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Thread: Building a children’s life size “log” construction set from old fence boards

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
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    2,332

    Building a children’s life size “log” construction set from old fence boards

    Isla, my 7 year old granddaughter, is very interested in the construction of buildings and, while she and I were sitting in our refurbished garden this week, it struck both of us that she could use the old cedar boards from the fence that I recently tore down to make “forts”, “playhouses” and other such structures. We put together a quick prototype in the shop and it worked.
    Here is a photo of a portion of the fence taken earlier this spring before I tore it down:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Log building kit from old fence 01 -The fence -small.JPG 
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    The fence is 33 years old and the boards are cedar. They are in reasonably good shape.
    I decided to make a “construction kit” of parts that could be put up and torn down at will. The basic idea for the parts comes from my Pan Abode cedar cabin that I assembled on Pellow’s Island thirty one years ago.
    Thirty three years has resulted in some wear and tear and there are some cracks, missing knots, and nail holes, so I decided to glue and screw two boards together to make the parts. The boards were planed on one side then glued with waterproof glue and clamped:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Log building kit from old fence 02 -Two fence boards -small.JPG 
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Name:	Log building kit from old fence 03 -2 boards planed on one side and being glued -small.JPG 
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Name:	Log building kit from old fence 04 -2 boards clamped -small.JPG 
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    Next the boards were planed on the exterior to a uniform depth (32 mm), to a uniform width (130 mm), and to one of several “standard” lengths. Next, two or four notches (depending on the part) were cut into each part using a jig saw. Depending on the parts, one to three stainless steel screws were inserted. The notches are 38mm wide which gives some play allowing children to easily put them together and take them apart.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Log building kit from old fence 05 -a part being notched -small.JPG 
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    The next step was to fill various holes in the part with Bondo auto body filler then to sand it. I will also round all the edges with round-over bit then paint each board with a couple of coats of spar varnish –but have not yet done so. Here is a photo of a typical part:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Log building kit from old fence 06 -A part filled with auto body filler, and sanded -small.JPG 
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    Here are the parts that have been produced so far:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Log building kit from old fence 07 -A few parts -small.JPG 
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    And here they are assembled into a couple of typical configurations:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Log building kit from old fence 08 -A configuration with a few parts -small.JPG 
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Name:	Log building kit from old fence 09 -Aother configuration with a few parts -small.JPG 
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    I need to make a LOT more of the parts that have already been designed and Isla and I have to design something for windows, doors, and roofs. Stay tuned!
    Cheers, Frank

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Elgin, IL
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    442
    Frank,

    Great idea. She is going to love it.

    Randy

  3. #3
    very nice mate....I wish I had a old fence

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    Posts
    2,332
    Thanks Randy and Patrick.

    If you don't have an old fence Patrick, these things could be made from new wood, but that would make them rather expensive.

    And, welcome to Family Woodworking Patrick!
    Cheers, Frank

  5. #5
    You are a very nice Granddad, She is going have wonderful memories and you too!

    WoodWorking, Crappie Fishing, Colts, Life is good!

  6. #6
    Don Taylor is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,289
    What a wonderful GrandDad you are Frank. That child will always remember the great fun had with that building set.

    DT

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    29,864
    That's too cool, Frank. I would have loved to have something like that as a kid. (Hardcore Lincoln Log and Erector Set player speaking here.) A bit bulky to store perhaps, but well worth it if you have the space, in my opinion.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
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    Thanks Bob, Don, and Vaughn.

    Being a granddad, gives me the excuse to play with kids toys again. And it's even better that now I can make just about any toy that I want to play with.
    Cheers, Frank

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    1,487
    You are a COOL grampa! A giant Lincoln log set, man what fun! I want to come play!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
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    2,332
    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Nelson View Post
    You are a COOL grampa! A giant Lincoln log set, man what fun! I want to come play!
    Thanks Ed, you are more than welcome to visit (and to play).
    Cheers, Frank

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