Book Review: Making Wood Trucks and Construction Vehicles
Build amazing, well-detailed wood trucks and construction vehicles out of wood by following the detailed plans in this book.
Do you have any woodworking project books that you’ve read through many times but never took action?
That is the case with my copy of “Making Wood Trucks and Construction Vehicles”. I received this as a present probably a good 30 years ago or longer as it was published in 1987.
But I never once made any of the vehicles in this book. I thought about it, even had drawn out some of the parts on pieces of scrap wood years ago, but never took action.
That changed at the start of this year. I simply picked a project and went to my stash of cedar cut-offs and started building.
29 Wood Trucks And Construction Vehicles!
As for the book, it contains 29 projects. Some really need to be combined into one project as one project consists of the cab unit and another project is the trailer. But with some projects you can mix and match cab units and trailers.
The projects themselves consists of a black and white intro photo and a very short description of the major steps in construction. And this is where the book somewhat falls flat. It really is not designed for beginner woodworkers. You do need to interpret the instructions and come up with your own detailed instructions (either written out or in your head) in order to actually build these wood trucks and construction vehicles.
A good example is that there are no instructions on how to make your own wheels. Yes, you can of course buy wheels, but I’ve made mine successfully using a forstner bit for the middle and a hole saw for the outside. If you do want to buy wheels, I found some 2″ diameter wheels on Amazon that would work well for these projects:
However some of the wheels in the book are quite large so they might be better cut on a bandsaw or jigsaw and then smoothed out. Or if you have a lathe, turn a cylinder and part it into wheels.
Here’s a good example of the sparse instructions for the project I’m currently working on (Logging Truck – Cab and Logging Truck – Trailer):
But where the book really shines is the detailed drawings. Drawings show each part of the vehicle, usually from every side, with dimensions in imperial measurements (sorry, no metric, so you’d have to convert with an online converter such as https://www.unitconverters.net)
However, you do need to be careful as some reviewers on Amazon have indicated that there are some errors in the measurements. Especially where parts need to fit next to each other or inside of each other, double-check against the actual pieces to ensure everything fits together well.
On my current project I did make a mistake early on of not fully processing each piece before starting to glue them together. I managed somehow but drilling some of the holes was tricky. My advice is to drill all holes before gluing pieces together, especially in the main body of the wood trucks and construction vehicles as they usually consist of multiple parts.
Speaking of drilling, it would be good to have a drill press or drill guide to make the holes perfectly. Also safer if you plan to use a hole saw to make the wheels.
This is a good drill guide you can use with an existing drill you might already have:
There is also a full-colour section in the middle of the book consisting of 15 photos of the completed projects. As mentioned above, some projects need to be combined to make one complete vehicle and some of the photos reflect that. For instance the Semi-cab – Style 1 and Box Trailer are one photo. And some unrelated projects such as the Bulldozer are displayed on the Low-bed trailer.
BTW, the Box Trailer is neat, as there is a conveyor belt inside the box with a crank on the outside in order to load and unload the trailer easily.
I’m excited to try all the wood trucks and construction vehicles in the book. However these vehicles are big and I lack the storage and display space. So likely I’ll sell them as an income source for Pacific Coast Wood Crafts. While they are quite robust, they do contain several small pieces and so are not suitable for very young children. They would also be seen as collector items for adults and would make a nice present for someone retiring from a job where they drove one of the vehicles in the book.
Plus they’re a great way to use up your stash of scrap wood as many of the pieces are quite small.
So if you’re a somewhat experienced woodworker, looking to use up some wood scraps and looking for the perfect present, grab a copy of this book.
Since the book was published over 30 years ago, original copies of the book are quite expensive. In case you do want the original, here is the link on Amazon or you might have luck finding it in a used bookstore locally.
However the good news is that the book was reprinted in 2007 on the 20th anniversary of “Making Wood Trucks And Construction Vehicles”. Details are sparse as to what actually was updated, but it sounds like it has better step-by-step instructions, more photos and more details on the vehicles such as mud flaps. This might then be more suited to beginner woodworkers. This is more reasonably priced on Amazon:
So hope that has given you insights into what is a great book full of amazing projects that will delight young and old. But promise me that if you pick up the book, that you commit to doing at least one project this year!