place a 1/2" dowel in the axle hole while assembling, so later the axle bolt will fit properly.
Ok, over to the drill press, remember those first layout lines for the frame? Yup that's where we're aiming, 5/8" up from the bottom on that line. Be sure to mark with an awl and a hammer, and use a large enough forstner bit that will allow the nut and bolt head to be counter bored a little bit. The depth of this will depend on your bolt length. Then use a brad point drill bit to make the axle hole.
The wedge underneath gives us the proper angle, the clamp keeps everything from slipping, and I check with a square just to be sure we are plumb. It's also important to be sure both ends of the wedge and work piece are the same distance from the front of the drill press table. This helps ensure the proper angle is maintained.
 
 
Last step before calling it quits for today, a coat of primer. The woodwork is done, next we'll start fabricating the wheel and axle parts, and do the metal work for the bracing.
Bending the metal is really pretty easy, I bought a 48" piece of aluminum flat stock at Home Depot, and found it very easy to bend into position. The only critical bend is the part that wraps around the bottom of the leg. Remember we routed the bottom of the leg earlier, that helps make some more room for the metal to wrap around the leg. Other than that, just try to make the pieces match! The plans include a full scale bending guide.
This pic shows why the rear cross frame is set back of the legs a bit, this allows the short brace to land squarely on the brace, without needing a compound bend. 
Just another view of the hardware at a different angle. Also painting up the handles. I used some blue painters tape to mask off the red area. 
A closeup of the wheel, also from Home Depot. You can see the 1/2" copper pipe I used for bushings. I chose this because it fit easily over the axle bolt. You can also see how the head of the axle bolt is let into the frame, less metal sticking out to help protect little legs!  

All the hardware, paint and the wheel came to about $35. I lost track of how many hours I have into this, probably about 20 before I started painting.

I plan to do some stenciling to this before it's parked under the tree. This would make a swell gift for your lil helper!
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