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Miriam Janssen

Posts: 119
Reply with quote  #16 
Thanks for all the replies, guys.
I am actually happy not being the only one to struggle with the wheels (and maybe more important, the axes).
Thanks for all the links to shops in Europe that sell wheels and axes.
Yesterday a befriended woodworker had a good idea for making my own axes.
I am happy to share it here with you but I have to try if it works.

If you run out of axes of 1/4" you can use a dowel of 1/4" and make your own cap.
Take a piece of wood with the thickness of 1/4" or more.
Drill a small hole in it with a regular 1/4" drill bit. Keep the piece of wood where it is and change the drill bit into a tapered plug cutter. The plug should be small enough to fit in the wheel. I would suggest smaller than 1/2".
Drill the plug and you should have a cap with a hole in it 😊.
Like I said, I will have to test it for myself but the idea is nice.
Dowels are available at any building supplies store here in the Netherlands.

- Miriam -

Wood is made of trees

Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #17 
Originally Posted by Keith Harrison
Like Tom I live in the UK. I looked at ordering from then US but the postage doubled the price.

In the past I have used a hole saw for both small and large wheels. I recently purchased a large number of wooden broom handle on Ebay. They are  the right diameter for making  wheels for Play Pals. I slice the brooms into discs and drill axle holes in the centre. Its a fairly quick process once you have set up jigs on the table saw and pillar drill. 

I have also found a supply of 6mm dowel. There is a company in the UK who makes round Wooden Lollipop sticks. I can get 50 off 280mm (11 inch) 6mm diameter sticks for under £5. As they are food quality they are perfectly smooth and do not need any sanding

Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #18 
Hi Keith
Looks like all us toy makers in the Uk face the same problem with wheels, I’m new to this and I managed to get some wheels on eBay also I have ordered some from amazon but having to wait 6 weeks for them to arrive in February, I am considering buying in bulk from USA so I have them in stock all the time, if anyone in the Uk is interested in purchasing some please contact me with the sizes you require.
I like the idea of the broom handles Keith sounds like a good idea to try how thin do you cut them? And do they stay in one piece when you drill the axle hole ?
Keith Harrison

Posts: 55
Reply with quote  #19 
I have used them to make Play pals wheels so about 5mm. Braking is not really a problem. However you need to keep an eye on the broom handle. There are occasionally cracks along the length. I usually cut those pieces out. I loose some wood but its still cheaper. 
I also use them in two inch lengths to make people who drive cars and fly the planes. My goal over this winter is to paint the thirty I cut from a couple of broom handles ready for use in any trucks cars planes etc. I make when it warms up by Easter.

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Posts: 1,618
Reply with quote  #20 
Sounds like there might be a business opportunity in the UK for someone.

Advanced techniques are the basics perfectly applied.
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Posts: 191
Reply with quote  #21 
Very useful thread this, and special thanks to Frogbucket for the links provided - bookmarked.

Like others I have messed around with various methods of making wheels in various styles and sizes, and although I've produced some "more or less acceptable" results (sometimes!) I find it does take a long, quite fiddly time and I cannot always be sure of a decent result (band saw, scroll saw, adjustable radius jig against a disc sander, etc, etc have all been tried).

I'm in Switzerland and also find the post and customs charges from the US ends up in unacceptably high prices per wheel, hence my thanks for the links - they WILL be tried!

BTW, one thing I have found sometimes in our local DIY Emporia here are solid beech (I think) turned discs, about 1.5 inches dia. I'm not sure exactly what they're really intended for, nor are they all that accurate (centre mark is usually off centre!), but they can be corrected quite easily. I just thought that over in the US with all your Rockler stores, etc, etc, there MAY also be something available there too.


Great Forum this when people share their problems and possible solutions.

Edit for PS: Thanks for the broom handle idea too.

Kind regards

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