Hands On

Volume 48/Issue 4

Project Articles
The Heirloom Cradle
The Spirit of St. Louis Toy Airplane
Making All-Purpose Wooden Boxes

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The Spirit of St. Louis Toy Airplane

Here's Norm Marshall's nifty, easy-to-build replica of Charles Lindbergh's famous trans-Atlantic airplane!

Having been a Naval Aviator for over 20 years gave Norm Marshall a real appreciation for airplanes. When he retired, he began building toys...and his fascination for airplanes continued. He particularly loved the stories surrounding the historic 1927 trans-Atlantic flight of The Spirit of St. Louis...and recounted how making those toys and remembering those stories gave him double pleasure - an escape into history and an adventure in woodworking.

So...get ready for your solo flight...but keep in mind that you don't have to do this one non-stop!

1: Prepare the stock. Use clear, straight stock (we used pine) and hardwood dowels. Glue-up or use your Bandsaw to resaw stock where required. When resawing stock for the wing (B), tilt the Bandsaw table 5-degrees and cut a 15" length of 1 x 4 stock. Next, rip the stock to a 2-3/4" width.

2: Drill the holes for the engine cylinders (K). Locate them ˝" back from the front of the nose (See Fig. 1). Tilt the Drill Press table to 20-degrees and drill the holes in the fuselage (A) and the shock absorbers (F) for the wing struts (N).

Fig. 1 Drilling the engine cylinder holes 1/2 in. back from the nose.

3: Cut out the contours. Transfer the side and top profiles to the fuselage (A), and draw a 1" diameter circle on the nose of the fuselage. First, form the dado for the wing...then cut the tail slot. Cut out the remainder of the profiles on the Bandsaw (See Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Cutting out the fuselage profile on the bandsaw.

Transfer the patterns for parts (B, C, D & E) to the stock. Cut out these parts with either your Bandsaw or Scroll Saw , making sure to stay slightly outside your cutting lines.

4: Sand parts A through E to finished shape using your Disc Sander with fine grit paper. Round the nose section of the fuselage so the corners meet the circle. Hand sand part F.

5: Drill holes for the propeller shaft, tail skag, shock absorbers, axles and lock pins.