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.