Rodney M Bliss

Papa’s Workshop: Airplane Edition

A couple of days ago I started posting about the gifts I made some of my granddaughters for Christmas. Read about building their cedar chests here.

My oldest grandson is 5 years old. Have you ever seen a 5 year play with a toy? There’s lots of, let’s call it stress, that a five year old boy can put on a toy. So, in designing his toy, I knew I needed something that was going to stand up to some pounding.

I also wanted something that I thought he would uniquely like. Last year I gave him a homemade tractor. . .and I repaired it at least a couple of times during the year. I don’t mind doing the repairs, but it’s more fun if the toy doesn’t break.

I decided I’d make him an airplane.

I’ve never made an airplane before. My original design was pretty vague.

Next I looked through my scrap pile for useful pieces of wood. I wanted the wings to be about 15″ from tip to tip. And the plane to be about the same length nose to tail.

Here’s what the VERY early mockup looked like.

The body was an old 2×4 that had a knot. I was going to cut around it, so that was fine. The main wing was a 3/4 piece of pine I had. The tail wing was oak. I decided that’s the weakest part of the plane and the oak, while heavier was worth it to provide strength.

After a trip to the bandsaw and A LOT of sanding (I’m not a fan of sanding. . .or painting) it started to look like an airplane.

There was plenty more sanding that went on after it got put together.

And more sanding after that.

Eventually the sanding came to an end. And it was time to paint. I considered a silver paint job, but decided that red would work better. (That and the fact I realized I was out of silver spray paint.)

I think the red might have also been inspired by the toy plane in Disney’s The Kid.

I didn’t even think of the similarities until the plane was done and my lovely wife pointed it out.

When my grandson unwrapped his plane, he first question was “Why doesn’t it have any wheels?” Of course that was his first question. Because he’s five. And that’s exactly why it has blunt wooden pegs instead of wheels. . .because he’s five.

I’m told the plane has made several successful test flights.

Remember, any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about the toys I made for the babies.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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