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Holiday fever is upon me. Panicked gift shopping aside, I spent the weekend working on a couple of projects for family. This morning I decided I needed another stocking stuffer for my two daughters – wooden robot dolls.

I’d seen some cool robots made of wooden blocks on Pinterest and decided to try my hand at them. I dug through our scrap pile and found my materials (I used poplar for the heads and bodies and some cherry for the hands and feet). I cut one six inch section which would become the two heads and then made the mouth by cutting a shallow kerf on the table saw. I then halved that piece and cut the rest of my larger blocks on the miter saw. For the eyes and nose, I drilled holes using Forstner bits (assorted sizes). I made the eyes a bit offset and one smaller than the other, just to give my wooden robots a bit of a deranged look – robots tend run amok eventually (at least according to every sci-fi movie ever).Wooden robot parts

I decided my robots needed clunky boots and claw hands, which I cut on the bandsaw. Robot claws

Then I used the drill press to screw holes through the parts for the cords that hold  everything together: you need one through the head, one through the body running vertically and then a couple through the body horizontally for the arms and legs. Tip: make sure you drill your arm and leg holes off line from the neck hole or else you’ll have some trouble threading your cords. Robot holes

I softened the edges with a block plane, sanded everything and connected all the parts with cotton cords. I finished my wooden robots with amber shellac.

The whole project only took me a couple of hours – but maybe, just maybe, my daughters will actually believe these gifts were made by elves.

– Scott Francis

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