52 Create – my weekly creative output for 2011… This week has flown by! Hence the reason my Tuesday post is appearing on a Friday. Well with the wealth of cutting boards and rifle stocks as of late, I thought I should mix things up and go big. This week’s creative output is a kids wooden push bike (also called a run bike or balance bike). These seem to be all the rage lately and you can spend as much as $300 on a designer model. They are basically a kids bike without pedals, so they use their feet to push themselves along, apparently it teaches the kids excellent balance and helps them to more easily progress to a real bike without training wheels.
There are suprisingly few diy wooden bikes on the net. There is one how-to with plans out there, but that seemed far too easy for me. So I look at a ton of pictures of these bikes on google images and sketched out my own design. As usual, the wheels were the tricky part. While you can buy a brand new kids bike for $30, to buy a pair of wheels/tires/tubes will run you $90!!! I found this set at a used bike shop for $20 total, they don’t match, but my 21 month old daughter couldn’t care less… The frame is made from my favourite – baltic birch (1/2″) with a wodden dowel for handle bars. I’ve had many comments about the small seat and lack of padding, but my daughter is still in diapers so she has her own “built-in” padding. I’ll cover it with some neoprene when she is older.
After about a week of use, she is quite comfortable on it, and can go short distances on her own. I think she’s likely a bit young for it, but she goes nuts every time she sees a bike anywhere, so I figured I owed it to her…
Continuing on our Boat Week theme, today we are talking Kevlar. Ever since I did my first repair using fibreglass I’ve been hooked. I once fixed my dad’s car bumper with fibreglass (only to have someone rear-end him a month later…). Kevlar is of course much lighter and a great choice to make a nice light canoe out of. I bought this book about 5 years ago, and while I haven’t made one yet, I do have some good reasons.
First of all it’s a great book, and it explains all the steps in great depth, from design and creating a mould all the way through to the final process. Having done a fair amount of work with fibreglass and epoxy resin, it seemed quite clear to me, although for those not confident at the process, you might want to practice on a smaller project first.
Why haven’t I made one? Well shockingly enough, it has nothing to do with procrastination or laziness. After reading the book cover to cover, I was talking with a good friend about it and how the author describes how you can “build your own kevlar canoe for under $600”, to which my friend (who is generally very supportive and optimistic) told me that for that kind of money, he could get me a used kevlar canoe and it would most likely be lighter and faster. Next issue is creating a mould, I have no design, and I don’t have access to any boats to copy/use as a mould. And finally, Kevlar is pricey, and not the easiest of materials to come by. It would definitely require me to order online with a significant amount of cash upfront for this project. Finally, after all of those issues, time is always a factor, and at the end of the day, this project has always been pushed backwards.