Treescooter! (part 1/2)

I made this scooter in response to Charles’ creation way back when. I started mine soon after he released his to the internet actually, and yea…so its taken a while…but here it is in all its 2-part-blog-entry-photo-filled glory!


treescooter folded!

I live in a place where people leave their tree clippings in a pile by the curb once a week for the tree clipping truck to pick up (I think it gets turned into mulch?). Anyhow, if you live somewhere where people do that, you also have free weekly piles of material if you care to poke around a little. (Obviously, if you take something, leave the pile neat!)

start with some branches. I think it was maple? Pretty hard stuff.

making the handle bar, a fork will help transfer torque better than an un-forked stick

I used some spade drills to drill out the handle bar.

some wood glue later

I actually hadn’t decided yet to make a whole scooter at this point, but I really liked the way the handle bars looked, so I decided to follow through.

the full handle

Starting to make the fork:

starting to make the fork. Handsaws are a great way to make one of your arms bigger than the other.

success! the two halves of the fork

I first drilled one half on a drill press (with the sawn flat face down), then clamped the two halves together, and drilled all the way through. A bolt keeps the two halves together for when they are trimmed. This bolt hole is also the axle hole.

after some trimming

Next there was more hand-sawing for the scooter deck. The deck angles up at the back, so I used a 1 1/4″ bit to drill out the corner of the angle transition so I would have a nice radius.

The 2 x 4 is screwed into the log because a square thing is way easier to clamp.

drilling the bend in the deck

cutting the deck surface

I only have flat chisels and a dremel, so I tried to drill out as much material as I could since its so much faster. Here is the beginning of the rear wheel well.

starting to drill out the rear wheel well.

the rear wheel will live in this recess

some chiseling and more drilling

lots of dremeling later

Back to the fork:

fork pivot block

again, using a drill to remove material quickly

As you can sort of see below, my plan was to have the fork pivot off a 1/2″ bolt.

pivot block is glue between the fork halves

another block that acts kind of like a spacer, also goes between fork halves

spacer block glued and clamped

This is where the woodworking gets less elegant. I wasn’t very satisfied with how the fork looked, since it was just a bunch of blocks slapped together with glue. So I thought I would add some filler blocks that could then be shaped into fillets that would transition between the blocks. It sort of worked – you be the judge.

“fillet” blocks

fillet blocks being glued and clamped in

another angle on the clamping action

Meanwhile, I started thinking about how to connect the deck to the fork.

missing link is missing

the neck begins to take shape

yay for drill presses! way faster than just chiseling

rough shape

In the picture above you can sort of see that the grain runs the whole length of the part. This is important for the part to be as strong as possible.

To join the neck and deck, I decided to use a mortise and tenon joint. Below is the setup for drilling the mortise in the deck.

preparing to cut the mortise

The spade big I was using was really dull, so I tried to use a smaller drill to remove some material and make things go faster. It didn’t help that much…

trying to speed up the drilling

the joint

The tenon is about 2″ long, hopefully that’s long enough. I couldn’t have made it much longer since the deck is already the minimum length.

fit check, looking good!

My idea was to pot bushings into the neck and a 1/2″ bolt would pin the neck and fork pivot block together. I started by drilling a pilot hole in the neck, drilling with a step drill from both ends, and then drilling through the whole thing with something just a bit larger than 1/2″. That way, the minimum wood is removed. Also, for the record, this is not a nice way to use a step drill, since there is so much surface area contact, so if you choose the same way, go slowly.

getting ready to drill the pivot hole

another way to abuse step drills

getting ready to pot bushings

installed the bushings with epoxy, used a bolt and some spacers to clamp the bushings in place until the epoxy sets

Back to working on the fork:

trimming off the excess

using a rasp to make things look nicer

Around this time I acquired a bandsaw off Craigslist. Cutting things became much faster.

oh hi there, tall, dark, and handsome

I decided to put some dowel pins through the whole fork assembly. I don’t know that this actually makes things stronger, but I figured it couldn’t hurt. I made the dowels out of the same wood as the rest of the scooter. For a quick and dirty way to make your own short dowels see this other post.


glued in. wiped off excess glue with a damp cloth

Stay tuned for more on finishing the handle bars and folding/locking mechanism in Part 2!

7 thoughts on “Treescooter! (part 1/2)

  1. Pingback: Take Flight for Kids | Amy Qian

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