Wooden Wagon with removeable wood rails

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Project by Scooter McClain posted 02-20-2013 09:29 AM 4607 views 7 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this project of my own design in October 2011 as a Christmas gift for my daughter. I had fond memories as a kid of careening down a hill in a similar wagon that my great-grandmother had made, and I wanted to make something similar, but with the looks of a wagon. I didn’t want to just buy a Radio Flyer-that would have been too easy (and I found out later, much cheaper!) This is made of red oak purchased at a local big-box store (I had not learned of other methods of local wood procurement at that point). The sides are essentially a dado butt joint and I used 1-3/4” wood screws to secure the sides. Gorilla Glue was used throughout this project.
I had to buy a table saw and a router/router table for this project, and trying to keep things cheap, I ended up buying Ryobi products. I ended up replacing my 14+ year old battery Ryobi drill because of this project as well. I think all together with the power tools that this cost me about $500. A brand new Radio Flyer Town & Country was “only” $129 brand new. Oops!
The chassis is from Northern Tool & Equipment and I bought that for $69. The original idea was to use a Radio Flyer Chassis, and it turned out that you cannot buy a completed chassis that way (I still have that, and I am interested in selling it if anyone out there wants to restore your Radio Flyer with brand new metal parts). I also ended up with extra 10”-4 knobby tires.
The sides are made to be removable. The are held in place with a piece of red oak that crosses the dado’s which hold the post. It’s stained with a crimson red and natural colored stain, and about three coats of poly on top of that. I only lightly sanded the last layer of poly which gives it a sort of satin finish.
Overall, this was a fairly easy and straight-forward build, and my first time working with a table saw and router, as well as my first time working with red oak.
This is a heavy wagon. In hindsight, I should have ripped the bottom red oak pieces in half. It is pretty heavy and slightly top heavy, so it’s a bit dangerous on curves. So far, I have not tested it on any hills!
Overall, it’s been fun pulling the kids around at State Fairs and even on the beach with this. It’s also an excellent trash hauler, which is somewhat of what my great grandmother had made hers for. Overall, I’m really happy with how this wagon turned out! I think that in the future, I will likely make a one-piece side rail for both sides. I have a few extra side rail parts, but for now this works just fine.

-- I make sawdust. I think thats a fair assessment of my finished products!

6 comments so far

View redbaronstoys's profile


45 posts in 2760 days

#1 posted 02-20-2013 01:01 PM

Very nice job!

View redsox9's profile


105 posts in 2524 days

#2 posted 02-20-2013 01:05 PM

I remember careening down a very steep road with a curve time and time again. Amazing that I never injured myself – I cannot imagine letting my kids do that now. Hey, great work on the wagon – it does look heavy but I bet your grandchildren will be able to use it years from now! Thanks for sharing.

-- Jeff, North Andover, MA

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3104 days

#3 posted 02-20-2013 01:47 PM

You did a wonderful job on that wagon. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Rockbuster's profile


499 posts in 2846 days

#4 posted 02-20-2013 02:23 PM

You did a very fine job on that wagon, it looks very sturdy, and should last for years to come. I can sure remember some skinned knees, and elbows from my Radio Flyer days. This wagon should serve your daughter well in spring,summer, and fall, now you need to use those new tools, and make one of these for her for winter.

-- Rockbuster,Ft. Wayne,In It is far better to remain silent, and appear the fool, than it is to open ones mouth, and remove all doubt.

View JSB's profile


737 posts in 2316 days

#5 posted 02-20-2013 02:48 PM

Great job on the build. I had one growing up that was real similar. I used to sit in it with the handle pulled back to me so I could steer and ride down a hill in the yard. It’s crazy how something so fun growing up looks so dangerous when you have a few more years under your belt. Good project!

-- Jay -

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30142 posts in 2576 days

#6 posted 02-20-2013 08:34 PM

Great job. Brings back memories.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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