Print|Text Size: ||
The Bark’s DIY First Place Winner—Advanced Level


Making the fenders:

Now at last it's time to prime - almost. First we have to drill for the axle, test fit the wheels and make some fenders. We'll start with the fenders. Clamp the axle in a vice (gently, strongly enough to hold upright but not to warp it out of round), and slide both wheels on. I used 7" lawn mower wheels, I found some online that even had a small hub cap for a cool, finished look. The axle is a three foot piece of ½” hollow round stock from a builder's supply (Lowe's, Home Depot, etc). Cut four strips of the leftover bending ply, wide enough to reach from one edge of a wheel to the other. Wrap a ply around the wheels and mark a length shy of overlap and cut all four to length. Wrap two of the plys tightly around the wheels and secure with masking tape wrapped around several times. This will be the form for bending the fenders. The reason for these two spacer plys is to have a small ¼” gap between the fender and wheel when mounted on the side. Apply glue liberally to the third sheet of ply, add the next, last layer and wrap these tightly around the wheels and first two spacer plys and tape tightly in place. It is important to have the edges lined up closely because this will be the edge held against the table saw fence when cutting out the fenders. Let this set up overnight. In the morning remove the cylinder with a gap you've made and very carefully cut two 2" strips from this curved piece. It's not a bad idea to cut the first strip a bit wide, so as to create a uniform edge, in case the edges weren't lined up perfectly when glued. Then cut another strip and reset the fence to cut the two fenders. Use the first cut edge against the fence when re-cutting. This is a dangerous operation, cutting a relatively narrow strip from a curved piece of stock, so be sure to hold it securely against the fence all the way through and go slowly and carefully, with the blade raised just enough to cut through plus some tooth clearance.

Now lay the carcass on its side, locate the axle hole, 3" from the rear brace and centered in the ⅞” piece that supports the bottom. Drill a ½" hole in each side and test fit the axle - You may need to work on the holes with a rat tail file to get the axle to slide in. It's a snug fit and it will be hard to line both holes up exactly, so some file fudging may be required. When the axle slides in with a minimum of force, pop a wheel on the top. If the axle is a loose fit now due to overzealous filing, clamp a vice grip gently on it inside, next to the bottom to keep it from sliding through as you work on the fender. Slide the axle into position, pop on a wheel then move the fender strip around until you like the even reveal around the tire and mark its location with a pencil around the outside edge. Also, mark the ends of the fender, right where it meets the tangent point of the routed bottom edge.
Remove the tire and axle, cut the fender ends to length, and use the ⅛” round-over bit and some sandpaper to shape the exterior edges of the fender, leaving the inside flat for gluing. Run a bead of glue along the inside edge, place the fender on the side up to the line you marked. Press down to squeeze out the glue and clamp lightly with a couple of deep reach clamps until dry. Adding a board across the fender will assist in getting the clamps to hold the whole fender down, as the ⅞” strip inside can interfere with the positioning of the clamps. When dry, run a bead of caulk around the seam, inside and out, and wipe into a fillet with a finger to make painting easier. Repeat on the other side. You can let the bottom side overhang the table, keeping the fender clear, or prop the whole thing up on a pair of sufficiently thick blocks to keep the newly glued fender out of harm's way.

Priming and painting:

Now finally, it’s time to prime. Remove the wheels and axle. I prefer Zinsser cover stain oil based interior-exterior primer for priming because it dries very quickly and covers well, though it does have a bit of an odor. Because of the odor and the enclosed space (your head will be inside the carcass unless you can paint well by Braille) it's not a bad idea to have a fan going for ventilation. Woodworkers in general have few enough brain cells, let alone any to spare to paint fumes – something even more apparent now that I'm older and no longer enjoy the invincibility of youth.

PDF: Download a PDF including instructions and sketches.

Michael has been a woodworker for over 45 years. He began to make vintage camper birdhouses for fun, prompted by an avid interest in bird photography. Now he sells his birdhouses and dog houses on Etsy.


More From The Bark

The Bark
Penelope Cake
More in DIY:
Paper Mache Dogs
Crocheted Dog Bed
Felt Dogs
Knit Your Own Zoo
DIY: Personalized Fabrics
Cool Collarettes
Wrap It Up
DIY Project Handy Tugger Toy
Folding Feeding Stand