Restoring a late 1800's farm wagon

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Project by Schwieb posted 12-05-2008 10:42 PM 13747 views 1 time favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My great-grandfather owned and used this wagon on the homestead farm in Northwest Ohio. It passed to my grandpa and then my Dad. It took a year to take it apart, clean-up the metal parts, duplicate the missing ones and build the bottom, and sides, finish and assemble the wagon. Over 200 1/4” rivets hold it together along with bolts and screws. Enough detail remained in the original paint to discern the pinstriping pattern although I took liberty with the colors. The box is red oak cut and dried by my life long friend Roger Prigge in Hamler, Ohio. I faithfully maintained the size and configuration of the wagon as best I could do with the poor condition of the wagon when I took it home to my shop in Florida.

The pictures shown are of the parade version of the wagon I came up with. I added the side seats and made it to slide over the sides of the box. Then built a smaller box for the drivers seat. I also built full sides and a tailgate so it can be set up as it was used originally. My goal is to return it to a horse drawn configuration just like was at the turn of the century and well after and hope that someone finds it worthy of keeping .

I don’t really like the wheels and tires but it had been converted from wooden wheels long before. I see a nice set of wooden spoked wheels with narrower rubber tires.

If you follow the following link it should take you to a google web site that has has many more pictures of the wagon being rebuilt

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

20 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3750 days

#1 posted 12-05-2008 10:47 PM

thats cool. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that. Nice work.

View Andraxia's profile


133 posts in 3531 days

#2 posted 12-05-2008 11:11 PM

I really love seeing restorations. You have done a fantastic job.

I like the ‘authentic pneumatic tires’ on the cart too <tongue>

-- The wood slayer - Yes dear I did plan to make more kindling out of that wood I have been drying for the last year - honest!

View Schwieb's profile


1858 posts in 3484 days

#3 posted 12-05-2008 11:22 PM

Somewhere in the 1930s the wagon was coverted from being horse drawn to tractor drawn and the wooden wheels gave way to rubber tires. I just couldn’t see trying to find wooden wheels again. I wanted to actually use the wagon. I am searching for 4 – 15” or bigger wheels with wooden spokes and narrow old time tires to make it look nicer and still somewhat comfortable to ride in.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3789 days

#4 posted 12-06-2008 12:22 AM

That is a great looking restoration of a family heirloom. Thanks for helping preserve a little bit of history.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3759 days

#5 posted 12-06-2008 01:18 AM

I always like to see these old wagons and buggies. Congrats on a great restoration!!!!

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View john's profile


2370 posts in 4404 days

#6 posted 12-06-2008 02:45 AM

I love looking at old wagons like this , I have a handle very similar to yours .

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

View sharad's profile


1117 posts in 3827 days

#7 posted 12-06-2008 07:59 PM

Great restoration job on such a big scale. It is really commendable to retain such historic items and you have done it so painstakingly. The black cat has brought life into the picture.

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4337 days

#8 posted 12-06-2008 10:21 PM

Nice job! Love it when us woodworkers get to save a bit of history.

View romansfivefive's profile


302 posts in 3795 days

#9 posted 12-07-2008 12:58 AM

your picassa site is a dream come true for me. my inlaws raise hackney and commercial horses. I have been wanting to make a minature farm wagon for them a while, but I couldn’t find any enough pics of the undercarriage to make my own pattern. There is definitely enough material in your site to make a reasonable reproduction, do you mind if I use it as a model?

-- The CNC machine can either produce the work of art you imagined, or very decorative firewood.

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4423 days

#10 posted 12-07-2008 02:50 AM

Great job on the restoration. Too bad you don’t have wooden wheels that would go on and off for truly a full restoration.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Schwieb's profile


1858 posts in 3484 days

#11 posted 12-07-2008 09:33 PM


Please use anything you might find helpful. I took pictures as I took it apart so I would have a refernce when I put it back together.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View conwaydog's profile


42 posts in 3791 days

#12 posted 12-16-2008 08:45 PM

Great restoration. I posted one I built one for my dad. I had the frame but had a lot of cleaning and painting to do. I love working with wood but I think I enjoyed making the metal work more. Mine was a lot more basic than yours. We take ours on trail rides. Yours needs to be in parades and not busted up in the woods like some I’ve seen before (LOL). Great work.

View Wil's profile


2 posts in 3359 days

#13 posted 04-06-2009 11:34 PM

Just came across your project. Great job!! 2 reasons. ! ) Because it is. 2) Because I am just starting one myself. Fortunatly for me, I have great runniing gear w/ spoke wheels & iron tires. Unfortunatly for me, I really had nothing to referance with for accuracy on the box ( The wagon had none. ). I have been looking for several days now and just happened upon your work. Could I pick your brain a bit concerning some specs on the wagon? It would be much appreciated. Either way, it’s still a great looking wagon. Thanks for sharing.

View Schwieb's profile


1858 posts in 3484 days

#14 posted 04-07-2009 12:59 AM

Wil, I would be most happy to assist you in any way I can. If you will email me directly at it would be easier. I have a web album posted on google of the wagon in progress. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ken Schwiebert

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Wil's profile


2 posts in 3359 days

#15 posted 04-08-2009 10:31 PM

I’m having trouble getting out with your address for some reason. I have just contacted my e-mail provider to see whats going on. Hopefully it will be resolved soon. Thanks Wil

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